Still the Best in Basement Radio

By Sarah Hartman ’11

WPRK. Photo by Christian Kebbel

“It meant a lot to us to make it this far in the mtvU competition. It’s a great validation of all of the hard work we put in on a weekly basis and it’s exciting to have Rollins recognized on a national level in this way.”
—Casey Korge ’13

Moments before she’s scheduled to go on air, Casey Korge ’13 seems unfazed by the fact that she’s about to be on live radio without a prepared script—probably because it’s second nature for her. While she was growing up, Korge learned the ropes from her father, who was a radio DJ, so she’s confident she’s got this one in the bag. “As long as I’ve got my playlist prepared before I go on air, I don’t worry too much; everything else tends to happen naturally.”

It’s that self-assurance that earned Korge the title of assistant station manager at Rollins’ radio station, WPRK 91.5FM. “Being spontaneous is part of the fun of live radio,” she said.

Korge is one of more than 120 DJs who bring “the best in basement radio” to Central Florida each day, drawing from a music library ranging from classical to techno that fills an entire room in the basement of Mills Memorial Hall. In addition to serving as a learning laboratory for Rollins students, the station is an important link to the local community. “Over half of our DJs are from Central Florida, and we are required to play music from a local band at least once per hour, so the ties we have to the community are pretty strong,” Korge said. “College radio stations are really local bands’ main outlet for air time, and those bands are what give us our unique sounds.”

Its unique sounds landed the Rollins station a place among the Top 10 nominees for the 2011 mtvU Woodie Award, which recognizes industry leaders and pioneers in college radio.

According to station general manager Jerrid Kalakay, the nomination is well-deserved recognition for the 59-year-old station. “We represented the smallest college on the list of nominees and were in the company of schools like the University of Tennessee,” Kalakay said.

WPRK is an example of how passion and drive—plus a healthy dash of spontaneity and originality—combine to create a successful enterprise. “There’s never a boring minute working with the WPRK family,” Kalakay said. “The DJs love what they do, and the station has an incredibly active, inspiring, and exciting atmosphere that is impossible not to love.”