No wattage required
The parents of Achille Ngounou of Cameroon and Milos Nikolic of Yugoslavia will be tuning in to UTA Radio this basketball season for a bit of play-by-play. Maybe even listen to postgame on-air interviews with their collegian offspring.
UTA Radio broadcasts not one single watt over the airwaves
but nevertheless has listeners worldwide, from Sweden to South Africa
Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, UTA Radio is on the Internet with an eclectic breadth of programming. Though listening requires free software called RealPlayer, the site offers a link to the appropriate Web site for downloading.
"UTA Mavericks basketball, baseball and softball, high school football, Christian alternative music, sports talk, Tejano music in all-Spanish, funk, hip-hop and newswe've got a little of everything," says John Engleman, a Dallas senior who serves as program director.
Though UTA Radio has been around a dozen years, for most of its history it has been basically a laboratory training endeavor.
"In this business you have to be able to provide some professional-quality examples of your work, which the radio station does," said Engleman, who has landed jobs at Dallas stations Merge Radio 93.3 FM and KNON 89.3 FM through his connection with UTA Radio.
Under the guidance of Communication Department Lecturer Ron Bland, the station revamped itself last spring to a Web format. "We basically just had to buy one little computer to get on the Internet," said Bland, who launched radio.uta.edu to give his broadcast students additional hands-on experience "in a nice studio that wasn't getting enough use."
The license and equipment required of an on-air station are costly, plus a full-time engineer is needed for maintenance. And the broadcast range of a low-wattage university station is limited. So Bland cranked up radio.uta.edu, and students began Webcasting music, athletic events and sports talk on the Internet.
Air time, however, is not limited to production students. Any student or faculty/staff member may apply to do an hour show and learn some radio production techniques at the same time. For example, sociology Professor Ira Bernstein's 5 p.m. Tuesday jazz show is among the station's most popular programming.
"One of the great things about the station is that it is willing to be so experimental," senior broadcast major Dave Harrison said.
The station's cutting-edge offerings include Travis Russell's heavy metal show, "Dead Travis" (8-10 p.m. Tuesday), and Melissa Tafoya's experimental music show (4 p.m. Thursday).
While show schedules are fluid, programming trends are obvious. "It's mostly mainstream, typically light rock from 6 a.m. to noon," Harrison points out. "It's aternative rock Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 3 p.m., hip-hop/rap from noon to 3 p.m. Wednesday, and Friday at 3 p.m. starts the specialty shows well into the night."
The station also broadcasts the high school game of the week from Maverick Stadium, as well as the aforementioned Mavericks men's and women's basketball games, baseball and softball games.
"In this market it's so expensive to get a radio contract for your sports teams, and it's hard for parents to keep up with their kids' activities," Engleman said. "So we knock out two birds with one stone. We've got kids who are able to learn how to do play-by-play over the air, and parents who don't live in Arlington can hear the games."
Even parents as far away as Cameroon and Yugoslavia.