It was just a few minutes before seven o’ clock Wednesday night.
I was in my office at Lander University and could easily hear the buzz of excitement from the classroom down the hallway as students, many of them freshmen, were talking with one another while waiting for our meeting to begin. The classroom was full. Everyone was gathered here for the first interest meeting of a new semester in hopes of landing a spot on our campus radio station — XLR Lander University Radio.
For the past 10 years, we’ve had this same meeting each new semester and as general manager for XLR, it’s always a pleasure for me to see new faces and watch them as they begin their foray into broadcasting.
I attended a similar meeting in 1986 when I first stepped foot on a college campus. College radio was a place where I found a home. Fellow student DJs became lifelong friends. I learned how to cue up records and pronounce difficult names. It was a safe environment where you could make a mistake or two without getting fired. It prepared me for my career and it was a lot of fun. Now, year after year, I get the sheer joy of watching students experience the same thing.
And, it wasn’t me who was leading the meeting Wednesday.
While I serve as GM, our radio station is run quite efficiently by our Lander students. Hannah Gallant is our program director. She is a senior Mass Communication and Media Studies major from Williamston. She gave a polished professional presentation on Wednesday with confidence and grace. Gallant came into our program after serving as program director for her high school radio station — WPPB “The Pulse,” which is run out of the Anderson Career and Technology Center under the direction of John Boone. WPPB was recently named the best high school radio station in the country at the IBS awards in New York City.
Gallant is a force. She has hosted her own radio shows on our station since the first semester of her freshmen year. She provides voice over work and you can hear her on commercials for Sunny 103.5FM. She records radio commercials for Lander University which air on stations around the state of South Carolina and she does all of this while working hard both in the classroom and at her job at Ulta Beauty. Gallant is writing her own ticket to success with hard work and determination. She never backs down from a challenge and she brings others along mentoring younger students and grooming them to have the skills to eventually take over her position.
Hannah, our other student leaders, and more than 100 student DJs continue a long line of success for our campus radio station. For some, it has been a training ground for successful broadcasting careers. Barbie T, heard each morning on Greenville’s Hot 98.1 learned the ropes hosting her show on XLR. Brooke Taylor, heard afternoons on Chicago’s Big 95.5FM and on Baltimore’s 93.1 WPOC did the morning sports report on our station and hosted an afternoon show once a week. We have many more success stories.
For others, it is a place to gain confidence in public speaking or an outlet to get away from classes for an hour a week and to share their music with our campus and our listeners around the world. XLR is on 24 hours a day, seven days a week with a wide variety of musical genres.
While you may not be able to tune us in on your car radio, just know that we are on the air. You can listen at www.xlr1.org or on the free RadioFX app.