From March 29 - April 4, Virginia Tech’s WUVT station brought back a successful spring semester Radiothon filled with extraordinary shows ranging from Just Dance 4 songs to TikTok famous tunes.
“(Radiothon) really shows the diversity of music that we have here at WUVT so I’m really glad that we get to showcase that and also raise money,” said Justin Louie, the AM program director at the station.
Radiothon is a weeklong fundraising event that WUVT holds each semester to showcase themed shows put on by the station’s DJs. Being a nonprofit organization, Radiothon is one of the greatest opportunities to raise money for the station. Despite restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, WUVT’s staff pulled together unique themes that proved the event to be a sweet-sounding success.
“We had some really interesting shows this time,” said Katherine McArdle, business and sales manager of WUVT. “On Monday night during the 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. slot (the DJs) ended up playing Guitar Hero over the air. Two of our staff heads who are DJs also ended up making their own music over the air.”
Moreover, McArdle described how she turned her regular Friday night show into a five-hour extravaganza with another DJ.
“My show was Friday nights and it’s called ‘The Wave’ and my friend beforehand has a show called ‘The Sound,’ so we combined our shows and had a five-hour show called ‘The Soundwave,’” McArdle said. “It was all about music that talks about whispers, echos and that type of thing.”
McArdle and Louie said that the spring Radiothon is particularly special to the station because it falls on April 1, which is not only a perfect opportunity for DJs to curate April Fools’-themed shows, but is also the day that WUVT celebrates their 76th birthday, founded in 1945.
“When we have Radiothon in the spring, it’s always around April Fools’ Day so you’ll have your fair share of meme playlists,” Louie said.
Like any other fundraising event during the pandemic, Radiothon’s schedule of events didn’t look entirely the same as it did in past years. WUVT’s staff noted that they came across a couple of challenges when it came to promoting the event and having fewer DJs than usual.
“We usually put posters out on campus and try to be on the center of campus, not just in Squires, but that has been challenging now,” McArdle said. “Since there aren’t as many people on campus, we were thinking: is it even worth going out and promoting?”
Additionally, Louie noted that the station hasn’t had as many DJs on air overall due to the pandemic.
“That’s something I’m looking to change in terms of recruitment post-pandemic,” Louie said. “We’re hoping to change that and recruit more as soon as next semester.”
Despite a few challenges and adjustments that came along with this semester’s event, both McArdle and Louie felt that Radiothon was a major success. McArdle described that DJs and staff heads were more enthusiastic about the event than ever.
Moreover, Radiothon raised $16,073.70, which was an increase from last semester.
“We had a really good bump this semester,” Louie said. “It was a total success.”
Though Radiothon raised a successful amount of money to help support the radio station, McArdle emphasized the importance of donations to keep the station afloat as they are the primary source of funding that WUVT receives.
“There is a lot we have to pay for and it’s something we have to fight for a little bit more than other radio organizations,” McArdle said.
In terms of the future, WUVT hopes to focus on maintaining an open, creative and social space for anyone and everyone who enjoys music.
“Radiothon reminds me of why I joined this station to begin with; I’ve been involved since I was a freshman and I’m a junior now,” Louie said. “We’re trying to make the station a more social place and that’s the direction that we want to take this organization into. We want to emphasize that if you like music, you have a home here.”