Sophomore Kiara Freeman awoke on a Monday morning to a text reading: “How busy are you this semester?”
That afternoon she found herself with senior Mehgan Cain in a WRFH Radio Free Hillsdale meeting, where the duo joined the growing number of student shows on 101.7 FM. They recorded their first episode of comedy show “Miss Informed” on Monday of last week, and episode two is already in the works.
“I feel like politics are pretty big at Hillsdale, and I wanted to do something to deviate from that,” Cain said. “We really wanted to bring something to air that was highlighting some of the other cool aspects of Hillsdale.”
Cain attempted a solo run at the radio station last year, but said the workload was too much for one person. The addition of Freeman and more student help made “Miss Informed” a possibility.
“The way they have it set up this year is so cohesive and so great,” she said.
This year, the radio station has a larger staff, more producers, and is almost always working on its 18 shows and 10 features, according to General Manager Scot Bertram. Shows run 30 to 60 minutes including ads, while features are only five or fewer. Some of the newest additions went through trial runs last year, and Bertram noted a couple features and shows are still in the works.
After getting the program started last year, Bertram now has the assistance of junior Shadrach Strehle and sophomore Martin Petersen, who act as his program director and senior producer.
“I work alongside Scot for scheduling and content,” Strehle said. “My responsibility is what goes on the station.”
To get a show on air, students must first contact Bertram or Strehle with their ideas. Once they receive an email from the station staff, candidates are tasked with creating a motto, mission statement, and rundown of their show. After a meeting or two at the station, they may record their first show and run it on air if it meets Bertram’s and Strehle’s standards.
“Our quality restrictions aren’t incredibly high, but we try to make sure that people are focused on what they’re doing,” Strehle said. “This is a learning situation.”
Six new and revised shows launched on the airwaves this semester.
The result of a “fever dream,” this comedy show features Cain and Freeman on Wednesdays at 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. and Sundays at 5:30 p.m. The half-hour show covers pop culture and airs interviews with students. Last week’s episode featured seniors Daniel Cody and Callie Ring discussing Cody’s bloody accident with a vase in a restaurant.
Conserving the Classics
Senior Mark Naida and junior Nic Rowan bring their breadth of music knowledge to the microphone in this show, digging through archives to expose listeners to “classic” songs.
“They tell cool stories about music,” Strehle said. “This week’s episode is going to feature how I got named after a Beastie Boys song.”
The show airs at 9 p.m. on Wednesdays, and also sits in rotation, – gets airplay – on weekends.
The Daily Grind
Sophomore Jacquelyn Eubanks shows her storytelling skills in this program inspired by comedy variety program A Prairie Home Companion. The show concerns a fictional town, with original characters created by Eubanks.
This American Week
Junior Erik Halverson covers current events, sports, and politics in his week-in-review show. The half-hour program runs on weekends, as Halverson discusses highlights from the past week.
Out of Context
In what Strehle compares to “classic vaudevillian comedy,” sophomores Jake Sievers and Carson Waites explain news headlines with no further information than the title. “Out of Context” is a short feature, running at about five minutes each episode.
Around the World
Sophomore Ben Dietderich hosts this hour-long show every other week, interviewing his friends from around the world and asking them to share their varied perspectives on current issues. It’s more “conversational” than his viewpoint-challenging show “Devil’s Advocate,” which fills the alternating weeks.
Student shows typically air from 7 to 9 a.m., noon to 4 p.m., and after 9 p.m. on weekdays. Some shows are also selected to fill time on weekends when space allows. Besides 101.7 FM, listeners can also find the shows on Radio Free Hillsdale’s SoundCloud.