After three years of radio silence, Farmingdale State College has returned to the broadcast realm with Ram Nation Radio, a newly revamped student-run outlet streaming online music, news and talk shows live.
The station’s previous incarnation, WRAM, had broadcast on 89.3 FM before it went off the air in 2011, following a string of equipment problems and waning participation from students. Now, Ram Nation Radio is back, featuring two dozen different shows—from electronica to metal, sports talk to music history.
“It really hangs in the balance of student participation,” said Russell Patterson, the director of student activities for the college and founding advisor of Ram Nation. “A club is only as good as the student body’s participation.”
Farmingdale State is now the eleventh college or university on Long Island to have a radio station and the fifth to be heard exclusively online.
Patterson recalled how WRAM equipment fell into disrepair and the defunct station’s past student leadership failed to balance their workload and radio responsibilities.
“Dominoes started to fall,” said Patterson. “Equipment would be damaged and hard to replace.”
A media advisory board—which includes the school newspaper, The Rambler, and the Islander Yearbook—had previously tried reviving the station, but those efforts proved unsuccessful. Patterson, who once had his own radio show at the college, was tasked with reviving the radio station last summer.
He aims to keep programming fresh, offering listeners something different from other local school radio stations. And he was pleasantly surprised that about 60 budding DJs responded to his recruitment drive—well above the dozen that formerly ran the station.
The station re-launched with a campus promotional party on Feb. 11. Live programming is slated to start on St. Patrick’s Day, which falls on Monday this year. Other programming includes Top 40 hits, pop, rock, Christian and an entertainment talk show.
“We’re not a traditional station like BLI or Party 103.5,” said Matt Kraemer, an FSC student who serves as the station’s technical director. “We’ll play music you won’t hear anywhere else.”
Live shows can be heard from Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., except Monday, when the electronica show airs until 11 p.m.
Programming planned for the future includes live shows on Fridays, broadcasting Rams sports games, incorporating a call-in system and, eventually, a 24/7 live broadcast schedule.
“We’re going to keep pushing the station to new heights that it hasn’t reached before,” said Patterson.
The primary goal, however, is to see more students join Ram Nation Radio—not just on-air personalities, but also in roles such as public relations, business, marketing, street team, and graphic arts.
Listeners can tune into Ram Nation online by clicking the “listen live” button or, on a tablet or smart phone, by downloading the TuneIn Radio app. Once the app is installed, search for “Ram Nation Radio.”
The station has already come a long way since December, when the studio looked more like a dilapidated storage facility. The only clues to its prior status were the audio console and empty microphone stands left in a backroom that felt as if no one had dared to enter for years. Rehabilitation of the studio was one of the final steps in the re-launch process.
Freshly painted, red walls now surround talent in the studio, which is equipped with new gear. The rooms now feel warm, more comfortable and, most importantly, like a radio station. It’s as though the start of a new era has begun.
“This station has a lot of potential,” said Melisa Wright, the station’s street team coordinator. “We just need to put ourselves out there. All we have to do is jump headfirst.”