3 Things I Learned from a Public Radio Field Trip to WFAE

This was an amazing field trip. Unique in its own way, it was much different from other radio station field trips we have taken.

The staff at WFAE were accommodating, informative, and took their time explaining their jobs and how things work.

The tour included the newsroom and studios with a demonstration of the equipment used in broadcasting.

Here are 3 things I didn’t know about public radio:

1–Stations below #92 on the radio dial are all non-profit/non-commercial stations.

Makes sense, right? (Think of all those road trips when you were channel surfing.)

WFAE Field Trip

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WFAE Field Trip

WFAE Field Trip

Watching a broadcast on WFAE

2–Radio stations that start with a “K” originate in the midwest or west coast, while radio stations that begin with a “W” originate on the east coast.

Our local Christian radio station WRCM 91.9 was recently bought out by a radio station out of Denver, Colorado and it now starts with a K; KLove.

WFAE radio station field trip

Tena Simmons is Assistant Program Director and midday announcer

3– Many people who got their start in broadcasting here came into it by accident, luck, or chance.

One employee came straight out of the military.  Another we spoke to decided to be a part of the station as a second career. That deep, rich voice that gives the weather and news updates on WFAE is this beautiful woman, Tena Simmons.  Now that we have met her, my kids and I identify her voice right away when listening to WFAE.  She came into public radio as a part time job many years ago.

WFAE Field Trip

WFAE Field Trip

Jobie Sprinkle is Chief Engineer

Much of the content from NPR (National Public Radio) is handled almost single handedly by Jobie Sprinkle.

All of that equipment he is showing us brings content from Washington DC and all over the country into your cars and homes.  He taught us about Neilson ratings and how a sample size from the audience determines listener estimates.

It was interesting to learn how WFAE got its start at a local university, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where I received my college degree. It began in the basement of the Cone Center and in addition to NPR content, they played jazz almost all day.  I remember listening to jazz while cruising the radio stations while I attended college.

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We are grateful to Eric Calloway, Membership Projects Officer, who took the time to show us around and teach us the ins and outs of working for a radio station.  He did a wonderful job. Not only was he informative about WFAE but we also learned that he is a homeschool graduate! Being able to see the ‘insides’ of WFAE has opened up doors and sparked interest in broadcasting as a possible college major for the kids.

We are grateful for the opportunity. Thanks WFAE and Renee Rallos for setting it up!

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