Radio concentration moves to School of Communication


The radio concentration, currently under the visual and media arts department, will move to the school of communication as a minor for the fall semester, college administrators said. 

Jonathan Wacks, chair and professor of the visual and media arts department, said his department could no longer support the program.

“There just weren’t sufficient numbers,” said Wacks. “As we expand, it just wasn’t something we could keep.”  

Anne Doyle, the executive director of academic administration, said the number of applicants to the radio concentration have dropped over the past few years. 

“The last three years we only matriculated three to five students a year into the program,” said Doyle in an email to the Beacon. 

The 10 current radio concentration students, as well as the students from the class of 2016 enrolled in the program, will progress through the existing curriculum. Other students of all majors will be able to take the minor beginning next semester, said Doyle.  

“Because of prerequisites to the radio courses, only VMA majors could take them,” said Doyle. “This contributed to the decision to phase radio out as a concentration in VMA.”

Janis Andersen, the dean of the school of communication, said the new program will focus on radio from a journalistic, marketing, narrative, and speech performance perspective. 

“All the various aspects of radio are more deeply rooted in communications,” said Andersen. “As a major, the program hasn’t attracted many students. But as a minor, I expect it will attract a large number based on students participating in WERS and other on-campus radio stations.” 

Jack Casey, the general manager of WERS and current professor for entry-level radio courses, will continue to teach the courses in the new minor.

“I’ve been a huge supporter of this move and have done whatever I could to make sure it happened,” said Casey. “It just became increasingly apparent that radio wasn’t being supported in the way I feel it could be in the communications department.” 

Casey said he believes the new curriculum will have more options in courses for interested students. 

Alicia Carrol, an incoming visual and media arts freshman interested in working for WERS, said she thinks the move is a good decision.

“It makes sense that it’s in communications,” said Carrol.  “It is a major form of communication for people.” 

Freshman Amos Stillwell, feels the same way. 

“I don’t see a problem. VMA is kind of something more video-oriented than audio,” said the visual and media arts major.

Stillwell said he will consider taking on a radio minor, and Casey said he hopes more students will consider participating in the minor. 

“I’m a big believer that if we are willing to evolve it, radio will always have an influence in American society,” said Casey.