More student voices from Slippery Rock University will air this spring with the start of a new radio production course.
The university’s digital radio production course seeks to give students a “hyper-specific” view of how mass communication media work in the age of podcasts and media-sharing platforms like YouTube.
The course will be taught by Nick Artman, associate professor and advisor to student radio station WSRU.
While students will work on audio production and storytelling, the course moves away from the current audio production course to apply these aspects to the world of broadcast regulation, Artman said.
âThere are broadcasting rules and some [Federal Communications Commission] guidelines you need to follow, âArtman said. “So, [the course] it’s a bit of audio production, a bit of FCC regulation and broadcasting, and a bit of vocal training and screenwriting.
While the new course is expected to add to the talent pool of those working at WSRU, as the department’s journalistic writing and television production courses have done in the past, the course and the student radio station are entities. distinct, with participation in one which does not necessarily mean being a member of the other.
Students of the radio station and the course can both learn how to register a station ID, those in the course will learn the reasoning behind the rules.
On the material side, the students will not broadcast anything live but will use Rode mini audio consoles. Widely used in the podcast arena, RODECaster Pros students will also use the usage by those who manage internet radio stations.
While the medium may seem out of place for a generation where radio was sidelined for smartphones and speakers, radio waves are denser than ever before. According to a study by Pew Research, FM radio is at an all time high with more than 10,000 radio stations across the country.
But despite the increase in stations, radio experienced its first big drop in terrestrial listeners, to 83% of Americans 12 and older, since 2009.
Even with the decline in traditional listeners, the medium is dying but evolving – like newspapers, Artman said.
This evolution took time, but with the popularity of smart speakers, digital internet radio broadcasts have kept radio relevant in the streaming age.
Yet the disruption caused by the pandemic could lead to another shift in the future, as music streaming continues to increase its share of the digital space and more people continue to work from home, reducing the impact. the traditional distribution of home-work journeys.
By linking his personal passion for audio that arose from his years of college radio at Indiana University in Pennsylvania with his passion for teaching, Artman hopes to help students develop their voices regardless of their educational goal. .
As the host of âHello, SRU,â Artman interviewed many people from the campus community. With the growth of the podcasting space, this is an area in which he seeks to bring his expertise to students and show that broadcast radio can be more than talk radio and Top 40 hits. Beyond the podcasting space, helping students understand the curation of playlists according to FCC guidelines and producing live programming focused on campus events, to become something more than a traditional radio.
Prior to this upcoming class, students had not received any radio production classes since the mid-1980s, according to a review of previous course catalogs by Katrina Quinn, chair of the strategic communications and media department. These two courses, a basic course and an advanced course, focused on the technical aspects of radio equipment and the writing of documentary and drama programs.
Moving the course forward into the future means taking those ideas from the past, such as the now six-part hourly radio podcast series, and providing opportunities for growth, ultimately leading to a concentration in audio production.
For those who wish to get into radio and audio production, Artman suggests stopping by the radio station and giving it a try. Others who know they want to incorporate broadcasting into their curriculum should aim to enroll in the course. Students who are not majoring in communication should contact Artman to take the course.
Whether it’s digital radio production in the spring or WSRU, Artman hopes to bring his passion for music and radio into the classroom to build the next generation of broadcasters.
âMusic is everything,â Artman said. âIt’s a great stress relief for me and it’s a passion for me.
âTo be able to link this to my professional passion andâ¦ to be able to develop this passion in other studentsâ¦ to be able to teach that. I will do it every day.