A decline in student enrollment in higher education across the state of Illinois has impacted many aspects of life on campuses.
One student organization at WIU impacted by this decline is WIU’s student-run radio station, 88.3 WIUS, also known as The Dog.
The station began to air in September 1981, giving numerous students a chance to hone their skills for future jobs.
However, over the past several years, 88.3 The Dog has seen a downswing in the number of students participating in the valuable skill building through having a radio shift.
The graph to the right demonstrates the decrease of student fees over the past several years, along with the total amount of money that WIU gave to the Office of Student Activities to distribute to the various clubs and organizations. For this academic year, the university’s organizations that were allocated more than $4,000 took a 12.5% cut in their allocation. WIUS is one of those organizations that saw this cut, losing approximately $1,100.
Roger Sadler is the advisor to The Dog, and he is also a professor in the Broadcasting and Journalism department.
He believes that the decline in student enrollment has a greater impact on the budget for the radio station.
Dr. Sadler mentioned the lack of resources from the school has decreased The Dog’s overall funding due to the decrease in enrollment at WIU over the past decade.
Sadler said that the budget impasse has not kept students from promoting the radio station.
Students still attend the parade and other local events, that do not cost any additional fees.
Due to the lack of finances, the station is unable to purchase new equipment and merchandise to hand out to their listeners.
The station tries to work with the budget that they do have.
Two of the staff members explain how the budget impasse personally impacted them and their time at the radio station.
Jennifer Hollimon, a senior, is the Promotions Director for The Dog.
She explains how the impasse impacted her in more than one way.
Many students rely on tuition waivers to help pay for their educations.
Hollimon believes the Impasse has prevented them from promoting themselves in the community.
Hollimon is eager to get their name out to the community, so they can gain more listeners.
She talks about how 88.3 The Dog stands out from other radio stations that are can be heard in or around Macomb.
88.3 The Dog covers most of McDonough County, including Macomb, Colchester, and many of the nearby towns.
She will be graduating at the conclusion of the Fall 2017 semester.
Nick Gehricke will become the new Promotions Director for 88.3 The Dog for the Spring semester.
Gehricke still believes they can still go to functions around town, such as tailgating during the football and basketball games.
He believes the staff and the DJs have a harder time bonding due to lack of finances for the activities, as well as free merchandise. However, he says they still get along and help each other promote the station, as much as possible.
He explains some of the plans for the 2017 and 2018 academic year.
The staff continues to do their best with the limited resources that they have to work with.
The station has been working hard to increase their presence on various social media platforms.
DJs help promote the station by putting themselves on the various platforms for the station. They enjoy watching themselves later.
The faculty, staff, and students within the Broadcasting and Journalism Department at WIU continue to work hard in keeping the radio station thriving, as long as there are students interested in learning how to operate the equipment and work in the business of radio broadcasting.
Sadler, Hollimon, and Gehricke are very friendly and outgoing. They enjoy working together for The Dog, and other people in the community. You may listen to the full versions of their interviews at the links below.
By: Patrick Simpson and Felicia Selmon