Making Radio Waves

By Joey Blackwell

When it comes to getting involved in media, Tina Turner knew that she wanted to do so at a young age.

“I used to watch Oprah when everybody else was watching SpongeBob,” Turner said. “I really just enjoyed how personable talk shows could be.”

Turner, now a rising senior at The University of Alabama, followed her passion for talk shows and documentaries. The path led her to UA, where she has become heavily involved with the Office of Student Media, a department of UA’s Division of Student Life.

“I’ve always enjoyed media, but now actually being a part of it I didn’t know how much I’d enjoy it until I actually got into it in college,” Turner said.

Turner serves as the station manager for WVUA 90.7 FM, a student-run radio station on UA’s campus that gives students the opportunity to develop professional skills that they can use in their careers after their time at UA.

Turner works the control board with her Office of Student Media job as the station manager for WVUA 90.7 FM.

Established in 1940, WVUA-FM began as an AM carrier-current station. Known then as the Bama Radio Network, the station expanded in 1947 to AM 570 on the radio. In the late 1970s, UA decided to create a public radio station for its students, and on April 1, 1981, WVUA became the permanent station for UA students and the community.

That same community is what drives the students at WVUA to produce daily content for their listeners.

“The community depends on us to hear the sounds that they’ve been hearing for so long,” Turner said. “We like to get involved with the campus because we want the students to know that there is a student-run radio station on campus and that they can be involved in many different ways whether its sports or sound engineering or editing audio, writing articles, the list goes on with things you can do there. It’s a fun way to be involved on campus.”

While now a senior, Turner started working at WVUA in the spring as a first-year student. She started out with her own specialty show as a first-year student, then moved up to digital media director her sophomore year. During her junior year, Turner served as the station’s program director. With all of the experience she obtained over the years, station manager is a perfect fit for Turner.

Turner says that the experience gained at the radio station helped develop her for a career in media after graduation. Over the summer, she is working for ArkMedia, a documentary production company based in Brooklyn, New York.

“That experience alone along with interviewing people has helped me a lot with people in the professional world,” Turner said. “I interview people all the time and starting at WVUA has led me to getting numerous jobs, including the one I have now because they were interested in my interviewing skills.”

Turner hard at work on her first day with ArkMedia.

Regarding her future plans, Turner wants to get more involved in journalism at a large media company.

“I would like to travel and go search for stories,” Turner said. “That’s why I’m doing a documentary internship right now. I want to be a journalist, but not necessarily just report on things, but more so give a solution with whatever I report on. I feel like journalistically we tell people a lot of problems but not so many answers, so I would definitely like to do that.”

In addition to WVUA-FM, the Office of Student Media also offers a plethora of options for students who want to get involved in the media after graduation. Among the options for students are The Crimson White, which is the school’s newspaper, along with Alice, a fashion magazine for college women’s lifestyle.

Turner praises the Office of Student Media for its wide variety of options for students to gain experience.

“There’s so many ways you can be involved with media on campus,” Turner said. “The Office of Student Media has so much to offer.”

She also offers advice to those students who might be hesitant to get involved in media on campus.

“Don’t wait until your last year to start doing things,” Turner said. “It’s not going to look the same on a resume. Definitely take the time to figure yourself out in college and do everything you want, but having something like the radio station you learn a lot of lessons on how a job works in the real world. If you’re interested in something, go for it.”

Visit their website to learn more about the Office of Student Media, and learn about their opportunities for students.