Cross-posted from joshuaramirez.net.
As many people know about me, I am the Station Director of Wentworth Internet Radio & Entertainment (WIRE), which is an online radio station that is run entirely by students. And, as many people know about the station I work for, WIRE has seen a great revitalization in the past few years, as a renewed and engaged group of students set about to make the organization a real centerpiece of Wentworth Institute of Technology.
Yet, though our online-only presence and renewed operations would suggest otherwise, WIRE has a fair amount of history that belies its modern look and feel. I would like to share a succinct version of that history with you all today.
See, way back before any of us were students at Wentworth, WIRE was, in fact, an entirely different radio station. As recently as the early ninties, we were broadcasting from the basement of one of the campus buildings, with our transmissions being fed through the sole tower in the vicinity. Old-fashioned speakers also littered the campus, playing back what we were sending out to the greater Boston area. In a sense, we were much closer to the image and means of most college radio stations.
Of course, things changed, and, after a snafu regarding spectrum use and the FCC, we lost our over-the-airwaves privilages, which nearly ended Wentworth's foray into radio. For a period of time, up until the early 2000s, Wentworth had no active radio station, and only a (then dying) school newspaper acting as the cultural and social hub for the entire institute.
Luckily enough, however, enough students were concerned about this lack of cultural support that they worked with faculty to create a new radio station, that would be an internet-only creation. This was in the first years of the new millennium, which is widely regarded as the point in time where Internet radio and podcasting at large really began to take off and become a significant force in the broadcasting space. WIRE, then the "Wentworth Internet Radio Experiment", was just one of many stations that were looking to use the medium of the internet to extend their reach, and establish themselves.
Still, few foresaw how extensive the internet revolution would prove to be in its permeation of almost every facet of everyday life, with radio being no exception. And, riding this wave of new media, WIRE found itself in a tumultuous and exciting decade, filled with the peaks of new shows and listeners, and the valleys of weak student engagement and limited funding.
In fact, by 2010, even with all of the shows and events that WIRE had performed, the organization had found itself in a functional and financial rut, with very little student engagement and a lack of the infrastructure needed to maintain operations...
...Which leaves us with WIRE today, a full three years after new members and new ideas worked to bring the station back to relevancy and into the ranks of our fellow stations throughout Boston, and across the globe. For indeed, though we have a long and storied history dating back decades, it is the history and legacy we are building today that we hope will be best remembered by the following generations of broadcasters at Wentworth.