WARC provides outlet for faculty radio presence

Political science professors host weekly talk show, links college and community

Two Allegheny professors in the political science department step out of the classroom for two hours every Tuesday at noon and take on the role of DJ at WARC 90.3FM, the college’s radio station.

Jackie Gehring, assistant professor of political science, and Jolie Wood, visiting professor of political science, were talking about the idea of having their own political science radio show and ran with it earlier in the year, Gehring said.

WARC is a non-commercial, student-run college radio station which allows students and professors to explore the vast world of radio, according to Allegheny’s website.

“The mission of WARC 90.3FM Meadville, Pennsylvania is to operate and promote a professional alternative radio station and serve as an educational tool for listeners and disc jockeys alike,” the website says.

Gehring and Wood wanted to do exactly this: serve as an educational tool but keep the conversation informal.

“We want people to think about what are the issues in the community and how you can get involved,” Gehring said. “We also want people who care about problems in the community to have a place to come to talk about what is happening.”

They believe the radio station is a great forum which is underutilized at the college.

“I am really excited about this show because it has long been my view that the radio station we have here is one of the most obvious ways we can link the campus and community; it is really under utilized in that regard,” Wood said as Gehring agreed.

Since the inception of Gehring and Wood’s show on Sept. 8, 2015, they have talked about topics ranging from the Civil War in Syria to the nuclear deal with Iran to a local art gallery in Meadville to the Meadville High School running back, Journey Brown, who rushed for more than 700 yards and scored 10 touchdowns.

Gehring and Wood, before becoming involved with WARC, had no experience when it came to radio broadcasting or organizing a show in general. They both agreed that with the tremendous amount of help from the WARC staff and a fellow colleague in the math department, Chris Lundberg, getting into the swing of radio broadcast became easy.

“You should’ve seen us our first couple weeks at the soundboard,” Wood jokingly said.

Even though they had initial problems at the soundboard, that did not deter Wood or Gehring from continuing to learn how to use the equipment and produce a radio show.

“There was a little bit of dead air now and then,” Gehring said while laughing.

The initial inspiration for the show for Gehring came when listening to podcasts  she follows. She wanted to have those conversations like she heard on the podcasts. Gehring highlighted that they both (Gehring and Wood) know many smart people which they can engage in interesting conversations about topics in today’s society without making it like a classroom.

The most recent show featured Ryan Pickering, assistant professor of psychology, and Aline Lo, assistant professor of english, speaking about first-generation and low-income college students utilizing their own experiences to add to the conversation.

Pickering believes the radio station allows for students to delve into other departments with which they may not be familiar.

“Not everyone is going to take a class in every department while they are here, so the radio show allows people from all over to get a sense of who is here and what sort of things they do here,” Pickering said. “It is also a way to get to know faculty in a different sort of professional setting.”

As the show formulates, Gehring and Wood hope to expand their show and continue to talk about different topics relevant to today’s society both in the world and in the local Meadville area. One day, Gehring said, they would like to form the show into a possible podcast where people can listen at their leisure and not have to worry about it airing just one time.

The next show will air on Tuesday, Oct. 20 from 12-2 p.m. The plan for the show is to talk about the values of bi and multilingualism concerning the brain. Gehring and Wood hope to bring Aimee Knupsky, associate professor of psychology, onto the show to add to the conversation.

Other information for the radio show can be found by liking their Facebook page, “Political Scientists in Your Ears” or following them on Twitter @PoliSciEars.

For more information on WARC visit its website through allegheny.edu.