Campus Radio Station Takes Flight, Six Hours From St. Cloud State

Friday, November 19, 2010

Last summer 12 St. Cloud State students in a radio production class experienced the birth, life and death of a radio station over a 10-day period.

The students and their instructor, Jim Gray ’97 ’03, production director at KVSC 88.1 FM radio, operated EAA Radio covering the world’s largest fly-in air show at the Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis. Whitman Regional Airport in Oshkosh annually transforms into the busiest airport in the world for seven days during the AirVenture, attracting more than 600,000 aviation enthusiasts.

EAA Radio provides information in the form of news, weather and informative interviews with a variety of industry newsmakers and politicians. It’s made possible thanks to a partnership between St. Cloud State aviation and mass communications alumni, the SCSU Mass Communications Department and the EAA.

For the past 14 years, Gray has been working with EAA Radio. When he joined the St. Cloud State staff in 2003, he inquired about the potential of creating internships.

Now, each July, Gray and a group of SCSU alumni and interns join with other volunteers to build a radio station, operate it for 8 to 10 days, and then tear it down. “Everyone gains experience in every aspect of radio broadcasting; from engineering to production to interviewing to marketing and promotion,” Gray said.

During the air-show, EAA Radio broadcasts 24 hours per day on AM, FM and streams its programming on the Internet. Of the nearly 40 people it takes to make EAA Radio happen, more than 20 are current or former SCSU students. “It really says a lot about our Mass Communications and Aviation departments that SCSU has taken a lead role at EAA Radio,” Gray said.

Some of the volunteers are mass comm alums while some are aviation alums and are currently professional pilots. Others come from areas as diverse as Business Management, Computer Science, Criminal Justice and Meteorology. The alumni have the opportunity to share their love of aviation and radio with current St. Cloud State students and build camaraderie with the next Husky generation.

Fareed Guyot ’96 enjoys mentoring students. “Radio and aviation have been lifelong passions of mine,” he said. “It’s great to be able to share this with these students and help them develop their skills. “

At AirVenture, students also have the opportunity for networking and job prospecting. Last year, EAA hired Guyot, who has managed EAA Radio as a volunteer since its beginning, into a full-time position as managing editor of E-Publications. This is a direct result of time spent at EAA Radio.

“When I was a student, KVSC trained
me as a radio reporter for free, a perk available to students and community members. Those skills would eventually allow me to pivot rapidly into another career field when the economy claimed my job as a pilot. SCSU kept me from going hungry!,” added Guyot, who also edited the SCSU Aero Club newsletter.

More information about EAA Radio is available at www.eaaradio.net

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