Panther Radio Offers Training Ground for Students and Entertainment for the Community

From Abba to Aerosmith to Ariana Grande, Panther Radio listeners enjoy an eclectic mix of music, along with local news and weather. The community-based radio station is also a training ground for future broadcasters, under the direction of station manager Derik Hancock.

Certified with the Society of Broadcast Engineers, Derik is an instructor of communications, and he currently guides and coordinates the 20+ students who are interns and volunteers at the station, located in the Ralph Center for Fine Arts and Communications Arts.

WKWC 90.3FM recently participated in the Broadcast Education Association’s “2021 Festival of Media Arts,” and communication arts major Lain Taleno ’22 won second place in the category for Best Comedy or Drama in Student Audio Production. Taleno produced and directed a radio broadcast production of “Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Tolling Bell” for broadcast on Halloween 2020.

“This was a big win for Lain, WKWC and the Communication Arts program,” said Derik. “I walked him through the process of audio production, and he produced a professional product. I am very proud of him. It was quite an accomplishment.”

Derik has been a part-time employee of the College, except for a brief hiatus, since 2006. He became full time in 2020. “The increase in hours gives me the opportunity to train more students. We went from an average of 5 students per semester to 22 currently. I’m thrilled.”

The station, founded in 1983, has a signal strength of 5,000 watts, and covers Daviess and all surrounding counties, started in 1983. They have a large music library with a balance between what the community wants to hear and what appeals to students.

On Sundays, WKWC features Christian music throughout the day, along with local church services. The Saturday schedule features syndicated bluegrass programming beginning at 6 a.m. In partnership with WFIE in Evansville, the station runs weather reports provided by WFIE Mondays through Fridays, and students provide weather reports, as well. Each week President Thomas Mitzel interviews students and community leaders on “Wesleyan Air-Way.” The station also broadcasts a community calendar and PSA’s for local non-profits, and Campus Close-Up interviews cover the latest happenings on campus. A Crime Stoppers Tip of the Week is produced by WKWC and used by other local stations.

Derik says underwriting by local businesses help keep WKWC on the air. “We appreciate the support and interest from our community. Our partnerships help the region and help our students.”

What’s ahead for Panther Radio? Derik says that in addition to providing training in broadcasting, his goal is always to instill a spirit of teamwork, and in that spirit, the station will form a news team in the next academic year to enhance the local news and information WKWC provides.