95.3 WWCU FM, the student-run radio station at Western Carolina University, is back on the air as of January 27, 2022. The radio station, previously known as Power 90.5, went off-air in February 2020 for the first time in its 73-year history.
Power 90.5 went off-air in 2020 to make way for the transition to the new frequency, 95.3. When Power 90.5 went off-air, the station continued to live stream broadcasts on their website.
The new frequency brings over 122,000 listeners to the station, reaching across Jackson, Haywood, Macon, and Cherokee Counties in Western North Carolina, parts of northern Georgia, and Clingmans Dome in Tennessee.
The goal of changing frequencies has been an ongoing process since 2009. The university first applied to the FCC for a frequency change in 2010, and was awarded it in 2015. Since then, the station has been in the process of building a new radio tower on Brown Mountain in Jackson Country.
Now that 95.3 is back on-air, the station has implemented new technology and changes that will provide further improved experiences for broadcasting students.
“We are going to be using a digital control board, which allows for audio to go directly on-air as a digital format,” said Kendall Harris, WWCU FM Student General Manager.
Previously, the station’s control board converted audio from analog to digital.
Harris added, “our original control board was purchased in the 80s, so this is an exciting upgrade!”
As the station navigates the new frequency and changes, 95.3 is not taking volunteers for the remainder of the semester. However, they hope to be at Valley Ballyhoo at the beginning of the fall semester. The station plans to hold an interest meeting in the fall to explain the new opportunities they will have for students to get involved.
“So many people have been working tirelessly to get this station and frequency to operate smoothly,” said Harris.
Harris wants students to know that, even though this has been a very long process, the new frequency is finally here and ready for listeners to enjoy.
“We want students to know that we have a radio station! Listen to us, we are Western Carolina University,” said Harris.
Looking forward, Harris hopes students will get involved with 95.3 and all it has to offer.
Harris said what’s next for the station is “hopefully, a large community of volunteers who are passionate and excited about radio!”
For more information on the radio tower project and the off-air transition, read these stories: