WIUX alumni reflect on history, look to future with 50th anniversary

Austin Faulds • Aug. 28, 2017
WIUX alumni in Franklin Hall commons
WIUX alumni gather in the Franklin Hall commons to celebrate the station’s 50th anniversary. (Courtney Christensen | The Media School)

For WIUX alum Greg Barman, a love for radio runs deep. As a child, he grew up to the sounds of the stations and knew he wanted to become a part of that world.

Because of this, it didn’t take him long to decide this would be the career he would pursue in college, and he wasn’t the only one. One by one, his upper-classmate peers went off to college and joined student stations. He too would soon follow suit in 1971 when he came to IU as a freshman and joined local student-run station WIUS.

“I determined I wanted to go to IU for an education, but I also wanted to be involved with the student station here,” said Barman, BA’75. “So literally on my first day here, I knocked on the door and said I wanted to be involved.”

Despite being told by others that a career in radio would be difficult for landing jobs, Barman said he knew being involved with WIUS would help him “get an edge.”

Once he became involved with the station, he busied himself with as many positions within the organization as he could juggle throughout his four years at IU. These included news department member, DJ, production director and eventually program director. He even worked on some engineering with the station.

More than 45 years after Barman joined, his alma mater station, now known as WIUX, celebrates its 50th anniversary. On Friday, both current members and alumni came together in the Franklin Hall commons to reminisce on the best and worst of the past five decades.

Barman helped organize the event, which was hosted and co-organized by fellow alumni Don Worsham and Neil Bolding. In his opening remarks at the ceremony, Media School Dean James Shanahan said that, of all the mediums The Media School has to offer, radio is his personal favorite.

Alumni at WIUX
WIUX alumni tour the new studio in Franklin Hall during the station’s 50th anniversary reception. (Courtney Christensen | The Media School)

“Radio to me is a very galvanizing medium,” Shanahan said.

In order for attendees to either remember or learn the long history of the station, a slideshow of photos from the 1960s to the present played throughout most of the event. On top of this, an audio clip titled “50 Years in 500 Seconds” – featuring various ads, bulletins, radio pieces, interviews, etc. – was presented.

For those present at the ceremony, as well as for many other fans of WIUX, the station’s history emphasizes the importance of student-run media organizations. Both Barman and current WIUX directors and juniors Matt Hamilton and D’Angelo King said that getting involved with such an organization can help students find their voice in an institution that thrives on just that.

“Individual students kind of get the opportunity to share a part of themselves, whether it be through the music, the reporting that they do or even the production that they do behind the scenes,” Hamilton said. “If they want to, they can leave kind of a mark on a smaller community and do something that’s pretty powerful in a dynamic way.”

This year, WIUX made the move from its previous location on Eighth Street to Franklin Hall. While Barman is thankful the organization has found a new home and will continue to thrive, he wants to be reassured that the station will remain completely student-run with its new relationship with The Media School and access to its resources.

Individual students kind of get the opportunity to share a part of themselves, whether it be through the music, the reporting that they do or even the production that they do behind the scenes. If they want to, they can leave kind of a mark on a smaller community and do something that’s pretty powerful in a dynamic way. -Junior Matt Hamilton, WIUX public relations director

Both King and Hamilton are enthusiastic about the new change. Hamilton said he believes using The Media School’s resources will only allow for them to improve and grow as an organization. He is also excited about being closer to groups like the Indiana Daily Student and IU Student Television.

“Being close to a lot of these student groups, like right there with them, I know it’s going to make it a lot easier when crazy stuff goes down because that’s always bound to happen on a college campus, especially at IU,” Hamilton said.

On top of this, the new location will give a chance for the organization to reach out to new audiences, King said. This will not only help the station’s brand, but also hordes of future media students whose admiration for the medium parallels or exceeds Barman’s.

“I think it helps with our professionalism and branding ourselves and to steer our organization in a direction that helps people,” King said. “Not only in the fields of media, but can give them real-world experience that they can take away from and apply it to what they do for the rest of their lives.”

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