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Student-run radio station provides platform for shows, music

| Wednesday, January 29, 2020

WVFI, or Voice of the Fighting Irish Radio, is Notre Dame’s student-run radio station, providing students a chance to share their interests, music and thoughts with a wide audience on campus and beyond.

(Editor’s Note: The Observer’s Scene Editor, Mike Donovan, is station manager of WVFI.)

WVFI began broadcasting exclusively online in 2000, and listeners can tune in from almost anywhere in the world on WVFI’s website. This semester, the station broadcasts 81 different student-run shows a week. When no one is scheduled to broadcast, the station plays songs selected by the WVFI board’s music committee.

Previously housed in the LaFortune Student Center, WVFI’s studio is now located on the second floor of the Duncan Student Center.

Senior Andres Walliser-Wejebe is a WVFI board member and co-editor of Mindset, the station’s magazine. Walliser-Wejebe said the radio station exists to give students a place to have fun and share their ideas and creative projects with an audience.

“The main purpose of the radio station is for students to have shows,” Walliser-Wejebe said. “But I’d say, at least for me, it’s felt more like a community.”

Perhaps evidenced by their 81 weekly shows, the station tries to broadcast a diverse range of content. While many of the shows are music-based, their subjects vary widely, Walliser-Wejebe said.

“The only rule we have is to stay behind the red line — so no profanity — but other than that, you can play whatever you want and talk about whatever you want,” she said. “Personally, I’ve done a show over the past three years with my roommate and we just pick a theme going into it, just a random theme, and we’ll play a song related to it, talk, play another song. I think some people just go to hang out and talk — just hanging out with the mics on — and other people really like to plan it out and have topics.”

The shows are broadcast from the WVFI studio near-real time (there’s about an 8 second delay) which allows listeners to interact with show hosts.

Senior Charlie Hergenrother is another WVFI board member as well as website developer. He said in addition to their regularly scheduled programming, WVFI also holds charity events. The station’s Radiothon event raises money for Girls Rock Camp, an organization that promotes and teaches musical and life skills to girls and young women.

“Basically, it’s just a day-long series of skits and things that the board hangs out and does to try to get people to donate to this Girls Rock Camp,” Hergenrother said.

WVFI is classified and operates as a campus club run by a board of 15 members. At the beginning of each semester, the club holds a “show picks night’ where they select and schedule the semester’s programming. Participants are trained how to use the equipment, and the broadcasting begins. 

Although this semester’s programming has already been selected, Hergenrother said those interested in getting involved don’t necessarily have to wait until next year.

“You can get a show after [show picks night], but there’s only kind of weird times left, like weekends or really early in the morning,” he said. “I would say [to prospective participants] to drop by the station during the day — someone from the board is almost always there — and just talk to us about it.”

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