At 88.7 WNHU, find your next passion project

“To know where we are going, you have to know where we have been,” said Bruce Barber, WNHU general manager, on the importance of radio and audio production at the University of New Haven.

88.7 WNHU––the university’s radio station —is one of the university’s best-kept secrets, but anyone can be a part of this hidden gem. Podcasts, broadcasts and customizable projects allow students to tailor their work to their passions and even fulfill curriculum requirements.

As general manager, Barber offers mentorship to students with his 43-year career experience as a radio personality. Many people within the greater New Haven area know him from the WPLR “Smith & Barber The Morning Show,” which ran from 1985 to 2003.

“Our main goal is just to benefit our students, whether it is just providing them with a fun opportunity or a chance to explore the podcast broadcast mediums, or get experience that could help them eventually get a job,” said Barber.

Students can get involved in WNHU in any way imaginable: passion projects, podcast production, broadcasting on the 88.7 f.m. stream, selecting music for the stream, website operation or even independent studies. There is also potential for paid positions; if a student has shown initiative, has worked on the station in the past and there is a legitimate need, there can be paid positions created.

Amy Suraci, station manager and senior music industry major, attested to her own growth within the station. She started at WNHU her first year at the university by joining the promotions committee. This committee played music at events on campus and advertised the station on social media. The following year Suraci was hired as the assistant promotions director and has been station manager for two years now.

With all of these positions, she has hosted a number of radio shows, including two solo shows, “Wednesday One-Play” and “6 O’Clock Throwback Block.”

What makes the station so special, according to Suraci, is “the creativity and dedication of the students that make WNHU feel like a family.”

She also credited Barber’s leadership, saying that “he has made WNHU a welcoming and safe space for students to share their ideas.”

The 88.7 stream hosts community shows on the weekends—such as polka, Irish and Italian—but plays fully student-curated music on weekdays; no music is over 10 years old. Members of the music committee select new songs every week to keep the stream up-to-date and modern.

Fostering growth and education, WNHU is also partnering with the new-and-improved UNIV 1114 course to create a series of productions on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.

Patrick McGrady, associate professor of sociology at the university, and Syd Myers, a junior homeland security and emergency management student and teaching assistant for the course, are spearheading this initiative.

Meyers, as the sole teaching assistant, hosts “The Grey Area” podcast––for conversations that are not just black and white––from the WNHU 2 studio. The show is used as a teaching aid in conjunction with McGrady’s curriculum.

“Students are often taught that if they are good at public speaking and writing papers, they are good at communicating; however, they often forget about the active listening side to communication,” said Meyers. “With podcasting, it is very important to listen to the guests and hosts and respond rather than trying to think of the next thing to say.”

According to Meyers, podcasts are the perfect medium for developing these skills because students are required to actively listen. It encourages students to digest the material at their leisure: on their commute, at the gym or going for a walk.

This type of content is exactly what Barber envisions for the future of WNHU.

“Since we have this ability to speak to people via the radio station and via our podcast page on our website, what I am trying to get our students to think about is creating meaningful content,” he said.

“Creating programming that speaks to the awareness we are having about inequality and social justice and in addition to having a great educational experience and a great extracurricular opportunity, but to do things that are positive and can change the world.”