Gardner-Webb University’s non-commercial FM radio station WGWG will be transitioning to an online-only station by the end of the year, according to an article in the Shelby Star. The Christian university, located in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, plans to keep the station call letters and branding, but is in the midst of negotiations to sell its 88.3 FM license. The 50,000 watt station began as a student radio club in 1961 and started broadcasting over FM in 1974. WGWG launched its website in 1998 and earlier this summer announced its plans to focus more on archived and on-demand programming via SoundCloud.
According to a June 28 press release from Gardner-Webb University,
“Later this year WGWG 88.3 FM plans to transition to an exclusive Internet only model of distribution…Discussions regarding this type of potential transition have been ongoing for several years… WGWG.org will continue to offer a variety of music and shows including student/ faculty/staff-produced content, Gardner-Webb athletics and original programming produced by community volunteers. During the 2012-13 academic year, 19 students were active in WGWG on the air and behind the scenes…WGWG.org…will offer on-demand audio archives and downloads of Gardner-Webb athletics broadcasts.”
A June press release touting WGWG’s move to on-demand programming also includes some tidbits about the station’s past. The press release states, “Intended to serve as a training lab for students who were interested in broadcasting, the call letters ‘WGWG’ were chosen as an acronym for ‘Watch Gardner-Webb Grow.'” The press release also gives a sneak preview of some additional programming coming to WGWG this fall:
“Specialty shows hosted by Gardner-Webb students and faculty, volunteers and WGWG staff will cover Christian music, exercise and science news, entertainment news, computer and health tips, Bluegrass music, deep cut rock and much more. All of the program offerings will also be available for on-demand access and/or download via the WGWG SoundCloud.”
Although there doesn’t seem to be an extensive radio program at Gardner-Webb, the school’s Communications Studies department offers course credit for student radio staff members. The class description states, “Practical experience and instruction in all phases of radio station operations through the facilities of WGWG-FM, the university’s radio station. Hands-on opportunities are available in audio production, air-shift performance, and management procedures.”
There’s no word yet on who the likely buyer is for the WGWG FM signal, but Gardner-Webb will retain the studio location on campus.