Revival of the Penn State Harrisburg Radio Station
TAGS: Alexander CaylorFCCJeremiah DdumbaKuber DeyMiddletownProjectPSURadio Station RevivalSchool of Humanties

Radio Station Revival Initiative

Revival of the Penn State Harrisburg Radio Station, a collaboration between IEEE and the School of Humanities, marks a significant milestone as IEEE’s third major initiative. Led by Alexander Caylor and Jeremiah Ddumba and bolstered by the invaluable assistance of Zachary Martin, this endeavor first took root in the Spring of 2022. It stands out as IEEE’s inaugural project bridging the gap between an academic school and a club.

Previously, Penn State Harrisburg’s Radio Station (The Reactor) became inactive in 2012 due to waning student interest and a failure to transition the club to new members. Over time, the station was repurposed, first as a storage area, and later in 2018, two-thirds of it was transformed into a mail room, leaving only a small section used as a baby feeding/storage room. Recognizing the station’s potential, Alexander and Jeremiah initiated efforts to revive it. With support from Denise, Dr. Gardner, and The School of Humanities, they began the process of restoring the radio station to its original purpose. This initiative was timely, as they discovered that without intervention, the remaining space was at risk of being permanently repurposed, erasing the radio station’s legacy entirely

Funding and Technical Aspects

The success of this project owes much to Denise Saunders, the School of Humanities’ lead administrative assistant, Alexander Caylor, Kuber Dey, Jeremiah Ddumba, Dr. Gardner, and Dr. Beck, the school’s director. Their collaborative efforts have been key in strengthening the ties with IEEE. Additionally, Denise and Dr. Gardner, serving as advisors to the Radio Station, have been instrumental in securing new equipment and revitalizing the station. Thanks to Denise & Dr. Beck the School of Humanities gave IEEE a $10,000 budget to repair the radio station and the funding will be used to repair and replace necessary equipment, rejuvenating the station’s functionality.

Our partnership extends to the School of Humanities, students, and the wider university community, focusing on developing student programming for the radio station once it goes live. This initiative is tailored for students with interests in radio hosting and related fields, offering them a unique opportunity to gain practical experience. It’s more than just a broadcasting platform; it’s a learning hub where students can learn to manage, maintain, and operate a radio station, equipping them with skills that are valuable for landing jobs or internships at their dream companies.

Future Prospects and Impact

The project’s goal is to rejuvenate the radio station, enabling it to broadcast over the air using low-power broadcasting licensed by the FCC. This capability would allow transmissions to cover most of Middletown, spanning a radius of over 3.5 miles. Currently, on February 19th we are relaunching the radio station as an online exclusive platform. Meanwhile, concerted efforts continue with Penn State, The School of Humanities, the FCC, and Middletown authorities to secure the necessary documentation, permissions, and equipment for broader, over-the-air broadcasting.

The revival of the radio station significantly bolstered IEEE’s profile, offering members the chance to actively participate in its restoration. This involvement was a key factor in IEEE winning the Best Club of the Year award.

As this project progresses, it reflects the potential of interdisciplinary projects in enhancing student learning and experience. It’s a step towards integrating practical media skills into the academic curriculum, benefiting the university community at large.