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WRSG seeks donations for automation

By Staff | Aug 18, 2010

WRSG, Knights 91.5, is seeking donations for an automation system that will allow music to be played at the station at all times without an operator physically on hand to manually do the work.

WRSG Knights 91.5 station manager, Greg Goodfellow, is on a mission. His mission? To save radio.

Dead air is a radio or television station’s worst nightmare, as are equipment failures, mechanical problems and technical difficulties. These problems and more have plagued the station and their staff for to long now and Goodfellow is striving to change all that.

“We’re a small station, but we have the greatest audience ever,” he said. “We don’t go anywhere that someone does not comment positively on our programming. We have loyal listeners and they deserve better than what we are able to give them now.”

Therefore, the station is currently raising funds for new radio automation software and window space computer.

Radio automation will allow music to be played without interruptions at the station at all times, without an operator physically on hand to manually do the work. Playlists, commercials, public service announcements -everything aired – will be able to be recorded and played at defined times throughout the day and night. The automation system is essential for limited stations in small towns, unable to employ operators around the clock.

“Right now, our system has been proven to be unstable,” said the station manager. “We set up the system to play Saturday and Sunday programming, and you turn on the radio and Thursday’s playlist is playing, or you have dead air, or something else is wrong. It’s very frustrating.”

Because the station is run by volunteers and students at Tyler Consolidated High School, manpower is not available 24 hours a day. The radio automation system will allow pre-recorded programming to be recorded and set to play at precise times.

“If we’re going to train board ops (board operators), they may as well be trained to use a good system,” Goodfellow said. “One that will actually work.”

WRSG 91.5 is a non-commercial radio station owned by Tyler Consolidated High School and licensed to the Tyler County Board of Education. The station began on May 14, 2001, funded by a grant from the Ruth Stealey Green foundation and utilizing a student’s laptop and the DRS2006 automation system. The station began full-time operations in October of that year using a brand-new studio computer as well as the DRS2006 automation system. WRSG converted to TuneTracker systems in July 2006.

In 2010 the station was broadcasting 24 hours a day, every day of the year, including a summertime radio opportunity for students called the “Summer Knights Radio Show,”

Goodfellow and other volunteers such as Deena Brandt and Scott Northcraft have worked tirelessly to maintain and operate the current system, spending countless hours, as well as their own funds to make the thing workable.

“Seriously, this is a labor of love. But we’re all tired of apologizing to our listeners for the poor quality of our system. We feel that this is the best high school radio station in West Virginia and we want to maintain that standing. We just are not able to do so with the system we have now. We’re in an emergency situation.”

The cost for the new system is approximately $3,000, with more than half of that total already raised thanks to donations from several businesses and listeners in the local area. To date, donations have been received by: The Union Bank, The Reliable Supply Company, Scott Grose, Did’s Designs, Valley Tire, Bob and Rita Scardina, Phillips Pharmacy, Jill and Kevin Wagner, Wells Inn, HPS Pharmacy, Sistersville Eye Care Center, Your Stores Auto Service and several anonymous donors.

While broadcasting live from the Tyler County Fair, staffers even created a “Beggin’ Box” to solicit donations from fair-goers in order to collect the needed funds.

“I’ve said that we have the greatest audience ever, and that fact is evidenced not only by their comments, but by their support with checks and change,” Goodfellow said. “They’ve been very good to us and we appreciate them so very much. It’s good to know the communities we serve are in our corner.”

Goodfellow also extended his appreciation to the Tyler County Board of Education, Kent Yoho, principal at Tyler Consolidated High School, Scott Northcraft, Denna Brandt, and Lite Rock 93 among others.

“They are a God send,” he said. “Without them, we would not exist. We cannot possibly thank them enough.”

Once the funds have been collected and the new system purchased, the real work of the entire process will begin. Staffers will need to manually transfer music playlists and programming from the old system to the new one, a process that will take many, many hours.

“But once it’s built and operable, we’re good to go,” Goodfellow said. “We will continue to have our popular programs like the Bluegrass hour and Classical Sunday followed by Inspirational, and we have plans for new programming as well like the Sunday night Soul Patrol and Saving the ’70’s.”

“At WRSG our music belongs to our listeners. We just want to give them what they want. I don’t think that’s asking to much.”

Donations can be mailed directly to the radio station at WRSG, 1993 Silver Knight Drive, Sistersville, WV 26175.