Quinnipiac University announced on Jan. 11 that its community radio station, AM-1220 WQUN, will close at the end of this semester.
The station will do its final broadcast on May 31 and will officially close on June 30, according to the Quinnipiac Chronicle.
A memo released by Lynn Bushnell, Quinnipiac’s Vice President of Public Affairs, said the station is being shut down due to tectonic changes and a decline in student interest in the radio industry.
“This difficult decision was made after careful consideration of our first priority, the needs of our students,” Bushnell said. “The number of students who even consider a career in radio, or who want to intern at WQUN-AM has declined sharply, prompting the university to re-examine the prudence of continuing to operate a community radio station.”
In response to the news about the closure, petitions to save the station have circulated around social media, and one has collected over 480 signatures.
“Quinnipiac University’s decision to close its radio station AM1220 WQUN Radio on May 31 is a really bad decision. The loss to the community is unquantifiable,” one petition reads. “This hurts town gown relations on so many levels, most importantly in times of disasters, tornado, blizzards, car accidents (and) power outages. Many Hamden residents, especially those living in northern Hamden, close to QU, get their communication from WQUN.”
WHUS News Director Daniela Doncel said she was saddened to hear the news of WQUN’s closure.
“I was definitely sad,” Doncel said. “The only thing I can compare it to is my own radio station which I consider my home here at UConn. I love WHUS and I love just radio broadcasting in general, so when you hear that it gets shut down at a different university because of lack of interest or because of financial reasons, it’s definitely sad.”
However, Doncel said she doesn’t blame Quinnipiac for shutting down the station if there is a lack of student interest and said she understands that radio is not as popular of a journalistic medium as print or broadcast.
“When I go into my journalism classes, most people that are in there are going to newspapers or they’re going into TV,” Doncel said. “Radio is usually not number one and I’m usually the one that says, ‘Oh yeah, I want to go into radio.’”
Doncel said there has never been talk of shutting WHUS down while she’s been involved with the station, but that talk of closure has come up in conversations.
“It’s definitely something that we talk about every once in a while, just something that kind of comes up when we talk about involvement in our departments,” Doncel said. “(We ask), ‘Are there enough people coming into department meetings and actually participating and working on stuff?’”
Though there has been a decline in the popularity of radio, Doncel said, ultimately, she is not worried about its future.
“Like the way the internet didn’t replace TV because people still watch TV, nothing’s really going to replace radio, because people still listen to the radio every morning, every night, online, whatever platform it happens to be,” Doncel said. “Radio is not dying, I don’t think. And sure, maybe it reached its peak in the 80s, 90s, whatever decade it was, (but) it’s not dying at all.”
Gabriella DeBenedictis is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.