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The University of Texas at San Antonio Online Magazine

Getting Rowdy on the Airwaves

A pair of organizations are helping students to expand their journalistic chops—and entertain fellow Roadrunners at the same time

By Bonny Osterhage

UTSA students are getting their voices heard, thanks to two broadcasting organizations that allow them to learn the ins and outs of the radio and television industries, all while also providing entertainment and information to the UTSA community.

Rowdy Radio provides students with a platform where they can express themselves via webcasting, podcasting, blogging, playlist streaming, and more, as they learn the technical aspects of the business. “We want our students to experience all of the outside world skills associated with this industry,” says Elora Ballejos, who serves as director of membership.

Although it now broadcasts a handful of shows each day, Rowdy Radio got off to a shaky start in 2014, due to the lack of a faculty adviser, lack of studio space, and some serious funding issues. Undeterred, students succeeded in not only securing Stan Renard, an assistant professor of music marketing, as their adviser but also finding a workspace. Creative fundraising efforts in the form of benefit mixers, music festivals, and DJs for hire have helped to offset some of the costs of new equipment, but the expenses don’t stop there. “Most radio stations tend to fail because they have expensive operational costs, including all the blanket licenses and software licenses that they need to pay to be allowed to operate and stream musical content,” Renard explains, adding that the group also used a crowdfunding campaign on Launch UTSA.

As Rowdy Radio continues to grow, Renard says he would like to see the programming move toward more hosted shows as well as journalism and interview-oriented broadcasts that feature stories about UTSA. “The organization wishes to become an information source for the community,” he says, applauding the students for what they have been able to accomplish in just over a year. “This is truly an incredible group of students who work countless hours for their organization because they believe in it and love it.”

One of those students, Darryl Sherrod, took UTSA student broadcasting a step further when he, along with fellow student Blair Pan, founded Rowdy TV in April 2015. Filming began in November with a plan to unveil three pilot shows for this semester. The planned shows are Rowdy Roundtable, covering celebrity gossip and pop culture; The Roadrunner Report, a serious news and events show; and sports talk show In the Film Room.

“For the following fall semester we will work on bettering ourselves within these three shows before branching out,” says Sherrod, adding that plans for a hip-hop show and a Saturday Night Live–style format are also in the works.

Unlike Rowdy Radio, Rowdy TV began with an adviser in place, communications associate professor Seok Kang. But even with that advantage, Rowdy TV faced some of the same challenges as its radio counterpart in terms of funding and space. The group spent a large part of 2015 looking for a studio and equipment before finally obtaining access to a studio in the modern languages department. As for funding, membership dues and fundraisers have been the only sources of income. But the group’s finance committee is working to acquire additional backing through donations, according to Sherrod.

Both organizations welcome any student who is interested in participating, and being a communication major isn’t a prerequisite. “We’re looking for males, females, freshman to seniors, all majors, and people from various backgrounds to have the best blend possible,” describes Sherrod.

Renard agrees: “I want to see students who have all sorts of interests and skill sets have an avenue to express themselves.”


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