WFWM Public Radio Donates Broadcast Console to Start Bishop Walsh Radio Program

Nov 7, 2017 4:00 PM

A broadcast console that once connected WFWM 91.9 FM Public Radio to the masses will be used to teach the next generation of radio talent at Bishop Walsh School in Cumberland.

WFWM donated a Radio Systems broadcast console to Bishop Walsh School that was used at Frostburg State University’s NPR affiliate station for 17 years, along with two broadcasting microphones and a set of headphones. Bishop Walsh will use it to start a radio program and station for its students, to be housed in the school’s multimedia center, which is undergoing renovations.

“We’re getting the next generation of students interested in radio,” said WFWM Station Director and Program Director Chuck Dicken.

When WFWM moved to all-digital studios in the Gira Center for Communications and Information Technology in 2015, the station no longer needed the analog board. It’s still in great shape and is the key component for Bishop Walsh to start a radio program.

“A broadcast console is the central piece of any radio station,” Dicken said. “A broadcast console determines what audio sources are going over the air. Without these pieces of equipment, they would not be able to create a radio station.”

A new broadcast console similar to the one donated would cost about $7,000 today.

Bishop Walsh Principal Dr. Ray Kiddy said the donation will help expand the school’s music department with a dedicated space in the school’s former library, which is being renovated into a multimedia center and STEM laboratory that will include a radio studio.

Prior to the donation, WFWM invited interested Bishop Walsh students to train at FSU’s student intranet radio station XFSR. Now, students at Bishop Walsh can receive training on their own console at Bishop Walsh.

The benefits of learning radio production are more than knowing what the dials and sliders do.

“Doing this will help students improve their communication skills, with problem solving and so much more,” Dicken said.

Bishop Walsh seniors Cody Norris of Frostburg and Patrick Kueberth of LaVale are eager to get their hands on the console and their voices over the air. Norris plans to attend a film school and would love to add radio to his repertoire.

“I do love entertaining people, so this would be fun,” Norris said. “It would be fun to do a talk show with music like a Sirius XM talk show.”

Kueberth, who also wants to be an entertainer/writer/comic, said this would also be his first time working with radio equipment.

“I like the idea of playing music and doing a talk show,” he said.

The console will be in the familiar hands of Dr. Jim Lyons, Bishop Walsh’s music teacher who is also the long-time classical music director for WFWM. Lyons, also a former FSU instructor, hopes to have the radio station start running as an intranet station come January, integrating it with a music appreciation class. The possibilities for radio programming with additional curriculum is endless, especially in STEM fields.

“I want everyone to know music plays a role in STEM as well. By using technology in this way, we get our message across,” Lyons said. “The message is: music. The technology is what gets it across. The STEM is what supports the flower.”

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