By Michael Bordick
LOWER BURRELL, Pa. – A Penn State New Kensington student plans to reach her fellow classmates on and off campus using the radio waves.
Victoria Hepler, of Vandergrift, is in the process of establishing a student-driven radio station. The 19-year-old is a bright and determined sophomore at Penn State New Kensington who is majoring in Journalism, and she’s more than enthusiastic about this most recent endeavor.
The station itself will eventually have specific segments geared towards different aspects of the students’ interests. The station is also going to have various guests, including important figures such as Chancellor Kevin Snider.
Being on the air isn’t a recent idea. “It has always been a dream of mine,” said Hepler. Ever since she was on the news at a young age, she has been interested in being a part of broadcasting. Hepler and Co-President Taryn Clopton got the ball rolling with relative ease as they have various connections with the Student Government Association and the Chancellor. According to Hepler, “It just sort of happened…One minute it was an idea, the next it was already starting.”
Moving forward isn’t going as smooth as Hepler would like, however. The members have experienced creative differences about which direction the station should go. There is also the matter of being short-staffed as the station has only four official members, including Hepler and Clopton. They have 29-40 other associates interested in participating, but they are unable to attend many of the meetings due to their commitments to other clubs.
The financial side of things isn’t very promising either. The club must pay $12,000 annually in accordance with copyright laws for the ability to play copyrighted music. Due to these financial circumstances, the Radio Club will temporarily take on a different direction by creating commercials involving club presidents, musicians, and other relevant figures around campus and in the surrounding areas that will interest students. According to Hepler, the station will hold such segments as the news, campus events, and even comedian skits.
So far, both the idea and the actual club are receiving extremely positive feedback. Hepler herself was expecting the opposite reaction, but most of the campus is supporting them and it has been really easy to get noticed.
In the future, Hepler plans to expand the initiative to other campuses as soon as PSNK’s station gains momentum. Hepler herself is planning to transfer to University Park in a year, though she is planning to stay involved and is fairly certain that Co-President Clopton is staying at the New Kensington location.
Hepler stressed that the club needs members and that anyone can get involved. She stated that the club is very diverse and welcoming, all one has to do is attend the meetings and have a little devotion. “We care about the school and its students,” Hepler said.
Hepler wished to offer some advice to those looking to start their own club and said that having dedicated members is key. Her club would not be anywhere without them.
For anyone interested in more information about the club or radio station, Hepler has asked that they visit the SGA office or meet with her personally.