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Lee Capristo
Director of Publications
Email: lwcapristo@smcm.edu
Phone:240-895-4795
Anne Arundel 100

HAWK Radio Soars the Airwaves

Written by Jeremy Pevner '09, political science major and HAWK station manager

Whether you are at St. Mary’s College campus, sitting in your Piney Point living room, visiting friends in Wichita. Kansas, or studying abroad in China, you can tune in and hear music, sports, and student variety shows from the College through your computer.

Tucked away in three small rooms in the back of the Campus Center, the internet radio station, The HAWK Radio, serves the local and worldwide community, broadcasting student content and mainstream music for all to hear.  Walk too fast on the way to Cole Cinema, and you might miss the small window into the station's main studio, and the even smaller dedication plaque that names the station after the student who brought it back to life.

In the past three years, the student staff members have not only expanded the station's programming, they've turned what was an almost dead organization back into one of the largest clubs on campus. Years ago, the station was known by the call letters WSMC, and was broadcast locally on a low-powered FM transmitter.  Then, as the new Campus Center was being built, the transmitter and the call letters faded into history. When the FCC next auctioned radio licenses, the call letters WSMC were taken up by Southern Adventist University's classical music station.

The station continued to exist only on closed circuit television, broadcasting solely to students on campus who happened to have their televisions on at the time.  Music was provided by either a 100 CD changer set to “random,” or in more recent years, an iTunes playlist set to repeatedly shuffle through the same songs.  Student DJs worked with equipment older than they were, and it didn't seem like the station would ever be revived.

Then, in the spring semester of 2005, first-year transfer student Brooks Whiteford joined the station's staff, bringing with him strong engineering and computer skills, as well as an intense dedication to bringing the station back to life.  He envisioned a station that truly branched out into the community.

In his 31/2 years here, he bought and installed computers and servers that took over for those CD changers and iTunes playlists.  He bought, modified, and installed his own technology, never asking to be reimbursed from the station's small budget.  Week after week, Brooks added something new to the station.

By the time I fully became a part of the station's staff in October of 2007, the team decided to push for our dream: a student station prepared, on a moment's notice, to be able to broadcast in HD FM Radio if a broadcast facility ever became available.

Under Brooks' direction, the HAWK executive staff and I developed a comprehensive upgrade plan, and were able to acquire matching funding from the school's Student Government Senate and the College's administration. We were given funding for everything that we asked for, and everything we had hoped for.

Last summer, we spent three months emptying the entire station and installing $35,000 worth of brand new, top-of-the-line equipment. We've always prided ourselves for being a student-run organization, and we made sure that each computer and audio wire and each microphone in our facilities was installed by a student.

By the fall, we had what we hoped for: a world-class facility capable of broadcasting a unique and eclectic mix of music for all to hear.  When a student or alum isn't broadcasting a live show, the automated system ensures that our listeners on-campus and off hear music of all genres.  There's not a day that goes by that I don't hear a song I've never heard before. The company-run stations in the area might have more seasoned talent, and access to new music before we can get to it, but we've got two things they'll never have: the freedom to choose our own playlists, and the ability to never, ever have to broadcast a commercial.

We have good people, good music, and a good time, broadcasting live every day at www.seahawkradio.com.

 

Type In and Tune In

 

St. Mary’s radio station streams 24 hours a day with over 40 student-run shows and a consistent listener base both in the St. Mary's College campus community, and abroad. Just type in www.seahawkradio.com  or hawkradio.smcm.edu, and click "listen live" in the top right corner.  Some of the regular shows: Yost in the Morning, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9 a.m.;  The Jents, Tuesdays from 9 -11 p.m.; Sunday Night Lights, Sundays at 7 p.m.; The Love Xone, Fridays at 5 p.m.; and Monday Nitro, 11 p.m. Monday nights.