The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

WQFS: the club that rocks


At Guilford College, you can join a club that plays sports, plays video games, or plays politics. Thanks to WQFS, you can also join a club that plays music. WQFS is a radio station that broadcasts on the 90.9 FM frequency. The D.J.s there play a variety of independent music and left-wing newscasts during two-hour radio shows.

The station focuses on small, independent labels that receive little to no recognition on commercial stations.

“Playing alternative music that is not likely to be heard on commercial stations is of great benefit to the many musicians who are not part of the corporate structure, and to listeners who seek to hear a broad range of music,” said Psychology professor and Communications concentration coordinator Richie Zweigenhaft in an e-mail.

The relaxed, student-run atmosphere is what makes WQFS so unique. It is the number one reason Princeton Review consistently ranks the station among the top ten college stations in the country.

Former D.J. and general manager Dan Thigpen exemplified that laid-back atmosphere. He is a fifth-year senior with four years of experience at the station.

“There were times when I put something on that I never heard, took it off half-way through, and apologized to the listeners for playing something so awful,” said Thigpen.

In addition to the informal atmosphere, WQFS is unique because of the sense of community it creates and maintains with the greater Greensboro area. It does this by promoting local bands and using several community DJs – people who work for the station but do not attend the college.

“I think WQFS is a big part of the Guilford and the Greensboro community, and I really think being part of the radio station is why I love Greensboro so much,” said senior and current general manager Eryn Heakin. “I have met a lot of people who live in Greensboro, who aren’t part of Guilford, because I went to a different part of the city to see a show or meet a band.”

There are other benefits to working for the radio station as well. “I used to get all kinds of free stuff: promotional cozies, t-shirts, CDs,” Thigpen said.

But free stuff does not compare to the music aspect of being a D.J. “If you don’t like what’s being played all the time (on commercial stations) then for two hours you can play whatever you want. You get on there and it is your world. It’s kind of a little power trip,” said Thigpen.

However, the part about playing whatever you want is not entirely true. There are two types of radio shows, rotation shows and specialty shows, and neither type are allowed to play profanity.

Specialty shows focus on a specific kind of music. Just about any category is ok, but it must be the focus of the entire two-hour show.

“We have really awesome specialty shows. We have hip-hop, bluegrass, and the only new-age show produced in North Carolina,” said Heakin.

Choices for specialty shows get even more specialized from there. “We also have a show that is strictly North Carolina beach music from the 60s,” Heakin said. “In the past we have had reggae shows and industrial-goth shows.”

Anyone who wants can sign up for a rotation show by calling ext. 2352. However, specialty shows must be requested and approved by WQFS management.

People start radio shows for many different reasons. Most of the time, it is out of love for music, but the more politically inclined can fulfill their needs at the radio station as well.

“The importance of radio for me is activism,” said Heakin. “I think it’s really important to support independent media. We play Democracy Now!, which is an amazingly produced independent news show that’s broadcasted all over the country and the world.” The show airs weeknights at 5 pm.

“It seems to me, for example, that by broadcasting Democracy Now! each day, WQFS is providing a very valuable resource to the Greensboro community,” said Zweigenhaft in an e-mail.

Unfortunately, WQFS is a club and a non-profit station, which means they are forever under-funded.

“We have no money. Like most clubs, we are really under-funded. I have been a manager for almost three years and we never have enough money to do what we want to do,” Heakin said.

Regardless, WQFS still produces a quality product. To be a part of the radio station, just call the number listed above. Learn about music and mass media, meet new people, and put on something worth listening to.

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