WESN Now Webcasting
February 15, 2008
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – After several years of research and planning, Illinois Wesleyan
University’s student-run radio station, WESN 88.1 FM, began Webcasting its music programs
on February 5. Listeners can access the Webcasts through WESN’s Web site, www.wesn.org/881.
“We really wanted to boost our listenership levels, and the only way to do that was
to stay abreast of new technology,” said WESN Promotions Manager Kari Irwin, a junior
religion and philosophy major from Palatine, Ill.
The WESN staff decided that Webcasting was necessary in order to compete with online
music services and video streaming sites such as YouTube. “We conducted surveys of
the student body and found out that no one really listens to the radio anymore,” said
Irwin, who has been on the WESN staff for three years. “Webcasts have completely rejuvenated
Plans for Webcasting began about eight years ago, said Irwin, but WESN was not able
to begin immediately. As Webcasting was a new technology, the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) took time to adjust their policies to regulate it. Once assured that
Webcasting was legally sound, the University gave WESN permission to broadcast its
radio programs over the Web.
Webcasting put several new demands on the station, from updating technology to re-training
the DJs. Because the laws regarding playing music on the Web are different than those
regulating radio broadcasting, WESN spent nearly a year preparing to Webcast.
“We had to do tons of legal research and adjust our subscription services to pay the
recording and promotion companies for the rights to use the music online,” said Irwin.
“Now that we’re on the Web and anyone in the world can listen, our record keeping
has to be really detailed and careful, so we have computerized records now,” said
WESN has been Webcasting Illinois Wesleyan basketball games since last fall and has
received positive feedback, especially from parents of basketball team members. Since
beginning Webcasting, listenership levels have increased, according to the monthly
reports WESN receives.
Almost all WESN programs are currently available online in audio streams. “We’re all
really excited about it,” said Irwin. “Every time the stream is on, there’s a show.
That’s been a lot of work itself, running into the studio at two in the morning to
turn off the stream. But, it’s been really cool,” said Irwin. ”
To access WESN Webcasts or for more information about programming, visit www.wesn.org.
Contact: Jessica Block, ’09 (309) 556-3181