Catawba’s vision for WSTP

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 27, 2015

The end of Howard and Kent’s morning show isn’t the only change for WSTP-AM 1490.

The station, which was sold to the Catawba College Foundation in August, will have a unique partnership with Catawba College.

“The college marrying local radio is a great thing for the community, a great thing for the radio and a great thing for Catawba,” said Bill Graham, a 1983 Catawba alumnus and current trustee.

Not only will the station’s profits be donated to the college through the Catawba Foundation, it will be an integral piece of the college’s sport communication program.

WSTP, along with another station – WSAT, was purchased with the intention of developing an internship program for Catawba College students studying sports communication.

“It will be a training ground for all our students who want to pursue this as a major or minor,” said Tonia Black-Gold, communications officer for Catawba College.

Students will have the opportunity to learn all facets of radio, including programming, marketing, production, script writing, reporting and advertising.

Graham said there are currently three or four interns working with WSAT, but he hopes to see the program grown into the double digits before too long.

There will still be regular staff members who work at the station, and student involvement will be dictated by the academic calendar and process, he added.

As students progress in their classes and gain experience, they will have more opportunities to get involved with the station and to gain ”real world work experience,” Graham said.

Students will also contribute to the station’s content and ability to offer hyper-localized news, political and sports coverage.

Although the station will undergo some formatting and programming changes, the purchase will allow WSTP to stay on air and provide that local content that makes a local radio station special.

Graham declined to discuss these changes until after the FCC formally approves the license transfer in the coming weeks.

It’s a “great opportunity to keep local radio alive” and to “enhance Catawba’s footprint in community,” Graham said.