CRYSTAL LAKE – What multiple groups of students could not accomplish in two years, Toni Ehredt made a reality in four months.
Ehredt is the lone personality on the newly launched MCC Student Radio that started broadcasting taped programs in the student cafeteria in April. The McHenry native was the catalyst to launching the station after the group of five students she joined in January dwindled because of other activities and interests that led them to leave.
Other attempts in the past two years also failed to come to fruition.
“Sometimes when people can’t see or touch something they don’t believe it can become reality,” Ehredt said. “I knew if I could just get it off the ground it would have a chance to flourish. It can be a great opportunity for students.”
The graphic design student always has been active in student life as a member of the College Activities Board, Down to Earth and other organizations. When she saw the flier in January asking for students interested in radio she jumped at the chance.
“I really love music and creating new things,” Ehredt said. “This is a way for students to get their feet wet and see if an interest becomes a passion. These experiences can be the most valuable sometimes.”
The station is off to a modest start with Ehredt using her own equipment to broadcast a pre-recorded program featuring popular music and public service announcements to students in the cafeteria.
But as she closes in on finishing her last year, she has already laid the foundation to make sure the station grows when she leaves.
More than 30 students have already approached her during her broadcasts expressing interest in joining and supporting the station. Faculty member Jim Stockwell – who helped Ehredt throughout the process – also is working on making sure the station can be listened to online by the beginning of the fall semester.
Ehredt also has reached out to the athletic department about doing broadcasts of sporting games and to The Tartan student newspaper about providing special news segments. Eventually, she said the station could be a mix of music, sports and news with a variety of student disc jockeys.
The student senate has already committed money to purchasing needed equipment for the station next year. One digital media class is also set to make an app for the station next spring.
Potential relationships and internships with local stations such as STAR 105.5 are also possible, she said.
Stockwell, an adjunct journalism instructor who has also taught broadcast in the past, said Ehredt’s work and commitment would lead to a revival in the student interest for broadcasting and radio.
With the opportunity to broadcast anything from live sports to hosting an original music program, students with a variety of interests can find something to enjoy in broadcast, he said.
“It is something we have been wanting for a while and there is definitely a need for it,” Stockwell said. “The faculty, students and administrators we have talked to are all in our corner. Now it’s just a matter of getting everyone to know it’s out there.”
More information about the station can be found at www.mchenry.edu/msr.