Columbus State University’ first radio station is on the air.
Cougar Radio, WCUG 88.5-FM, debuted just after midnight Wednesday, thanks to a contribution from an anonymous local donor.
“The CSU Department of Communication is growing in number of majors and in classroom and community opportunities for students to gain practical experience in many areas of the industry,” Danna Gibson, the department’s chairwoman, said in a news release. “We are excited to launch the station and provide opportunities for communication students to learn all aspects of running a radio station. We are grateful for this gift that will enhance not only our communication studies, public relations and integrated media concentrations but also will open opportunities for all CSU students.”
Gibson told the Ledger-Enquirer that the donor and dollar amount won’t be disclosed until the station’s grand opening, which will be scheduled during the fall semester, but she said the figure is “several hundred thousand.”
The department has grown from approximately 170 students four years ago to more than 400 this year.“The growth is in our concentrations: communication studies, public relations and integrated media,” Gibson said. “We are training students to do the ‘backpack journalism,’ so they can do the production, the writing, the social media – everything by themselves. We truly are training them to industry standards.”
WCUG is housed in the Carpenters Building, at the intersection of Ninth Street and Broadway, on the RiverPark campus in downtown Columbus, and operated by students under the direction of department faculty and staff. The 22,000-watt station enables music, original content and programming to be broadcasted 24 hours a day for diverse interests.
The schedule will be limited before the fall semester starts in August, but it will expand in the fall with additional programming, including news and sports, Gibson said.
“We look to faculty and students to tell us what they want to hear on WCUG,” she said. “This is a great learning lab for our students, but it also is a new alternative in radio listening for our university and the community. I invite you to listen to us as we grow.”