Central Washington University’s radio station, 88.1 The ‘Burg, won three awards at the Intercollegiate Broadcast System (IBS) National Conference, including Best College Radio Station in early March 2022. The ‘Burg has also won Best College Radio Station App and Most Creative Show. .
“The whole campus is abuzz about our excitement to have won this award,” said 88.1 CEO Tommy Skaggs. “It’s a huge award, we’re delighted. It proves all the hard work that goes into here at the station and all the good work the students do to put out a good product and a good radio station.
Danny DeBock, CWU senior and 88.1’s deputy news director and head of sports, said the station won the award under Skaggs’ talented leadership that gave students the freedom to create their own content and find their niche. Freedom leads to creativity, creativity leads to passion and passion leads to quality.
One of the examples of the creativity given to the station was also one of the biggest changes to the music. Programs director Kody Phoxay, a senior, had been with the station for all four years of his college life. During this time, the station aired only the top 40 hits. He wanted to change that and went to Skaggs to pitch the idea.
“Top 40 Music only targets a certain demographic. As we’re a college radio station, I think we should target as many college students as possible,” Phoxay said. the station in terms of music and images. We play top 40 now, we play hip hop, country, rap, rock and roll, EDM, alternative, etc.
This is the second time the station has won the award for “Best College/University Radio Station (with over 10,000 students). The first win was in 2015, and the station has been nominated since, but eventually took home the win. They also won “Best Phone App”, which is said to be almost entirely due to the contribution of junior Dylan Elliott. Skaggs said Elliott was the person working behind the scenes to make sure everything worked on the webpage and app, keeping it clean and easy to use.
The ‘Burg also won “Most Creative/Innovative Show” for “Electropolis”, hosted by students Matt Wiemals and Apollo White. The show has been a part of 88.1 for about a decade and airs every Friday night. Wiemals described the show as being a live concert with several DJs mixing their own set. The show was nominated for the most creative award before, but takes the first win since its premiere.
“To be honest, I don’t really know what changed,” Wiemals said. “It was all the little things…I had a conversation with Apollo, and I was like, ‘I don’t know what we can do differently, other than making sure we sound our best and that our music is current and new.’ We try to stand out in every way we can. With that, there was a lot of live mix practice, different showdowns and mix techniques. I think they (the judges) just liked the reel that we have done this year.
88.1 students and staff said they went to the conference with the goal of winning the gold medal. They were tired of being nominated and being runners-up year after year, and worked hard to be the best they could be.
Skaggs said the continued hard work and exploration the students put into the final product of their show went above and beyond and created one of the best stations CWU has seen in years.
“I worked really hard to try and get this award for the station, so when I first heard about it (the results) I’m not going to lie, I sort of expected it. that we win,” Phoxay said. “I came in with a lot of confidence.”
Phoxay said he was inspired to work hard and win because he loves the job and the people who work with him. He described the station’s environment as one where everyone gets along, they all have a common passion when it comes to radio and it shows in the product they create.
“I don’t think I’ve worked in an environment that allows you to be creative, have fun, get to know your co-workers, work with your co-worker and when it’s time to get serious, we can be serious as well “, said Phoxay. “It was a collective group, I love all my colleagues and we are good friends. It’s fun to put on a show in your spare time. I really like being on the air, talking about anything.