Are you a playlist guru? A music master yearning to share your favorite tunes? Join WQFS, or W Quaker Friends School, 90.9 FM radio station!
The radio station is a hidden gem. While hundreds of Greensboro community members are invested in WQFS, many students are unaware of its legacy at Guilford College. The station encourages expressive freedom and provides a communal space for music and artistry not only on campus, but in the Greensboro area. It brings people together.
According to freshman Asa Massie, a student disc jockey (DJ) for WQFS, “the radio station serves as a way for people outside the Guilford community to feel a connection to the College.”
WQFS 90.9 FM radio began at Guilford College over 50 years ago. According to the Quaker Archives of Hege Library, the station began as The Fine Music Broadcasting Society in 1965. One year later, the station obtained a license from the FCC, or Federal Communications Commission, and began to invest in equipment to formally broadcast. David Butler, a student at the College in 1970, came up with the idea to play “college rock” after attending a radio convention in Atlanta.
In those days, the radio station looked a bit different. Butler and his mates spun rock and roll vinyl records, praised the in-house keg with brimful cheers, and jammed-out to simpler times. Butler is popularly known for hosting “The Sunday Morning Rehab Show.”
Junior Will Nowatka is the general manager of the radio station. He oversees the creation of the programming schedule, maintenance, DJ training, campus events and finances, and ensures that the station and its DJs comply with FCC rules and regulations.
“WQFS is the largest non-athletic organization on campus. It has lots of community volunteer involvement. Technically, WQFS is a club, however it operates as a combination of a school institution, small non-profit, and local culture diffuser,” said Nowatka
“WQFS is different from other organizations on campus,” said Massie. “There is a lot of freedom as a DJ. As long as a DJ’s songs meet the station requirements, he or she can play whatever that person wants. I really love creative freedom.”
The radio station promotes student and community artists. A handful of students at the College have played on the radio station’s rotation playlist and have been promoted on the station’s social media pages. As a whole, the station is a vital component to the music industry in Greensboro. Community artists look to local stations to broadcast their recorded music, and often, WQFS accepts them with open arms. Although WQFS is labeled as an alternative station, it plays a wide variety of music. DJs have the freedom to play virtually any music they like, as long as it is outside of the Top 40 Charts per FCC regulations.
Like the Guilfordian, WQFS offers a practicum class for students. By taking the class, students learn the ropes of the radio station. They are required to become a DJ and host a weekly show as well as to help with promotion, marketing and radio-sponsored campus activities. Often, students can be seen with WQFS stickers on their laptops and tumblers in the classroom.
Nowatka, also a student-athlete, has enjoyed many facets of the radio station, but in particular, the general manager has relished discovering and sharing new music.
“My favorite part (about WQFS) is sharing and enjoying music with my friends,” said Nowatka. “I always love when I hear a cool new song!”
“My favorite part of being a DJ is sharing new artists that I am excited about with Guilford College and the wider Greensboro community,” said Massie.
All in all, WQFS offers an inclusive, creative and rockin’ time! Tune in to 90.9 FM to listen to fellow student and community DJs broadcast their favorite tunes in the Greensboro area, or join the team by contacting the station via social media.