On Wednesday, August 21, as a wave of freshmen flooded campus for Navigating Rensselaer & Beyond, 30 students gathered in the basement of the Darrin Communications Center to learn about RPI’s own radio station, WRPI-FM 91.5. With no shortage of music lovers, they crowded into the WRPI headquarters, led by members of the channel eager to share their passion for everything that they put on the airwaves over the 75-mile radius, including three states, that the station commands.
The students saw where the magic happens. As the DJ mixed it up, the students crowded into the small broadcast room. The DJ that was on-air talked about the huge library of music that the station possesses, and was referred to by other members as “the Batman.” In his “Batcave”—the broadcast room—with dim lighting and a control board that could operate the Mars Curiosity rover, he mastered the records and CDs.
Since its inception in 1957, WRPI has been collecting thousands of vinyl records and CDs full of music. They still have hundreds of hours of records and CDs that have never been played before; a great way to become a part of the station is to help them sort through it all so that every broadcast from bluegrass to heavy metal can find some great hidden gems to play.
Not only did the freshmen learn about recorded music; they learned about recording music. With the help of some musical talent on the guitar, the students went into the recording studio for a crash course on recording live music to play on the air. They learned about the different types of microphones, including how they affect the sound that plays on the radio. Thankfully, the thousands of pages that have been written on the subject of microphone placement were not required reading … this time.
WRPI isn’t just about music though; they pride themselves on being very professional, which includes family-friendly speech and abiding by all the rules and regulations of the Federal Communications Commission. The station keeps logs of many of the things that happen on-air, including monitoring voltages, giveaways, and who is on-air. These requirements make it necessary for the station to have several classes that members must take in order to get certified to have their own show. As the station recruits new members, it is certain that RPI will get some great new talent on the radio and continue serving all of RPI and the surrounding area with great tunes and programming.