Radio silence: we should have a radio station at Chatham


Chatham student Joanna Ferrara ’83 working as an intern at Golden Triangle Radio Information Center in 1981. Photo source: Chatham University Archives

Arlo Grey MacFarland

Pretty much every school in the Pittsburgh area has a radio station, so why isn’t there one at Chatham University? The interest at Chatham in music and news is only growing, but having to check Instagram, the Chatham Happenings page and on-campus flyers puts the onus on students to find information. A radio station would deliver it straight to them.

College students are busy, and keeping track of these events can be difficult. This leads to poor student engagement and small turnouts for events. 

Haley Racioppo ‘23, the president of the Sexual Respect Committee, said that when she tries to host events, the turnout is low. When she asked around about it, she was told that people didn’t even know there was an event. 

If students are not aware of what’s going around on campus, a radio station could feature news and increase engagement to campus in a fun and easy-to-consume way. News, events and sports segments are a great way to inform students about what’s going on at Chatham. Plus, the Communiqué has noticed growth in recent terms in its online readership, demonstrating that there is interest in this type of content. A radio station could be yet another platform to connect students with what’s happening at Chatham.

Other schools in Pittsburgh such as Point Park University and the University of Pittsburgh have broadcasting stations that play in common areas so that it’s always heard. If Chatham were to have one, it could be broadcast in Anderson Dining Hall, Café Rachel and the Carriage House. 

The station would also be a great platform for local musicians.

The Coffeehouse Committee is a new student organization that’s dedicated to using the Rea Coffeehouse as a venue for local music. By bringing live music back to Chatham, there has become an increased interest in local musicians. A radio station can give them a platform to promote their music on a dedicated segment. 

From here, the biggest question of all comes to mind: would there be any interest in listening? Lilly Kubit ‘22 said, “I think the issue radio has, like print newspapers, is that there’s a shift in audience. People are listening to Apple Music and Spotify instead of the radio.”

The radio station can use social media and be run online, similar to iHeartRadio or Amp. Audience participation could make the station more interactive and engaging for listeners. For example, students could submit playlists, song requests as well as messages and stories to be read aloud on the broadcast to foster a sense of community in an interactive student segment.

Starting a radio station is by no means an easy undertaking, but with the right group of people, one could flourish at Chatham. The Chatham Communiqué’s growing readership and the creation of the Coffeehouse Committee shows that Chatham has an appetite for this content, so why not feed it?