wqri

The WQRI transmitter atop Maple Hall is due for an upgrade. 

A bill was unanimously passed through the Student Senate on Nov. 4 to get a new transmitter for WQRI. This is a critical purchase that will allow the student-run radio station to continue functioning. 

WQRI 88.3 FM is an organization that allows for a variety of student voices to be heard, spreading across the community both on and off campus. Without a new transmitter, the ability for WQRI to continue to broadcast is threatened.

“Without the transmitter, there is no WQRI,” said Chris Belmonte, WQRI co-program director.

The current transmitter was installed in 2001 and has greatly exceeded its seven to 10 year life expectancy, calling for the necessity of its replacement in order for WQRI to be able to continue broadcasting. While certain parts have been replaced, it is to the point now where it is more cost effective, beneficial and necessary to replace the entire transmitter.

The transmitter will be paid for through the Student Senate reserve account, and funds of $15,000 will be allocated for the purchase. As explained by senior Student Body President Christopher Costa, the reserve account essentially contains all of the money left over in Senate’s budget after each year. These funds are then used for big purchases such as new Senate vans or in this instance, a transmitter. These funds do not affect any other club or organization on campus.

“The thing about the reserve account, it’s a completely separate account from Senate's budget this year. So let’s say if we were to allocate money to buy the transmitter, it wouldn’t affect us giving money for clubs to put on different events,” Costa said.

WQRI members brought extensive research to their weekly meeting with Student Senate, in order to request help with the purchase of a new transmitter. 

The first step in the process to use the reserve account is to notify the entire student body, which Student Senate did through a campus-wide email explaining the bill on Oct. 29. They then officially introduce the bill, debate and vote on it. The bill was officially voted for on Monday, Nov. 4 when it passed unanimously. 

“I definitely think that it's important for WQRI to have this. We want to be able to support all of our [organizations] and make sure that they are able to do everything they want to do,” Costa said. 

The students of WQRI, Staff Advisor Carol Sacchetti and engineer Dave Doherty, who installs, maintains and checks the transmitter, all provided important research and insight to determine not only the necessary course of action but the best and most cost-efficient transmitter. Doherty will be the one to professionally install the new transmitter.

Senior Alex Bowden, co-general manager of WQRI, also explained how the radio station is dealing with the Federal Communications Commission, a government agency that has the ability to fine or shut down the station if things such as its transmitter are not kept up to par. He described how crucial it is to keep the organization running on campus.

“This is an important place for people to learn how to develop their voice, their individuality and also spread it on the level that the community can listen to,” Bowden said. 

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