The LION 90.7FM (WKPS – State College) is Penn State University’s student radio station. It is chartered as an undergraduate student organization under the Penn State Office of Student Affairs. It is one of Penn State’s largest student organizations.
History of The LION 90.7fm
How did we get to where we are today? Here’s a brief summary of our pre-history:
Before There Was The LION, there was…
Penn State’s first student radio station, WDFM 91.5FM, was started as a senior class gift and went on the air in 1953. In 1985, WDFM became a National Public Radio carrier and changed its call letters to WPSU. This limited student programming to a very few hours a week, and those were late at night.
When WPSU expanded its coverage area in 1994, there was little reason in the minds of the by-then professional (non-student) management to have student programming at all.
Consequently, an application was sent to the Federal Communications Commission for a 100-watt student radio station. After several delays, the FCC granted a license to 90.7FM, WKPS, in July of 1995.
The Birth of Modern Student Radio in WKPS
After months of organizing, WKPS went on the air on Monday, October 30, 1995 and began broadcasting from the James building on 123 South Burrowes St., then home of WPSU and still current home of The Daily Collegian.
Since that Monday, our audience has grown massively, we’ve introduced new programming to our format, we’ve redecorated and won awards, and we moved into the HUB in August of 2003. We’ve seen new and fresh faces join our family and said good- bye to many old friends. As radio stations go, WKPS is still young and in many ways we are still growing.
WKPS Re-images Itself As The LION 90.7FM
In 2000, with the beginning of a new century, WKPS received a facelift and became The LION 90.7fm. Even as we speak, some of the things we do at this station are being done for the first time. You now have the unique opportunity of joining us and bringing your talents to our organization. From all of us here at The Lion 90.7fm, welcome aboard!
Until 1996, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) required that all radio board operators be licensed, in addition to the station’s license. The Lion 90.7fm’s training program was created in order to meet that requirement. While the FCC no longer requires that people be licensed, all responsibility therefore of what is broadcast ultimately falls on the license holders.
Thus station policy all the more demands that board operators and on-air staff go through a training program. This is done to not only protect the interests of the station, but also the interests of Penn State’s Board of Trustees, who as the highest governing body responsible for all Penn State operations, are the legal holders of our FM license.
THE LION 90.7FM: A NON-COMMERCIAL RADIO STATION
The Lion 90.7fm is a non-commercial radio station, meaning we don’t profit from our station in any way. Because of this, we are prohibited from broadcasting commercial material. This is defined as being any material that may result in a for-profit organization making money. Also, a radio station, whose frequency is located between 88MHz and 92MHz on the FM dial, designated to serve as an educational outlet for broadcasting, is non-commercial.
Air talent may also not make calls to action. This occurs when we broadcast material that asks, urges, or suggests that a listener should perform some task, which may result in a for-profit organization making money.
Any of the following make a statement a call to action:
- Urging listeners to buy a particular product or service.
- Urging listeners to attend a for-profit concert, event, or performance
- Mentioning the price of a particular for-profit product, service, or event.
- Urging listeners to patronize a particular for-profit business.
- Making comparative, qualitative, or judgmental statements about businesses, services, or events.
Remember, calls to action involve for-profit organizations or events. We can encourage listeners to support non-profit events or organizations, such as a concert by The Lion 90.7fm or USG.
Being a non-commercial station, we are allowed to raise money by selling underwriting contracts. Underwriting is a legal way for us to acknowledge the contributions of organizations (including for-profit organizations) to specific shows or to the station as a whole.
Underwriting spots may not include calls to action. They may identify, but never promote. They may also include factual information about a business or event.
“The Lion SportsBlitz is brought to you in part by a grant from the Student Bookstore, located on East College Avenue.” ” Good.
“State Your Face was made possible in part by a grant from Svoboda’s Books – independent booksellers serving the State College community.” ” Good.
“Indie 500 was brought to you by Wendy’s, serving the best grilled chicken sandwich in State College.” ” BAD.
Though our Sales staff obtains the majority of our underwriting contracts, there are incentives for bringing in underwriting funds. Talk to the Sales Manager for more information on underwriting.
CONTESTS AND GIVEAWAYS
The same rules that apply to commercial material also apply to any on-air giveaways. These must be announced with neutral language. The prize, such as concert tickets or CDs, can be identified but not promoted. As you know, calls to action are always prohibited.
Lotteries, in which a person has to visit a business or other location, or purchase something in order to enter, are always illegal for non-commercial stations. This would contribute to promoting the product or service.
But yes, it’s perfectly legal to ask listeners to answer trivia to qualify for a giveaway.
- Prizes waiting to be claimed are stored in our office (though this may change). When a listener wins something, be sure to mark the following on the Prize Sheet:
- The name of the winner and a contact for them
- Your name
- The name of your show
- The date and time of the giveaway
LEGALITIES and the LOG
Just as with any other radio station, The Lion 90.7fm has its own set of rules and regulations to uphold. We ultimately answer to two groups, and either of these parties have the ability to take us off of the air in the blink of an eye.
The first group is the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). They have granted us a license to operate and in return we are to follow the regulations that they have instituted. The FCC DOES have the power to revoke our license and take us off the air.
The second group is the Pennsylvania State University Board of Trustees. Our FCC license bears the name of the Board of Trustees, and thus the license belongs to the Board of Trustees. They are always considered when we make a programming change because they also have the power to take us off of the air.
The Program Log: the single most important requirement of board operators. It is a written record of our on-air signal and transmission.
If you’re a board operator, you had better sign it every time you touch the board. You must account for every single second that we are on the air.
The FCC has a legal right to view the logs at any time they please. Because of this, the station may be fined if they are not being kept properly.
NOTE: The Program Log is a legal document. Please treat it as such. Any discrepancies that can be traced back to you will be followed by penalties.
The log is divided into several sections.
- Sign-in sheet
- Meter Readings
- Emergency Alert System (EAS)
- Obligations (Promos, PSA’s, Legal ID’s)
Each one of these sections is a requirement, not a guideline. You must take each one into account every time you touch our console.
If you fail to adhere to the Program Log at any time, you may face penalties, including fines and/or suspensions.
This is the first page of the program log. This is where you, the board operator, must sign your name at the beginning and the end of your air shift. When you sign onto the log, you are acknowledging that you are responsible for The Lion 90.7fm’s signal until your sign-off time.
Because we have 24 hour programming, all times must be marked down in military fashion. For example, “8:30pm” would be written as “20:30”. The time that you sign out on the log must coincide with the next operator’s sign-in time exactly.
The next page is devoted to transmitter operations and meter readings. The first section is the transmitter’s uptime log. This page denotes when who turned the transmitter on and off. Unless you are turning the transmitter on or off, disregard this section.
When you turn on the transmitter, mark down the time and sign your name next to the appropriate section. (See Appendix E for instructions on powering the transmitter)
The second item on the transmitter page is for logging your meter readings. The meter reading measures the strength of our signal. If the signal is too strong or too weak, it could seriously affect the frequency that our station is received. This is required of the FCC, just like signing into the log during your shift, and you should check our readings at the beginning of every air shift. (See Appendix E, or the Transmitter log page, for instructions on meter readings.)
When checking the meter reading, be sure to record the time and the forward power reading in the spaces provided in the log. Remember, this is an FCC requirement. The power should be between 200 and 230 watts. If it is not, contact the Operations Director immediately.
The third page of the program log is the part that deals with the Emergency Alert System, or EAS. This is basically the old Emergency Broadcast System, and it used to spread warnings and alerts about floods, snowstorms, thunderstorms, and the like. The EAS is an FCC requirement, and is extremely important.
The importance of EAS:
The EAS, or Emergency Alert System, is the updated version of the Emergency Broadcast System. You remember, the one that interrupted your favorite TV stations to give you a long tone. This alerts everyone listening to broadcast stations (FM, AM, and TV) to emergencies, and is a legal obligation.
We must send an EAS test once a week, so that the FCC knows our EAS system is in operation and functioning normally. Other stations must do the same, so we must also receive their tests and log them, as proof that they sent their EAS tests.
More importantly, however, we must broadcast and log any emergency alerts that may be sent from the National Weather Service or any other authorities.
You MUST know exactly how to log such tests from our station or any other station. If the FCC comes to inspect The Lion 90.7fm, and the board operator does not know how to perform an EAS test, the FCC can fine us or shut us down. The updated EAS procedure will be outlined in an operations binder in the studio, and will also be part of the new training manual.
The rest of the log lists items, like Legal ID’s, EAS alerts, PSA’s, and underwriting, and for which half-hour block they should be played. You, as the board operator, are obligated to play or read each one of these during your air shift. Once an obligation is played or read, mark the time that it was played.
Rules Of The Log
- Legal IDs – You must play a Legal ID within 5 minutes of the top of every hour. There are no exceptions to this rule. The Legal ID is an FCC requirement, and fines/penalties will be given to those who do not play or mark down that they have played the Legal ID when required.
- The ID consists of a station’s call letters and city of license.
- Our Legal ID IS “WKPS, State College.”
- Please do not confuse this ID with any other means of identification, such as “The Lion 90.7fm.” You may use words to surround the words “WKPS, State College,” but you may not separate them.
- “WKPS, State College” ” Good.
- “WKPS, in State College” ” BAD.
- “You’re listening to WKPS, State College, The Lion 90.7fm” ” Good.
- “You’re listening to The Lion, WKPS, 90.7fm, State College” ” BAD.
Back to the Log
- Making Corrections – Remember, this log is a LEGAL document. Therefore, there is a specific procedure for making corrections. To correct a mistake:
- Draw a single horizontal line through the mistake.
- Write in the correction.
- Mark down your initials next to it. (This is important in case a question arises in the review of the logs.)
- Falsifying the log – You may not record that you have fulfilled an obligation when you have not. This is called “falsifying the log,” and it is illegal. Unless previously cleared by the Operations Director or the Staff Advisor, no board operator may skip any obligation for any reason. Serious penalties will follow a falsification of the log.
- There should be no extraneous markings on the log whatsoever.
- Do not mark or sketch anywhere on the log!
- Use only black or blue pen to record anything on the log. Red pen or pencil should never be used to write in the log.
- Logs will always be found in the metal container on the back wall of the on-air studio. Completed logs should be put in the top slot, and logs for the next day will always be in the slot located second from the top.
The FCC also requires that each radio station maintain a Public File. This file contains general information about our station such as licensing information, our constitution, and talk show topics, as well as any bits or skits used during your show.
As the name says, the file is open for anyone to see, however, it must be done during our regular business hours, Mon – Fri, 9AM-5PM. To see it, all they have to do is come in and request to view it.
The file is located in the metal drawers in the office. It is marked “WKPS Public File.” If someone asks to see it, escort him or her to the office, and open the file yourself. They will have complete access to everything in the file, so please be helpful to them. Please let the Staff Advisor know that someone is viewing the Public File as well, as they will most likely be able to help more so than yourself.
Because you are responsible for the content of your air shift, it is your responsibility to make sure that the Public File is kept for your show. If you have any questions as to what should go into the Public File from your show, ask the Operations Director or the Station Advisor.
The following section is provided for your information. Even though you will not be an air talent right away, you must, as a board operator, know what the air talent can and cannot say, and when to cut an air talent’s microphone or stop a source that offends our on-air conduct policies.
WHAT WE CAN AND CANNOT SAY ON-AIR
The FCC has strict rules and guidelines dealing with our on-air content. These rules are increasingly being enforced, even in small markets like State College.
Also keep in mind that the Officers and Trustees are most likely listening, in addition to the FCC. If their sensibilities are offended, then the station, and your job there, will be in serious jeopardy.
Study the next few pages carefully and thoroughly, as they could mean your job at The Lion 90.7fm someday.
The FCC says: “Indecency is language, or material, that, in context, depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive, as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium, sexual or excretory activities or organs.” That’s a lot of legalese. To understand it a bit better, here’s a breakdown:
Context – the manner in which the material is presented, whether or not the material is brief and isolated, and the integrity of the material. ! Patently Offensive – What at any given time will offend the average listener. This is measured by community (i.e. State College) standards, which is the standard for the entire listening area. ! Sexual or Excretory Activities or Organs – By themselves, not indecent. But inappropriate reference to these topics is what makes this material indecent. The FCC does not issue a list of “dirty words.” However, some words to avoid using are:
Prohibited Words – Fuck, Cock, Cunt, Shit, Dick, Asshole These words must never be used over the air. Serious penalties will be issued if a talent is caught using them purposely.
Unacceptable Words – Goddamn, Piss, Tits, Bastard, Bitch, Fag, Dyke, or any other derogatory term for racial, ethnic, religious, or gender groups. These should be avoided in most cases. There are exceptions, such as their relevance to the newsworthiness of a given news story, or the limited use and occurrence as song lyrics.
There have been a number of unsuccessful defenses in court of indecent material. These include humor, popularity, and lack of appeal to children, innuendo/double entendre, and surprise. Just because it’s funny doesn’t make it decent.
The FCC says: obscenity “offers no political, cultural, artistic, or social value.” Obscenity is not protected under the First Amendment, and it cannot be broadcast under any circumstances.
DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER
The FCC says: “Defamation of character is “communication which exposes a person to hatred, ridicule, or contempt, lowers him in the esteem of his fellows, causes that person to be shunned, or injures him in his business or calling.”
The two most common types of defamation of character that you’ll be hearing about are slander and libel. Libel is most often a printed defamatory statement, and slander is usually spoken or broadcast.
It is also important to note that slander is, by definition, both defamatory and untrue. If someone is defamed on the air, that person can sue you, the station, and the Board of Trustees. On top of that, the FCC can fine you, the station, and the Board of Trustees. Just remember what your Mother always used to say: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”
NAQ – NOT AIR QUALITY
“NAQ” is broadcasting shorthand for “Not Air Quality.” It refers to material that we have deemed indecent, obscene, or otherwise unfit for broadcast. You’ll usually encounter it in reference to tracks that you cannot play on any given CD in our library.NAQ material may not be broadcast under any circumstances. Penalties will arise if NAQ material is caught being played over the air.
The FCC says we are not allowed to commit “false or deceptive communication by radio.” This is called on-air hoaxing. It is illegal even in cases where the hoax is followed by a statement that reaffirms the truth.
Remember the Britney Spears / Justin Timberlake car accident hoax by those two DJs in Texas? They were fined and fired. Allow anything like that during your shift, and you will be too.
Air talent may not use the radio as your personal means of communication. This is called point-to- point communication and it is illegal. This is a public station, not your own private communication link to your friends.
“Susan my shift is almost over. Come and pick me up because it is too cold to walk home.” ” Allow a talent to do something like this, and you both will be fired.
Coded Communication is point-to-point communication that is coded and it is also illegal. If “Oh my God! Look at all of those crazy monkeys!” secretly means that “it’s too cold to walk and you need a ride from Susan,” that’s also illegal.
This doesn’t mean, however, that you or the air talent can’t call Susan yourself and ask her for a ride home. Cell phones were created for a reason, after all.
Anyone who read portions of plays, poems, or novels on the air is considered to be putting on a performance. No performance of copyrighted material may be done without the permission of the copyright holder. Other cases of copyright infringement include rebroadcast of another station’s signal, broadcasting bootlegged recordings, and rebroadcast of sound recorded from copyrighted movies or television programs.
All of the above are considered NAQ, and may not be broadcast unless written permission is supplied to the Staff Advisor and is placed into the Public File.
Payola is the receipt of money, gifts, or favors for playing recorded material over the air. It is ILLEGAL. Remember, the only things that should be aired on your air shift are programming obligations and/or content for your shift.
For example, you may not call up a pizza place and have them deliver food to the station in exchange for free plugs on the air.
“Hey, Papa John’s Pizza just delivered me a free pizza, and boy, is it delicious. Fast delivery, fresh toppings.” ” You will be promptly fired for anything like this.
The FCC says that our programming must be broadcast in “value-neutral” terms. Opinions and editorials may be broadcast, but we must allow equal time to all opposing views.
If a candidate for political office, even USG, is given airtime on our station, we must provide all opposing views an equal amount of time if so requested. Keep this in mind during political talk shows and news stories.
INVASION OF PRIVACY
It is illegal to invade someone’s privacy. A few examples of this are broadcasting unlisted phone numbers, full names, or any personal or private information about a person without permission.
An exception to this rule applies to public figures, like celebrities. They may have their privacy invaded, to a certain extent, as long as nothing defamatory is said.
STAFF MEMBERS’ PRIVACY
Do not give out personal information about other people who work at The Lion 90.7fm – over the air, in person, or even over the phone. Some people don’t appreciate job-related phone calls at home or on their cell, and most talent who broadcast using a pseudonym don’t necessarily want the general public to know their real names. Please be considerate to your fellow staff. Music directors and any staff conducting any business on behalf of the station should have call hours for labels, promoters and outside entities – for which the hours and the business line should be given out. Station related email address for such purposes should be given out.
A stop set is the point in your program when the air talent goes live on air and then run obligations such as underwriting afterwards. Run underwriting in a block format. If there is a large inventory of underwriting, particularly with spots of competing sponsors, divide the underwriting up equally between the two stop sets, as should be prescribed in the log. Make sure you run this after the air talent goes live on air, and then go back into music after the underwriting. It is usually nice to have a liner or sweeper ready at the end of your underwriting to soften the transition.
Usually, you should do two long stop sets an hour, and then do some faster speed breaks in between the two longer breaks. Generally, the air talent should talk, or you should run a sweeper/liner, every two to five songs. Mixing it up is always good so as to keep the listener guessing.
A speed break is when the air talent talks over the ramps of a song (outro-intro). This can be as simple as giving a station ID, or even talking about the bands being playing.
Station imaging is the audio that we use to identify the station. This is separate from a Legal ID, in that the FCC does not require imaging. Imaging is used to keep the station’s sound consistent. This can be anything from a liner or sweeper, to the spoken name of the station on air.
The way to identify the station is “The Lion, 90.7fm.”
The air talent should use no other way of identifying the station.
- “90.7, The Lion” > ” WRONG.
- ”90.7, WKPS, The Lion” > ” WRONG.
- “The Lion, WKPS, 90.7fm” > ” WRONG.
- ”The Lion, WKPS, in State College” > ” WRONG.
- “The Lion, 90.7fm” > ” RIGHT.
THE LION 90.7fm – OUR STATION’S NAME The LION 90.7fm is our station name. It is how you should refer to us when on the air, when answering phones, when talking to your friends about the station, or to anyone on the street. We are The LION 90.7fm.
We are The LION 90.7fm. We are NOT 90.7fm, The LION. That’s like calling you by your last name first. We are NOT WKPS to anyone but the FCC AND THE RADIO INDUSTRY. They’re the only ones who care about Call Letters. We are The LION 90.7fm.
We hope you get the point by now. Consistency is key.
LINERS AND SWEEPERS
This is the audio we use to break up the monotony of song after song after song. They can be used as a tool to transition from hard to soft, or fast to slow songs. They also serve as promotion for the station and let the listener know what they are listening to. They should be run every two to five songs. Dry liners (usually less than 10 seconds) can be played over the transition of two songs. Experimenting will allow you to figure out what sounds best.
STATION BROADCAST POLICIES
In addition to the rules that are required by the FCC for us to follow, The Lion 90.7fm has several of its own policies that we expect to be followed by all staff members.
Even though these rules may not have the legal consequences and fines that the FCC regulations do, the people you work with everyday will enforce them, in particular the Officers and staffheads.
LIVE ON-AIR CALLERS AND GUESTS
As a board operator, you are responsible for any indecent remarks made by ANYONE on-air, including callers and/or guests. You will be held responsible for any remarks made by an on-air caller or guest. If you are expecting calls and you plan on airing them live, be sure you are in Delay, and use the Delay Dump button if needed. If you expect guests, follow the same advice but also make sure they are made aware of the rules. Remember, you are signing the logs for your air-time, and are therefore responsible for what goes out over air during your time.
DECRYING THE STATION
If you or the air talent have concerns about the station’s programming or policies, don’t allow them to be mentioned over the air. People who listen to The Lion 90.7fm listen for our programming, not to hear petty bickering. The Officers have an Open Door Policy, so feel free to take up topics and concerns with them.
MISTAKES ON AIR
Although we expect a lot from you, we do not expect you to be perfect on air. However, if you make a mistake on air, or if a piece of equipment suddenly doesn’t work during your shift, do not let the air talent call attention to it on air. Calling attention to it on air is very unprofessional. Notify an Officer of any problems.
Dead air is when there is nothing being sent over the airwaves. This is usually due to human error and can be remedied easily. The best way to avoid dead air is too always be two steps ahead of what you are playing and doing in the studio. Always be thinking ahead.
STAY ON THE AIR!!
You MUST stay on the air even if the board operator, scheduled to take over for you, fails to appear for his/her shift. It doesn’t matter what prior commitment you might have (classes, meetings, etc.). The Operations Director can supply an excuse for you to show your professors.
You are not allowed to sign off the log or leave the station until another licensed operator takes over. You may not turn off the transmitter and leave.
We receive our weather information from Penn State’s Campus Weather Service. A link is provided for the Campus Weather Service’s current forecast on the Surfer computer in the on-air studio.
If there is no forecast or if the CWS server is down when you begin your shift, you should call the Campus Weather Service’s weather line and write down what you hear. The number for this line is 865-2345. It is also posted on the Surfer computer inside the Control room. If your replacement doesn’t show up, you can refer to the scheduling chart on the wall of the studio to contact him or her. You may also want to try other licensed members of your staff. In any case, always notify your staffhead and the Programming Director. Contact the Officers only as a last resort.
If the number does not work, accuweather.com or weather.com should be used as alternate forecast sources. ALWAYS cite the source of your weather either before and/or after reading it on air.
The studio phone number is 865-9577, otherwise known as 865-WKPS for those numerically challenged DJ’s. This is what we use for requests, giveaways, et al. This is the only number that may be given over the air for these purposes! Never give it out for business purposes.
The office line is 865-7983. Only give out this number for business purposes. Again, do not give out staff members’ information under any circumstances! Write down a message and put it in that person’s respective staff mailbox.
Because of recurring problems with abuse of headphones, all staff members are required to bring their own headphones. There may or may not be headphones available to you in the studio, but bringing your own headphones will ensure that you always have a working pair to use for your air shift. (Bring a 1⁄4 inch stereo adaptor to your 8th inch headphone jack if necessary.)
Both the outer door and studio door are to be kept closed AT ALL TIMES! In addition to having a large investment of equipment and CDs, the studio door should be kept closed to keep outside sound from filtering into the studio, especially when mics are live. There is an on-air light installed next to the studio door to signal if a mic is on, warning anyone not to enter until it is off.
RECORDING YOUR SHIFT
Our policy here at The Lion 90.7fm requires you to record every second of your shift. You must keep each recording for at least two (2) weeks after your shift. As a back-up recording to the skimmer-logger recording, this recording will serve two purposes:
1) first it can be used as evidence should the FCC attempt to fine us for complaints of indecent material being broadcast, in case our skimmer/logger is not working. 2) It is your personal copy of your broadcast that you should listen to and with which critique yourself, or produce on demand so that advisors/officers/staffheads can critique you. If the Staff Advisor, and any Officer or staffhead asks you for a recording of your shift, you must produce it within 24 hours.
You can record it digitally a few different ways. You can set your home computer or laptop to the station’s webcast and record the webstream with a sound editing program or a streamripper program. “Audacity” is a freeware sound editing program you can download and so is “Streamripper”, which works as a plug-in for Winamp.
This binder will be located in the Studio. It contains the same step-by-step instructions that can be found in the Appendices of this manual. It’s a handy reference for solutions to problems that may arise during a shift.
However, it is not a replacement for the knowledge that you should have already. The point is not to use it unless absolutely necessary.
TURNING ON THE TRANSMITTER
There are two situations where you should have to turn on the transmitter:
- Beginning of the Broadcast DayIf the transmitter is not on when you arrive, or if the log denotes a “Beginning Of Broadcast Day” in your obligations.
- Restoration of Power After an OutageIf power was lost and the transmitter has been turned off. When power is restored, you must turn the transmitter back on manually. In both cases, a Legal ID MUST be played IMMEDIATELY following the powering of the transmitter.
TURNING OFF THE TRANSMITTER
There are only three situations where you may turn off the transmitter:
- End of the Broadcast Day: This only applies if the log denotes an “End Of Broadcast Day” in your obligations and there is no automation available.
- Power Outage: If the power goes out, our phone systems will stop working. To turn off the transmitter, use the phone hanging on the studio wall to turn off the transmitter. Inform the Operations Director, the Station Manager, and the Staff Advisor of the situation.
- Grave Danger: If an EAS message makes it clear that you are in real danger and you have to evacuate the area, play the EAS message, and then turn off the transmitter. The procedure of the transmitter operation will be detailed in the Policy Book and are written in the log.
ARRIVING FOR YOUR SHIFT
There are a few things that you must do at the beginning of every air shift:
- Arrive at least ten (10) minutes before you are scheduled to go on the air. This will give you time to prepare and you won’t need to rush.
- Let the current board operator know that you’ve arrived. Do this before you gather your materials that you’ll need for your shift.
- Notify the previous DJ by phone if you are running late, and tell him your on-air name.
- Check the large bulletin board in the office and the signs posted on the walls of the studio to keep yourself up to date on what is happening at The Lion 90.7fm.
- Be sure to sign in, and make sure that the previous board operator has signed out.
- If you take over at the top of the hour, be sure to have the air talent read, or play, a Legal ID. (WKPS, State College…. Just in case you forgot.)
- If you’ll be taking live calls during your shift, make sure you are in Delay. ! Make sure to take your meter readings.
- Check for any EAS alerts that may have come through. If the previous board operator is there, make sure that he signs for them.
ABSOLUTELY make sure no food drink gets anywhere near any equipment. Also make sure you’ve refilled CDs, put away anything you’ve used, and cleaned up newspapers or anything lying around when you’re done. Leave the studio cleaner than you found it.
You will not these for your test, but will need them to be successful on The Lion 90.7fm.
Attitude: A measure of success. Have a good one, and the sky is the limit, no matter what you do in life. Have a bad one, and it’ll show in all you do. If yours is bad, we’ll also show you the door pretty quickly.
BEFORE YOU GO ON AIR
The LION 90.7fm is a more unique experience than any other student club, as it is capable of reaching the entire Penn State community 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The success of the station lies on those that present The LION 90.7fm to the listeners at Penn State. It is vital that everyone on the air knows what they’re doing, and does it well, or the entire station suffers.
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Don’t be a weak link.
The following is a short overview of what goes into the best shows. Again, use this section as a guideline, and learn from your fellow members.
LISTEN TO THE STATION
This is probably the most important part of starting as an air talent. You must know your station to be able to speak knowledgably about it, and to know your station, you must listen to your station.
Before you say one word on the air, you should listen to the station. Listen to at least part of all of the different programs available, and acquaint yourself with how the station as a whole presents itself.
Learn about the other programs, how they describe themselves, and how the station presents contests, promotions, and various other on-air events.
This will give you a better idea of how things are done at The LION 90.7fm, and how you and your personality will fit into the station.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Radio is much like giving a speech. If you are able to present yourself and your message in a way that your audience will be receptive to it, your message will be heard best. Our audience, at all times, is a Penn State undergraduate student.
When you speak on the air, when you present anything on the air, your message should be presented as you would to any other lone Penn State undergraduate student. Some people visualize this as a person they know, some of them make up a fictitious Penn State student, give them a name, and so on. If you have to go to these lengths, do it. It may help.
Always remember to tailor your message, every time you present on the air, to a Penn State student.
“Show prep” is short for “show preparation”. Radio is just like any other form of performance: if you’re not prepared for your performance, you won’t perform well.
The LION 90.7fm has some very highly-rated shows, with a high number of listeners, run by some of our best personalities. These personalities often prepare their shows in advance, and know what they’re going to do during each part of their show. Because they are prepared, all they have to do is execute their plan.
Doing the show is only one-quarter of a great show; planning is the rest.
These personalities know who their listeners are, are able to relate to their listeners, and present music and topics that are relevant to their listeners.
Being RELEVANT to your listeners is the key. If they don’t care, they’ll stop listening to you. Obviously, that’s a bad thing.
Between TV and the internet, there are hundreds upon thousands of places to get up-to-date, relevant news. Not just music news, but campus news, lifestyle news, sports news, topics for discussion or phone polls, anything of interest to your listeners.
Find out from some of the best personalities how they do their show prep, and learn from them how to prepare for your show. Take pride in your show, and help to make it the best it can possibly be.
The air talent may talk about anything within FCC regulations. This is the beauty of student radio! It is easiest to figure what you are going to talk about before you go on air, and maybe even rehearse it a little bit before you go on air. Do everything you can to sound tight. This may even involve writing down your entire stop set! (Don’t sound like you are reading for obvious reasons.)
The LION 90.7fm relies on strong management to ensure that Penn State’s student radio station is the best possible media outlet available at Penn State.
The LION 90.7fm serve the students and student organizations of Penn State University, and sufficiently show that they are serving the student community at Penn State.
The Penn State University Board of Trustees, which hold the FCC license for The LION 90.7fm. If the Board of Trustees does not approve of the operations of The LION, they may take away the right to use the license. The LION 90.7fm, as a University-affiliated club, is required to have a Faculty Advisor. They are a faculty member of the University, but are not paid for their advising duties. They are responsible with advising the Officers and members of the station.
The Faculty Advisor may have (an) Associate Advisor(s), to assist the Officers in daily operations, to advise the staff and Officers, and to represent The LION in general University matters. The chief faculty advisor of the station was Robert Zimmerman, until his recent passing this past January. A new advisor is being selected.
There are five Officers, all undergraduate students, elected by the staff at large. The Officers are not paid employees of the University, and nor is anyone working in a volunteer advisory capacity, and presently receive no compensation for the work they do for the station.
The President/General Manager oversees all operations, and represents the station in meetings with the University and in the community. (This position is equivalent to any other club’s President.)
The Vice President oversees the Promotions department, and represents the station where the General Manager is unable.
The Program Director is responsible for the quality of and decisions affecting the on-air content on The LION 90.7fm. The Program Director oversees all Programming staff, including the Staffheads and all air talent and Production staff. He is ultimately responsible for all air-staff and board-op personnel.
The Financial Director is responsible for overseeing all funding, provided either by the University, or through underwriting. He tracks all money coming in and expenditures going out, like an accountant.
The Operations Director is responsible for the maintenance and upgrades of the station’s equipment and facilities.
The Officers select members from the staff to serve as:
Sales Director – The Sales Director works to maintain relationships with our underwriting sponsors, and to get new underwriting business for The LION 90.7fm. The Sales Manager directs the Sales staff, and reports to the Financial Manager.
Production Director – The Production Director is responsible for producing underwriting spots, promos, PSAs, and station imaging. The Production Director manages the Production staff, and reports to the Program Director.
Marketing Director – The Marketing Director is responsible for planning and executing of promotional events. The Promotions Director manages the Promotion staff (Street Team), and reports to the Vice President.
Each air staff has a Staffhead. The Staffheads are usually veteran personalities, and know the station well. Each Staffhead is elected by the members of their particular staff, and they are responsible for managing their staff, as well as providing guidance and direction to their staffs and their programming.
The Staffhead is also responsible for helping in the training of new members, and for scheduling air talent for shows, and providing the program director with a roster of weekly air shifts.
The Staffheads will be your direct supervisors as a new member of The LION 90.7fm. They will be able to teach you as much as the Officers. They also serve as the liason between the staff and officers. We encourage you to learn all you can from not just your Staffhead, but also the other Staffheads you get to know.
As a member of The LION 90.7fm, you will be a member of a specific staff. Each staff is a small part of the organization, and each is vital to the operation of the station as a whole.
There are four types of staffs: Promotions, Production, Sales, and Programming. All of the on-air staff (staffs that perform programs on the air) are part of the Programming staff, but are divided into the individual shows that are on the daily programming schedule.
Each staff has a Student Manager. The Promotions Director manages the Promotions staff, the Production Director manages the Production staff, the Sales Manager manages the Sales staff, and each on-air staff has a Staffhead that manages that particular on-air staff.
All of these staffs are overseen and governed ultimately by the Officers.
It is when all of these staffs come together and function as a complete unit that The LION 90.7fm really shines. As a member, regardless of what staff you are a part of, you should work with and cooperate with all of the other members of all of the other staffs, not just to keep the station operating at its peak, but also to learn all that you can from everyone.
It’s true, people have broken, and will break, rules from time to time, whether it is intentional on not. Usually in minor cases, a staffhead or an Officer will simply issue a warning and explain the board operator’s mistake.
You must adhere to the following rules:
- Missing an on-air shift without first finding a replacement.
- Having food or drink in the on-air studio or production studio.
- Failing to produce a tape or digital recording of your shift when requested.
- Any other serious violation of The Lion 90.7fm or FCC rules, at the Officer’s discretion.
There will be at least two mandatory “All-Station” meetings per semester. However, it is understood that some things may come up. If this is the case and you can’t attend the meeting, inform an officer and be prepared to have an extremely good reason for not being able to attend. This must be done well in advance.
There is a staffhead meeting held every two to four weeks. All staffheads are expected to attend and any staff member is welcome to come. Meetings are generally announced one to two weeks ahead of time. Officers meet every week.
Because The Lion 90.7fm is still a club, we are required you to pay dues as a university- affiliated club. At present, the dues are $20 per year (this may vary). These must be paid to the Financial Director by a stated deadline. This will be communicated to you by your staffheads or officers directly.
The Lion 90.7fm is generally off the air during semester breaks. These are Thanksgiving break, Spring Break, and the breaks between the Fall and Spring semesters and the Summer sessions. We usually run on a reduced staff during the summer sessions.
We do broadcast during the first and last week of classes, and we usually broadcast during Finals week. It is your responsibility to find out what our programming hours will be at any given time.
Beginning your Air-shift:
-Arrive for your shift at least 15 minutes early so you can prepare for your program.
-Call the studio ahead of time notifying the previous joc if you are running late, or if the joc is not expecting you or anyone to be coming is, such as if there is no one scheduled. Likewise notify the previous joc if you are NOT coming in.
-If you are a DJ / On-air personality, tell him/her your on-air name so he/she can announce if/when you are coming on for your show, or if you are not coming in.
-Bring your own headphone set, (with an 8th —> quarter inch adaptor if necessary). -Music shows: Select your music beforehand that you wish to start with.
-Cue up the top-of-the-hour stop-set if it’s not ready, and fire it off ON TIME. -Make sure the Legal ID and the SBS Underwriting / Weather bed are included.
-Normalize the sound board: make sure the red Program buttons are pressed ON for each channel on the board. Remember the Program Output Bus sends the signal from any given channel to the transmitter.
-Refresh the Audio database on the Live-Assist Computer iMedia Pix. -Music shows: Cue up your music while the break is running. -Sign-In on the log.
-At the beginning, either after reading the weather report or after playing a specialized show intro, introduce yourself (on-air name), and the upcoming show and what you will feature. Remember to announce the studio phone line for requests or call-ins (when applicable).
-At some point within your shift, preferably at the beginning, take transmitter readings and log the information along with the time.
Completing your Air-shift:
-Call the next joc due in after your shift if he/she has not arrived on time and you have not yet heard from them. Their number is located on the on-air shift chart.
-Cue up the top-of-the-hour stop-set for the next on-air staffer as a courtesy, unless he/she insists on selecting the carts him/herself.
-Announce if the next air-staff member / DJ is not coming in. If the format of the subsequent program is not automated, then also announce that that show will not be heard.
-When reverting to automation after your show, simply announce beforehand “stay tuned for more great music on The LION 90.7”. Do NOT say “automation”, or “automated programming”.
-If the next staff member is not coming, or there is no one due in, end your program by/before the top of the hour. Pay attention to the automation computer screen and follow the progress of the carts, and also listen in cue to what is playing in automation.
-If your live program or final song ends just before the last song in automation ends (prior to the automated top-of-the-hour stop-set), ALWAYS transition with a liner / sweeper of some type. Don’t just pot up the automation channel without transitioning first!
-If your last song or program runs slightly over the top of the hour, and the automation has already played the Legal ID before you pot it up, then YOU MUST manually play it yourself. Don’t just pot up automation without making sure the Legal ID was or will be aired. We are legally obligated to air the Legal ID at the top of EVERY hour.
-The best thing to do is to manually execute the top-of-the-hour stop-set, including the SBS / Weather spot, and read the Campus weather forecast, and then announce what’s coming up next.
-Make sure you properly and thoroughly completed filling out the log, and Sign Out on the log. This is the last thing you should do.
How can the general public and business world contact The LION 90.7fm?
Studio Request / Call-In Line: 865-WKPS (9577)
Office Line: 865-7983
These are the ONLY phone lines to be given out to the general public. Do not give out the studio line for business purposes, such as to record labels and promoters for music tracking, and for otherwise all office work.
When callers ask for the “Program director” or “Music director”, they are usually a record label or promoter seeking to send us some piece of music. Ask if this is the case, and if so, what format/style/genre of music they are trying to send us. Give them the name and email address of the current appropriate staffhead or music director of the staff to which this music belongs. Do NOT give out our staff members’ personal phone numbers, just their weekly office call-hours, names & emails. If such a call comes in on the studio line, inform the caller(s) to redirect all such correspondence to the business office line.
When mailing us any material, our correct address to which anyone should label their package is:
The LION 90.7FM, ATTN: – (name of service / program or music genre) 125 HUB-Robeson Center University Park, PA 16802-6600
If they are not sending us music pertaining to a specific music staff, then mail should be labeled ATTN: Program director, Engineering, Sales/underwriting, Public Service director, News, Sports, Public Affairs, Webmaster, etc. (whichever is applicable).
When giving out our mailing address, EMPHASIZE that they must describe the program, position, or function to which their intended mail belongs, and not simply address it to the name of the person currently in the position. This is because there is a lot of incoming mail still addressed to many names of people who are no longer with the station, and current and future staffers have no idea to whom it belongs. So to stop this trend, please inform all outside contacts to send to the correct staff / position.