Editor's Note: At WXLV's invitation, The Lehigh Valley Patch sites began working with the station's students and the station director in April. Patch and WXLV produce a weekly radio show called "The Patch Report.
Lehigh Carbon Community College students and alumni are proud of its radio station and they want to keep it that way.
But, in the midst of talk that campus radio station WXLV 90.3 FM will be sold, students took their case to save the station to college administrators Wednesday.
About 15 student workers camped under two small tents in front of the administration building rallied from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., urging fellow students to sign an online petition to assist their cause.
Many of the those solicited weren’t aware of the station’s somewhat dire situation.
“Why would they want to do that?” one student said after finding out about the situation from station workers. The student promptly signed the petition.
College officials have stated that the sale is only under consideration at this point, but the radio station student workers and volunteers launched a pre-emptive strike Wednesday.
“It’s a shame, because XLV is a huge educational asset,” said Jared Gibson, a paid student worker. “We want to send a message to the administration. They don’t seem to have a great amount of knowledge about how much work this actually takes. We have lots of people, students and alumni, who really work hard at this.”
However, the college’s funding mechanisms are currently strained with a 10 percent, or $1.3 million budget cut on the way. That’s in addition to three years of frozen state funds.
Student workers and volunteers aren’t buying that excuse.
“This is a way to learn (radio) hands-on at the college level,” Gibson said.
Disc jockey and radio station worker Sean O’Leary concurred.
“Working at XLV eliminates volunteers from having to do a year of unpaid internships at other stations and that’s all that’s out there about now,” he said. “Among other things, they learn studio recording, voice acting and board reading.”
Nichola Latzgo, another disc jockey and station worker, noted XLV has been operated by student workers for about a year with about 150 people who serve as volunteers and on-air personalities.
“We turned it into what it is today and we’ve come light years, Latzgo said. “We even have an Internet station and a smart phone app. We’re one of the first college stations to do that.”
Laztgo said the station’s success and popularity among LCCC's student body should be showcased by administrators to draw potential students to the school.
Vince DeJesus, another student worker, said the station’s signal is strong enough to be heard in the Lansdale and Quakertown areas and carries into parts of Warren County, N.J. at times.
DeJesus said the station runs with on-air personnel 18 hours a day, but operates 24/7.
“We even have some shows that come in from England and Australia,” he said. “We have Internet listeners in Africa and Italy.”
Students and workers were also slated, as a part of the rally, to record a DVD interview video of pleas to save the station. The DVD interviews will be given to college President Donald Snyder and the college’s Board of Trustees, who will make the ultimate decision on the station’s eventual fate.