Radio Free Hillsdale won its first three awards ever. | Col­legian

Radio Free Hillsdale WRFH 101.7 FM received its first three awards ever from the Michigan Asso­ci­ation of Broad­casters on Jan. 25, after its first year with student content on the air.

Of the eight cat­e­gories, WRFH earned first place in daily newscast/news feature and on-air per­son­ality or team, beating out larger schools with longer establish radio pro­grams such as Michigan State and Central Michigan uni­ver­sities. It also earned second place for sports announcing team.

“These awards are a tremendous recog­nition of the hard work the stu­dents have put into their craft in just a short period of time,” said Scot Bertram, WRFH station manager. “I hope this helps to put the station and Hillsdale’s great jour­nalism program on the radar screen for even more high school stu­dents con­sid­ering their future.”

Junior Ryan Kelly Murphy’s news­casts earned her first. The Hillsdale College feature segment, “Wait, What Hap­pened?”, by seniors Chandler Lasch and Sarah Schutte won them first for on-air team.

Lasch and Schutte, Sigma Alpha Iota women’s music fra­ternity sisters, found they both shared a love for Hillsdale College history after Lasch planned a scav­enger hunt for their fra­ternity. Schutte’s team won, because she was familiar with the college’s past.

“We geeked out over Hillsdale history facts together,” she said and later invited Lasch to start a feature show with her.

They have fea­tures on the mys­te­rious explosion of a fountain on campus to his­torical figure pro­files to student pranks.

“People don’t know who Melville Chase is, and half of campus should be named after Melville Chase, because the music department is what kept the school alive in its early days,” Schutte said. “I think we should all know that history.”

Schutte said she was sur­prised about the award. After grad­u­ation, she will work for National Review as the magazine’s podcast editor.

Junior Cole McNeely and sophomore Martin Peterson earned second place for their cov­erage of the Hillsdale baseball game against Wayne State Uni­versity last spring. The cov­erage also is one of four finalists for play-by-play cov­erage of a baseball game for the national Inte­grated Broad­casting Systems awards.

The irony, however, is that the recording came from a one-off event in which McNeely and Peterson made an attempt to try out the radio equipment on the field.

“We didn’t really do any prep work,” McNeely said. “We couldn’t even connect live, so we played it later. I’m not really sure what to make of this.”

Since then, WRFH has done more cov­erage of Charger ath­letics. Peterson has covered bas­ketball games, and McNeely, a former baseball players for the Chargers, said he plans to broadcast on baseball in the fall.

“The pos­itive way of looking at this is: Wow, imagine what we could do if we actually tried,” McNeely said.

WRFH has a busy semester ahead, as it plans to make an inau­gural appearance in the Con­ser­v­ative Political Action Conference’s radio row outside Wash­ington, D.C. at the end of the month. It is also looking to make live streaming available online, though all of its pro­gramming is available on Sound­Cloud now.

Bertram and some stu­dents will travel to Lansing, Michigan, for the MAB con­ference on March 7.