Cougar Radio is Getting Louder


Destiny Anderson, Reporter

Cougar Radio staffers are attempting to gain more listeners, and staffers and students alike believe more widespread advertising and events will make a significant difference.

Almost a dozen students are involved with Cougar Radio, including those who host their own shows. This year, Cougar Radio  hosts four student-run shows, offering programs such as sports, talk shows, and music.

Staffers are working to attract listeners by getting more music on-air, promoting the station with events and increasing the amount of in-studio work, including bands who offer live performances.

“Our main goal right now is to focus more on getting more music on,” said Dan Kimbrough, assistant professor in the communications department and Cougar Radio advisor.

Kimbrough has many promotional ideas, including live high school sports coverage – if the student body increases enough to have a larger audience. Live sports coverage is a useful field experience for media students and a valuable recruiting tool because as high school students will be made aware of the university’s offerings.

But Cougar Radio faces a variety of struggles, he said.

Kimbrough said one problem that the station is Internet-based. The station once had an FM license under the Sisters of Mercy, but it was cut due to lack of funding, Kimbrough said.

“The president didn’t feel like it was necessary, and we never went through the process of reacquiring it,” Kimbrough said.

The streaming content may deter students from tuning in because they may find it easier to listen to a broadcast station, Kimbrough said.

“It’s super inconvenient that it’s online,” said sophomore medical imaging major Courtney Whitmire.

Kimrbough believes streaming compounds the station’s troubles because sponsors are harder to come by and, therefore, station recognition is harder to generate.

“I believe it does [hinder] in spreading the word about the radio station,” Kimbrough said.

Cougar Radio has connections with about a dozen labels who provide new music. Currently, the station plays mostly indie music. However, some students would enjoy other varieties and genres.. Whitmire said she would enjoy hearing more rock, particularly bands like Breaking Benjamin, a popular rock band from Wilkes-Barre.

One of Cougar Radio’s best tools for publicity is social media, Kimbrough said. Staffers use multiple platforms, including as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to reach not only listeners but bands as well. Kimbrough believes social media is the best platform to spread information about Cougar Radio, and he believes an online presence is “cutting-edge,” as more radio stations switch to online programming.

Alternatively, Whitmire believes that physical promotions like flyers would be most helpful, especially on campus. Students are more likely to attend to flyers on campus locations than they are to read information online. Both Kimbrough and Whitmire agree that a balance of online and physical promotion is the most productive promotions strategy for Cougar Radio.

The radio station is currently hosting events that may provide publicity for the station. Most noteworthy, the station is hosting a battle of the bands in Wilkes-Barre. This is the 3rd annual battle of the bands, and is the largest scale one thus far.

There are a variety of events that Kimbrough would like to see in the  future. Some of these include a weekly concert series in the den and expanding current segments of radio shows. One segment that Kimbrough believes has potential is having professors on air to discuss a variety of issues, which can be  beneficial to students in all majors.

A weekly concert series in the den would be ideal, Kimbrough said, for a variety of reasons. It would be particularly helpful for students  because a large majority of students on campus are under 21 and younger students don’t have as much of an opportunity to explore the local music scene.

Kimbrough once had very different plans for his future. He once wanted to be a psychiatrist and a professional football player, but he  got involved in radio along the way.

“Obviously I screwed both of those up,” Kimbrough jokes, “but my senior year of high school, I got an offer to announce a football game. By then, I was connected to the radio station.”