Osprey Radio struggles to get on the air


Most students probably don’t realize, but we do have an on-campus radio station. It’s staffed and has a tech-savvy, brand new DJ room and news office. But the reason you don’t know Osprey Radio is because they are not streaming on air.

Osprey Radio is one of many college radio stations forced to stream on the web only, but John Timpe, adviser for Center for Student Media, hopes to see the radio station on air soon.

They have contacted the university lobbyist in Tallahassee, Janet Owen. But because this issue isn’t prominent enough in the UNF community, it’s a David vs. Goliath fight.

To get on air, Osprey Radio needs a low-power FM radio license. Sen. John McCain is in support of a bill (HR 1147) in the Senate now which allows for college radio stations to get on the air easier; the bill essentially opens up more spots on the dial.

If this bill is passed, Osprey Radio would need to be ready to apply and attain the license, before the airwaves get filled up in Jacksonville with others trying to take advantage of a new chance to get their voice heard.

To get on the air means students have an opportunity to enjoy listening to near nonstop music. It will also give students a chance to call in and win free tickets to concerts and movie premieres.

After the death of Planet Radio (107.3), the only near-alternative station in Jacksonville is102.9 The Point. Osprey Radio has an opportunity to attract many listeners tired of corporate-controlled radio.

Another reason to justify the low-power FM station is it can be a lifesaver during an emergency. During Hurricane Katrina, the Houston government workers relied on small low-power FM stations to get important information to the victims, because the larger stations were knocked out by the storm. This UNF station could be a lifesaver during many seasonal storms mother nature throws at us.

Some UNF administrators in Student Affairs may feel that our station needs to learn to walk before it can run. Even the station manager, Nadine Robertson, seems reluctant to fight for an on-air station.

Robertson sees the acquisition of such as a station as a small part of Osprey Radio’s future but little does she know, the only way to make money and begin sustaining yourself more independent of student funding is through an on-air station.

Last year, Osprey Radio attempted to host a 12-hour concert series, but “Osprey Failstock” was just noisy clatter that bored the students and Spinnaker staff even more.

The station should be using their minimal resources in accomplishing long-term goals instead of short-term games. If Robertson cares about the radio station’s long-term goals, she would show a greater interest in pressing for the on-air station.

Robertson needs to take the reigns and lead. Though networking inside UNF is great, without a true medium, the station will never earn the respect it deserves.

No matter how many shows our station prerecords, it cannot serve without an audience.

Of course one option, the station and Timpe can only hope for is having an already working radio station donated to the station. This will allow for the station to get the largest possible audience and the greatest effect.

This editorial isn’t meant to criticize Osprey Radio, but the mistakes its leader is making could be harmful for the future of the station and for the Center for Student Media.

So if you want to be swooping to air waves of Osprey Radio, call your senator Bill Nelson at 202-224-5274 and put his feet to the fire on HR 1147, Local Community Radio Act. But more importantly call Station Manager Nadine Robertson 904-620-1555 and ask her what she is and more importantly isn’t doing to get on the air.