Cougar Radio jam packed

Shawn Kellmer, Reporter

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Just like the rest of MU, Cougar Radio is under construction as the staff is hard at work improve its presence on campus and in the community.

The radio station is holding events throughout the semester, teaming up with various non-profit groups to help raise money for each charity’s cause. The events are also a way to help include the entire student body, not just communications students, and get them involved with the station.

One of the first events is the Leap Year Dance, which Cougar Radio will co-sponsor with Colleges Against Cancer, a group of the American Cancer Society that supports and gives guidance to college students to bring the fight against cancer to campus.

“We wanted to celebrate [Leap Year] since it only happens once every four years, and we hope to make it something really special,” said Julia Truax, Cougar Radio station manager. “We hope to get a student DJ to spin at the dance, further incorporating the talents of Misericordia students.”

Scheduled for February 29, the theme will be “Masquerade,” which was chosen partially because of its similar timing with Mardi Gras the week before. Students are encouraged to make their own masquerade masks to wear during the dance, which will be held in the dining hall.  Resident assistants in Gildea Hall will host a mask-making program where residents will be able to construct their own masks—beads, feathers and all—for the event.

The biggest Cougar Radio event of the semester will be the “Beats for a Benefit” concert on April 28. The concert will feature numerous local nonprofit organizations and three local bands.  It will be in Lemmond Theater and is expected to be the big finale of Spring Weekend.

“The neat thing about our concert is that we’ll have a variety of local charities at the event. They’ll have booths set up with information about their different organizations, who they are, what they do, how people can participate or volunteer with them, etc.,” said Truax. “When people decide they want to go to the concert, they choose where their ticket money will go, which of the organizations they want it to be donated to.”

The Student Government Association, SGA, is going to sponsor a barbeque at the concert and the radio’s staff is also working hard to get other menu items.  They hope this will help draw in an even larger crowd than previous concerts held on campus.

“Misericordia has had benefit concerts in the past and they’ve all been great, but Cougar Radio wanted to take a different approach,” said Truax. “We have so many awesome things to offer to the campus and we’re just waiting for people to catch on and take advantage of all that we do.”

Something else that is new to campus is the Cougar Indie-pendence, a compilation CD produced by Cougar Radio.  The station held a submission contest for local musical acts during the fall semester and the final CD will feature the winners.  It should be available for purchase at “Beats for a Benefit.”

Dan Kimbrough, Cougar Radio’s faculty adviser, came up with the idea while brainstorming on new ways to promote the station. “There was a radio station in my hometown, 96.3 The Edge, which used to release a CD every year called Edge Essentials. It was a way to showcase local bands and to promote the radio station. When we were trying to think of things to do that popped in my head.”

After making flyers, completing interviews with local media, and putting submission information on the Cougar Radio website, several bands sent in their music. “I am really proud of how the CD turned out. I think that the genres of music really show the local music scene,” said Peter Falvey, New Music Director for the station. Part of Falvey’s job is to find and select new music for the station and although the CD contest is over, he encourages local and underground bands to continue sending the station their music to be added to the station’s on-air playlist.

The CD will also act as a collaboration of students within the Communications Department. Students of the Advanced Graphic Design class will be designing the CD artwork and insert booklet.

Kimbrough asked Doug Martin, the class’s instructor and a professional graphic designer, to design the CD artwork. “I was going to do it, but I thought it would be a great thing to present to the class,” said Martin.

Each student will be designing their own concept for the CD and they will get ideas and draw inspiration from listening to the CD itself. The entire concept is up to the students, including whether to use a booklet or a barrel roll insert for bands’ information.

Once the student designs are done, there will be a vote to see whose design is used.

Cougar Radio is also airing live sporting events. Since the beginning of the college basketball season, the station has been broadcasting both the Men’s and Women’s home games. The games have been archived on the website, www.cougarradio.net, so anyone who wasn’t able to listen to the game, such as a student’s relatives back home, could do so at their convenience. Cougar Radio staffers hope to broadcast other events, athletic and academic, this spring as well.

The staff of Cougar Radio is also looking to include studio interviews with bands as well as interviews at shows.

“This has been a big year for Cougar Radio with the addition of sports broadcasting, regular programming, Cougar Indie-pendence, and now this concert.  Our hope is that we can establish a real presence with the campus and local communities and become a program that people regularly listen to,” said Truax.

The radio station is currently in a constant evolution and needs more student volunteers. They are in need of students willing to be on-air DJs, doing anything from a morning talk show to hosting their own block of music.

Aside from on air talent, students are needed to sell advertising space to local businesses and to help out with the dance and the concert as well as any other event the station may have. Any interested students are asked to attend Cougar Radio meetings Wednesdays at 5 p.m. in the radio station in the Banks Student Life Center.

Cougar Radio is not just for Communications students but the entire student population. For any questions or for more information on how to get involved with the station, contact Julia Truax at truaxj@misericordia.edu or through the station’s email. Anyone with a band suggestion or submission can contact Peter Falvey by emailing the station at cougarradio@misericordia.edu.