Student radio makes waves on campus

By Callie Jennings – cjenning@unca.edu – Staff Writer | Sept. 17, 2014 |

Photo Illustration by Brian Vu - Photo Editor.
Photo Illustration by Brian Vu – Photo Editor.

Hosting events for more than 300 people, providing a creative outlet for students and preparing jam sessions, UNC Asheville’s radio station Blue Echo, serves as more than the community’s typical college radio station, according to students.

“Blue Echo allows students to express their creativity while sharing their interests with others. Essentially we are able to become a stage for people to share their ideas with the UNC Asheville community,” said Allison Widner, events director and co-station manager.

Widner along with Drew Proctor, co-station manager, and Ian Johnson, art director, as a group ensure the station runs smoothly.

“I am in charge of planning all of our events such as Arcade Night, which happened a few weeks ago. We actually broke our record with 365 people in attendance this year. I also keep up with the paperwork side of the organization as well as running meetings and helping with the budget,” Widner said.

Blue Echo is a completely student run online radio station for the university. According to staff, Blue Echo provides a voice for UNCA, but they are disheartened only a small percentage of students tune in to listen.

“It seems like only 30 people know we exist, but this is what we try and tell people: we do a lot of cool events. We do Arcade Night in the fall and spring, we do college radio day, Music Fest and we put on jam sessions throughout the year,” said Isabella Daniels, business director and disc jockey.

Blue Echo staff said they hope to expand Arcade Night, especially since they were close to reaching capacity in the Grotto. In honor of Mario Kart 8’s launch, Mario provided the theme for Arcade Night. Along with popcorn, pizza and snow cones as refreshments.

“It was really cool. I was really excited. People were jumping around and having a good time. We always hope for more people to attend. Once something is your best, then it’s no longer your best and you have to strive for a new best,” Daniels said.

The second most successful event Blue Echo hosts is Music Fest. Music Fest is a new event and only started last school year, but for its first year hosted approximately 160 students.

“We had 13 bands play and the event lasted all day. I think I worked 20 hours. It was awesome. Plus, we also had record painting and food. I’m really excited to do it again, but it is a lot of work. I think we start planning about three months ahead of time,” Daniels said.

Daniels, along with her two co-hosts run a show called “The Ultra Punk Freedom Legion.” They play punk music, electro rock and according to Daniels, “nerd rock.”

“We have about 40 DJs — around 60 people on staff — it fluctuates, but I believe we have around 35-40 different shows currently. There’s a ton right now,” said Jack Burton, production director. 

Blue Echo hosts a variety of shows ranging from answering questions and giving advice, LGBTQ issues, feminist music, jazz mixed with poetry, hip-hop and indie rock.

“We try to get as many people that we can. There are talk shows and debate shows, news stories and original artists and I hope to have a schedule soon with descriptions and titles on what each show is about. When that comes out I believe it will be on our website as well as posted on the studio door,” Burton said.

Burton also works with Daniels as co-hosts for “The Ultra Punk Freedom Legion” two-hour on air show.

According to Burton, they all have radio host names as well. Burton goes by “Jack the Ripper,” Daniels is known as “Izzy Stardust” and their third co-host, “Caveh-Kazi.”

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