February 11, 2020 at 11:45am
Dane Lisser

WJMU nominated for eight national awards

There are many questions surrounding the long-term health of the radio industry, particularly terrestrial radio. However, the industry continues to defy expectations as it remains a medium that reaches a wide audience; 271 Americans to be exact according to Nielsen's Audio Today report.

The executive team of Millikin University's student-run radio station, 89.5 WJMU The Quad, is doing its part when it comes to on-air contributions. Recently, the station's efforts have garnered national recognition landing a station record eight national award nominations from the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS).

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IBS Award winners will be announced at the 80th Annual IBS International Media Conference March 6-8, 2020, at the Hotel Penn in Midtown Manhattan in New York City.

Every year, WJMU submits content created within the last year for the IBS Awards. This year's nominations span across numerous categories including specialty show, promotional art, sound effects and best use of video.

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Artists who are trying to get heard send their work to WJMU and if the students, who run the station with supervision from station manager and communications instructor Sam Meister, decide the recording fits their format, they play it.

WJMU music director Jason Messina, a senior communication major from Crystal Lake, Ill., and Lane Caspar, a senior communication major from Sherman, Ill., were nominated for best radio personalities and Messina was recognized for his expertise in sound effects.

"We submitted that because Jason is really good at mixing sound effects," Caspar said in an interview with the Herald & Review. "There was no actual category for sound mixing so we put him in for sound effects."

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Messina is willing to work in any capacity in radio. He just loves radio. "Awards look great on a resume," he said. "Especially when you're trying to get into studios."

Caspar added, "Even a nomination looks really good," said Caspar. "If I could make a career out of podcasting I would be happy for the rest of my life. But I would be happy with anything in communications."

Caspar is a member of the six-person WJMU executive team along with Meister, Frank Macaluso (production director), Meghan Whitlock (promotions director), Messina (music director) and Sydney Stoewer, a junior communication major from Normal, Ill., who serves as projects coordinator.

WJMU

Macaluso was nominated for Best Comedy Show for a sketch comedy he created called "Owl Stretching Time."

"A lot of what I've been doing here at the station is sketch comedy," Macaluso said. "That's kind of what I want to go into in terms of after college. I'd also like to do radio things."

As part of Millikin's Performance Learning model, students get hands-on experience in their area of interest even as freshmen, and Messina said the same is true of the radio station. "Any time students need help, I do the training," he said. "I do a lot of the on-air training. Any time someone needs help, I'll always run down there."

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IBS Awards finalists represent the top three to five percent of work submitted in their category to the National IBS from the previous year. WJMU nominations are as follows:

Best Specialty Show: "Transportation the Marmoset" by Frank Macaluso, a senior theatre major from Chicago

Best On-Air Personalities: Jason Messina, a senior communication major from Crystal Lake, Ill., and Lane Caspar, a senior communication major from Sherman, Ill.

Best Radio Drama: "Shivers and Chills" by Athena Pajer, a junior English literature major from Lovington, Ill.

Best Station Promotional Poster: Stranger Things Poster created by Kiara Fultz, a senior arts technology major from St. Louis, Mo.

Best Use of Sound Effects: "Devil's Advocate Show Promotion" created by Jason Messina and Lane Caspar

Best Underwriting Spot: "Hardee's Underwriting" by Sam Meister, instructor of communication and WJMU station manager

Best Comedy Show: "Owl Stretching Time" by Frank Macaluso

Best Use of Video: "WJMU The Quad – True Blue Challenge" video, directed by Sam Meister and edited by Matt Sands

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WJMU's programming features shows that focus on sports, music and news as well as international programming that highlights Spanish, Hindi cinema and anime culture. Another element the station offers is the ability to play vinyl records on the air and feature music from bands that made radio relevant in society today. The station operates on the 3rd floor of the University Commons.