By: Matthew Cavenaile | Staff Writer
When Caleb Honegger first stopped by Wiley Radio as a freshman in the Fall of 2014, the club was essentially non-existent. There was minimal involvement and the only real activity was the occasional student dropping by for a radio show that would be optimistically heard by four people. Honegger remained loosely involved with the club until his sophomore year, when he heard news of a studio renovation. Through no shortage of determination, Honegger got his hands on the keys to the studio and was given the task of renovating the studio and revitalizing the Wiley Radio club. That summer, with a measly budget of $400, Honegger remained on campus and spent his time learning the ins and outs of radio and audio engineering. By the time school came around he had single-handedly gotten the studio back in working order and made plans to increase the quality and involvement of Wiley Radio.
Throughout the next couple of semesters Honegger and a few others kept hard at work in the studio. They managed to slowly increase membership and gather extra funding by DJing several events around campus. However, the real turning point occurred last February when the club received an SFAB grant totaling $25,000. “The money went towards new equipment for concerts and the studio and was exactly what we needed”, said Honegger. He and the few members he had recruited proceeded to go on an audiophile shopping spree, finalize the studio renovation and prep for the coming Fall semester callout. Keep in mind that prior to this, none of those involved had any experience in broadcasting or audio engineering. The server for the website that streams Wiley Radio’s broadcast is home brewed and the website itself was coded entirely from scratch. They taught themselves Linux, PHP and all other necessary skills to get the broadcast online. Students like these are the reason Purdue has obtained and retained its reputation as one of the best public universities in the U.S. “Blood, sweat, tears, the grant and five or six passionately active members made this club what it is today”, explained Honegger.
The blood, sweat and tears paid off. Following the Fall callout, “we went from maybe 10 people in the club to about 100”, said Honegger. As of now, the club is exponentially growing and there’s no end in sight. Students are teaming up to produce recreational and professional podcast style shows about music, news, politics and much more. Alongside these shows are the countless weekly shows hosted by students that can consist of anything they desire. In addition to radio, the club throws some of the best concerts at Purdue. Shiny Penny, The Wldlfe and Zach Vinson are just a few of the artists that Wiley Radio has brought to campus, and there are ample resources for more shows for years to come. Other than continued growth, Honegger foresees a sole Purdue Student Radio FM broadcast as the future of the club. He explained saying, “FM is not irrelevant, It’s the most listened to format out there. More people listen to the radio then they do Spotify and OnDemand”. Realistically, he predicts the creation of a station within 3 to 5 years. It will be exciting to see what the future holds for Wiley Radio.
If you’re interested in radio, live music, marketing, photography, design or have any ideas for the club, visit wileyradio.org/join. The club is also on Facebook(Facebook.com/WileyRadio) and Instagram, or you can simply stop by the studio in the basement of Wiley Hall.