The Dean Spotlight series will feature monthly highlights of courses, news and events and all things happening at Dean College. Read on to learn more about: WGAO 88.3 FM Radio Station, Power 88.
Did you know that Dean College has a Neilson-rated, 175-watt stereo radio station right on campus? Whether you are gearing up for a career in Communications or Sports Broadcasting or are just interested in radio, Power 88 provides opportunities for developing talent!
Vic Michaels, a Providence radio veteran, has been the general manager of Power 88 since 1986. When he started at Dean his goal was to make the station as professional as possible.
“Power 88 gives students hands-on experience in a professional FCC licensed, broadcast state-of-the-art facility for academic credit,” said Michaels. “The fact that many of our alumni are employed in the broadcast and production fields all over the country speaks volumes about our program.”
Power 88, whose call letters are WGAO, plays a mix of rock – popular with classic thrown in – targeting an 18-45 age demographic. The newly renovated station is located inside Dean Hall and operates 24 hours per day with a state-of-the-art broadcast system. The station reaches a 20 mile radius around the Dean College campus on 88.3 FM and can also be listened to on power883.org.
The station’s playlist is generated on Audiovault, and students have seven talk breaks an hour to develop their on-air talents. They discuss subjects like sports, movies, current events and pop culture. They announce live play-by-play of Dean athletic games and record PSAs and podcasts that are played on air. Podcasts can also be listened to on Spreaker.
We asked a few students about their experience at Power 88. Bryce A. ’22, a Communications major at Dean, is the program director at the station.
“I manage the radio station along with Professor Michaels, so students contact me with any questions or issues,” said Bryce. “It’s a great opportunity for me to get radio experience in college before I graduate. I get to understand the on-air speaking aspect of radio and get a behind-the-scenes look how a station runs.”
Addison G. ’22, also a Communications major at Dean, is the director of productions.
“My first semester freshman year I had the opportunity to work on the news and sports side of WGAO, going on-air at the top of the hour to do the news broadcast,” said Addison. “My second semester I switched over to the DJ side of the station, introducing songs and going on-air to entertain listeners. Switching over to the role of DJ has allowed me to discover my passion for radio and live broadcasting. Working at Power 88 has given me real-world experience as to how professional radio stations run and how to go on-air as a radio personality.”
Students can start out at Power 88 by taking Com 112: Dean Radio/Music and Entertainment or Com 115: Dean Radio/News and Sports, depending on their area of interest. Com 112 focuses on radio station operations. Com 115 is for students who would like to focus on news, sports broadcasting or public affairs programing and the course focuses on broadcast skills. If a student wants to take on a leadership role at the station, these courses become two credits instead of one.
300-level continuing courses further develop skills in a student’s area of interest. These courses include Com 312: Advanced Dean Radio/Music and Entertainment: Producing and Directing and Com 315: Advanced Dean Radio/News and Sports: Producing and Directing.
Dean graduates who were involved with Power 88 have gone on to have successful careers in broadcasting at major radio and television stations!