Junior Stefan Kleinhenz inter­views Scott Walker at CPAC last year. Klein­henz’s interview was named a finalist for the IBS awards. Twitter

Hillsdale stu­dents are known for their ability to write, but unbe­knownst to some is their pen­chant for charming lis­teners over the air­waves through the college’s radio station, Radio Free Hillsdale. 

Eight Hillsdale stu­dents were nom­i­nated as finalists in the national Inter­col­le­giate Broad­casting System Awards in early December, and five will travel to New York in March to attend the awards.

Radio Free Hillsdale was named as a finalist in six cat­e­gories, including Best Spe­ciality Music Show: The Spin Room, created by Matt Mont­gomery ‘19; Best Talk Program: Off Topic, created by Shad Strehle ‘19, Dylan Strehle ‘19, and senior Carson Waites; Most Innovative/Creative Program: State Facts, created by sophomore Jane O’Connor; Best Public Affairs Program: The Policy Corner, created by freshman Josh Barker; Best News Interview: Gov. Scott Walker at CPAC 2019, con­ducted by junior Stefan Kleinhenz; and finally, Best Sports Update, con­ducted by sophomore Rachel Kookogey. 

General manager of the radio station and Pro­fessor of Jour­nalism Scot Bertram said that Hillsdale com­petes against top schools across the country.

“If you look at these schools who get the final spots, they’re big names and big schools, and they’re also the schools that have the rep­u­tation for having very good broad­casting pro­grams,” Bertram said. “For IBS, anyone in the top 10 percent of sub­mis­sions at a spe­cific cat­egory is named a finalist.”

Winners will be chosen among the finalists at the IBS award cer­emony in March. 

Director of the Dow Jour­nalism Program John Miller said the nom­i­na­tions are a great way for Hillsdale stu­dents to be recognized.

“We have an excellent radio station with lots of tal­ented stu­dents,” Miller said in an email. “It’s great to see them win this recog­nition for their hard work.”

Bertram said that all nom­i­nated stu­dents are worthy of recog­nition, and hopes for a repeat of last year’s success. 

“Last year Ben Diet­derich won first place nationally for Best News Interview which was with John Bolton at CPAC 2018,” Bertram said. “We have a finalist this year, 

Stefan Kleinhenz, who inter­viewed former Gov­ernor of Wis­consin Scott Walker at CPAC 2019, so we do have a chance to poten­tially win back-to-back first place in that cat­egory which would be pretty neat.” 

Ulti­mately for Bertram, the awards are a way for stu­dents to be acknowl­edged for their efforts.

“There’s two ways the stu­dents can really know that people are lis­tening and paying attention,” Bertram said. “One is to get that feedback on campus and from the com­munity, but the other way is to say here’s our best stuff and how does it match up against stu­dents and shows at other schools? It’s a good way for the stu­dents to get some feedback and acknowl­edgement of the hard work that they’re putting out for their pro­grams, fea­tures, and shows.” 

Sophomore Jane O’Connor, creator of the nom­i­nated feature show, “State Facts” — where she quizzes stu­dents about their own home-states — couldn’t agree more. 

“It was really nice to have some­thing I made earn recog­nition, and I’m glad other people liked it,” she said. 

O’Connor said she was ini­tially sur­prised when she heard “State Facts” was nominated.

“I feel like when you’re cre­ating any­thing you’re sort of like, ‘Wow, am I even enjoying this? Have I for­gotten what made it enjoyable in the first place? Like are other people actually going to like it?’” O’Connor said. “So, it’s nice to think that at least one person lis­tened to it and thought, ‘Oh, this isn’t half bad.’ And now I get to go to New York out of that.”