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Fighting to Keep College Radio Station On-Air

WILLIAMSPORT — A college radio station’s days could be numbered in Williamsport.

This is the last semester WPTC will be used as a classroom for students in the mass media major.

Those Penn College students are trying to save their radio station.

88.1 FM has been on the air since the late 1970’s, and without students to major in media, the college is weighing its options if the station will stay or go.

Two Penn College students call themselves “Sam Squared.” Sam Finley and Sam Wagner host a program on WPTC, the college’s owned and operated radio station.

For both mass media majors, the station is not only a place to get learn and get experience, it could help them with careers in radio.

“I feel this will be my ticket to getting into radio because I’ve learned so much here,” said Wagner.

It was a little more than a year ago when Penn College decided to stop offering the mass media major to students on campus. Now that remaining students are ready to complete that major next semester, it means the fate of the radio station is in jeopardy.

“I like to think of the radio station as a ship that’s stinking and we’re kind of just on it as it’s going down,” said Finley.

The students aren’t going down without trying to convince the college that WPTC is worth keeping on the air.

They have collected hundreds of signatures in support of WPTC, Penn College officials said a decision could be made within the next year.

“If we choose not to run it anymore, we would look to sell the equipment, our FCC license, those kinds of things,” said Elliot Strickland, Chief Student Affairs Officer at Penn College and added there wasn’t enough interest in the mass media major.

Keeping a radio station in operation could be too costly without students who are studying radio, but for student and Williamsport native Meghann McBryan, the station means much more to the community.

“I know a lot of people in the community who enjoy this radio station, it’s sad that it’s something that might not be around anymore.”

Penn college officials said they will have to look at what’s in the best interest to the college when deciding if the radio station stays.


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