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Brenau radio begins streaming online
Kristina Rhoades was named the general manager of WBCX radio station in July this year. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

With technology constantly changing, it is hard for some people to keep up in this “streaming online” world.

Brenau University’s radio station, WBCX-FM 89.1, has been making technological adjustments to keep students tuned in and gain new listeners around the globe.

Over the past several years, Brenau University has been receiving grant money from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to help better the radio station.

“We have been in the process of purchasing new equipment to improve our standing among other radio stations and improve our signal quality and the various ways that people can receive our broadcast,” said Kristina Rhoades, the general manager of Brenau University’s radio station.

In August, Brenau changed to a digital signal, broadcasting in high definition, and just recently, Brenau began streaming online.

Rhoades said that it is important for college radio stations to keep up with what other radio stations are doing, such as streaming online. College stations also need to take into consideration the method most students use when receiving the broadcast, she said.

“These days, I think a good percentage of the students may not even have an FM radio,” Rhoades said. “They have their iPod with all their music on it or their computer, and so we think, ‘How can we access them?’ and we can do that over the internet.”

Ted Garner, the director of media services at Brenau University, has seen many changes in the technology at Brenau within the last four years.

“We have gone to cutting-edge broadcast software programs with excellent broadcast computers,” Garner said.

Garner said that Brenau is continuing to upgrade, including renovating rooms to create a new broadcast studio with more space.
“We’ve added, just within the last year and a half, three new production studios,” Garner said.

The studios were put in so that students could have more access to the broadcast computers and other technological equipment.

The radio station also takes international students into account by providing the opportunity for parents anywhere in the world to listen to their children’s broadcasts online.

Rhoades said she is personally excited about the changes because they allow students to take ownership and be creative with the station.

Rhoades said changes allow students “to experiment with different programing and use their creativity to come up with things that will educate the community and represent who Brenau really is.”

Garner said that Rhoades has personally brought a vision and excitement to the radio station that has reanimated everyone involved.

“Her leadership has been a key in many of the changes and improvements that people can now hear and even in the future, see,” Garner said.

It is important to Rhoades that the students at Brenau are provided with the best training possible.

“We need to be allowing them to work with equipment that is top-of-the-line and cutting edge, what they would be expected to know when they go out into the real world and work at a radio station,” Rhoades said.

Garner said that by working with the radio station at Brenau, students are able to have a chance to experience and work with people who produce award-winning shows.

“The administration is committed to making the Brenau student someone who people everywhere can look up to as an ideal,” said Garner, who believes that the Mass Communications department and WBCX, in particular, give a tremendous outlet to the students’ creativity and imagination.

Brenau currently has 10 community DJs who work for WBCX.

“They are a group of creative and dedicated people, and this station could not operate without them,” Rhoades said.

As for the future, Rhoades would like to see the programming continue to expand and have a rich mix of education talk, news and sports.

She hopes that WBCX 89.1 will become a “really valuable and integrated piece of this community.”