The History of Rhode Island College Radio
In 1971, a small group of students formed the Rhode Island College Radio Club. By 1976, the club had grown large enough to gain funding from Student Community Government, Inc. During the next three years, there was a large amount of planning, preparation and hard work done to start up a radio station on campus. The original proposal in 1977 stated that there was to be a 10-watt FM station to serve Rhode Island College. However, due to delays, the plan became impossible due to the FCC placing a ban on 10-watt FM radio stations.
It was proposed that a more powerful station be built, but by 1979, this did not seem realistic. The club initiated a new idea: a carrier-current campus station. A carrier current station uses telephone lines to transmit the signal from the studio to several small AM transmitters located in a variety of buildings on campus. At RIC, all of the dorms, the Student Union, and Donovan Dining Center had these small transmitters installed. On Monday, May 5, 1979, WRIC signed on playing album-oriented rock under this carrier-current system on 580 AM. Greg Reynolds was the first General Manager of WRIC.
Due to the low sound fidelity, as well as a limited audience, plans still went ahead for building a larger FM station. By 1983-1984 there was a proposal for a 14,000-watt station that would have the transmitter located on Channel 6’s tower in Tiverton. However, when a new company bought out the television station, Channel 6 decided that they did not have room, and yet another plan fell through.
During this time, the programming on WRIC diversified, including rock, jazz, dance and many talk shows. They also began hosting a variety of events both on and off campus. In September 1984, the station’s call letters were changed to WXIN, because there was already a WRIC located in Virginia. In the late 1980s, a closed-circuit FM service joined the AM service on campus. This service began on 88.1 FM. During this time, music programs began to phase out the talk shows, and Top 40/CHR, Metal and Urban music joined the lineup. The AM carrier service was abandoned in the late 1980s in favor of the low-power service on 88.1 FM.
In 1993, the Wheeler School obtained a license from the FCC to construct a 125-watt station on 88.1 FM, bringing an end to the closed-circuit service on that frequency. WXIN, which had a competing application for the frequency but was beat out by Wheeler, made an agreement to share time with Wheeler on 88.1, now called WELH. RIC did broadcast from WXIN’s studio, linked to 88.1 by phone lines, until recently, on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday nights. The closed-circuit campus service was re-assigned to a Part 15 transmitter on 90.7 FM, which is where it broadcasts from today.
90.7 WXIN consists of an Executive and Subsidiary Board. The Executive Board is elected annually by the station’s student membership. The General Manager runs the day-to-day operation of the radio station. The Program Director is in charge of content, as well as organization of on-air broadcasting and direct oversight of the music directors. The Business Director is in charge of handling the station’s budget and paying expenses, while overseeing the station’s Promotions Directors. The Sales Director is in charge of marketing the station, as well as seeking out advertising and underwriting. Finally, the Production Director is in charge of producing items such as station IDs, sweepers, underwriting, spots and promos, imaging or any other type of recording that the station needs, and serves as the Deputy Program Director in charge of WXIN’s online-only station, NIXM.
The Executive Board hires the Subsidiary Board each May. The positions consist of five Music Directors (one for each format) that make playlists for disc jockeys and determine what music will or will not be played. There are two Promotions Directors that help raise awareness and listenership of the station through various events and activities, and a Street Team Coordinator that manages a volunteer team that promotes the station. The News/Sports/Talk director handles the News Department, and oversees the Deputy News Director and Sports Director. The Traffic Director tracks all music that is played on air and reports it to performance rights organizations, as well as determining what public service announcements will be played. The Assistant to the General Manager handles day-to-day station operations, such as sorting mail, checking messages and correspondence and attending meetings on behalf of WXIN, and works on special projects for the station. Finally, there are three board members who are contracted and do not hold voting rights on the board: these are the Technology Director, who is in charge of maintaining all of the station’s equipment and making sure it’s in working order in consultation with the station’s Engineer, the Webmaster, who designs and develops the station’s website (www.ricradio.org) and the Alumni Liaison, who keeps contact with the station’s lengthy list of alumni in professional radio.
Vincent Flemming is the long-time advisor of WXIN, and Philip Palombo is the station’s professional advisor. Steve Rys is the station’s Technology Director.
WXIN operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with live shows from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. WXIN formerly provided programming from its studios on 88.1 WELH-FM every Sunday from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m., until Brown University bought the weekend rights to the station, shutting down the long-standing agreement in January 2007. WXIN’s broadcasts were also heard via our stream provided by Live365.com. RIC Radio was one of the first few radio stations in the United States to offer free, online streaming of its on-air content, and was later one of the first stations in New England to offer a live video feed of its studios.
In 2008, WXIN launched NIXM, “Turning Rhode Island College Radio Upside Down,” an Internet-only, uncensored online station. Also, WXIN began broadcasting on UStream, providing yet another way for listeners to hear live station audio, and see a live video feed of both studios. In 2009, WXIN began a complete modernization and remodeling of its primary broadcast studio, replacing nearly every piece of the station’s aging broadcast equipment. Later that year, WXIN partnered with Anchor TV Channel 3 on campus to simulcast the majority of the radio station’s programming on the campus television network.
In early 2010, the radio station staff conducted a 24-hour radiothon, raising over $4,000 for the American Red Cross Haiti Relief Fund, following the devastating earthquake in Haiti earlier that year. The station also participates annually in the nationally syndicated Homelessness Marathon, and supports dozens of student organizations and campus departments by offering free on-air spots and promos and co-sponsorships. WXIN operates a full mobile DJ service, spinning tunes at venues and events across Rhode Island, and holds regular bar nights, club nights and local music concerts at venues around Providence and the surrounding communities. The WXIN DJ Service is a regular feature at events such as Student Activities Day, the Student Organization Showcase, Freshmen Orientation, Admissions Events and the penultimate STORGY Awards. WXIN holds the record for the most awards won by any student organization on campus, and has twice won Organization of the Year, in 2000 and in 2006.
Now in its fourth decade, the WXIN Rock Hunt is one of Rhode Island’s premier annual local rock music events, featuring 16 local, up-and-coming bands. Held since the 1980s at the iconic Living Room in Providence, the WXIN Rock Hunt has been held at Firehouse 13 since 2009. WXIN also runs an annual Back to School BBQ for returning students in the fall, holds numerous on-campus concerts and events throughout the year, and has been an organizer of the annual spring Campus Block Party since its inception in 2008. Over the years, WXIN has also brought countless up-and-coming national acts to Rhode Island College, most recently featuring J. Cole in 2010.
The WXIN News/Sports/Talk Department has recently undertaken a massive overhaul, now providing live play-by-play coverage of Anchormen basketball and a variety of other campus sports, including several broadcasts of the NCAA Tournament, in addition to attaining exclusive interviews and live, on-location reporting and coverage of breaking news events.
Today, Rhode Island College Radio 90.7 WXIN-FM Providence is a fully operational radio station with over 100 active student members. We’re proud of our historic past and our hundreds of alumni working in the media industry in Rhode Island and beyond. We continue to strive to provide high-quality college radio programming and exposure for local and up-and-coming music, and we look forward to what the future will bring for Rhode Island College Radio.
General Managers of Rhode Island College Radio
1. Greg Reynolds 1978-1979
2. Steve Delpico 1979-1980
3. Dave Zapatka 1980-1981
4. Paula Merrnick 1981-1982
5. Michael Montecalvo 1982-1983
6. Margaret Sullivan 1983-1984
7. David Luciano 1984-1985
8. Andrew Marley 1985-1986
9. John DePetro 1986-1987
10. Joe Broady 1987-1988
11. Bill George 1988-1989
12. Jim Braboy 1989-1990
13. Peter Boland 1990-1991
14. David Schiano 1991-1992
15. Thomas Chaput 1992-1993
16. Jim Braboy 1993-1995
17. John Patsfield 1995-1997
18. Ben Mesiti 1997-1999
19. Ted August 1999-2000
20. Paul Pereira 2000-2003
21. Ariana Testa 2003-2005
22. Kevin McKenna 2005-2006
23. Andrew Cerullo 2006-2007
24. Michael McKenna 2007-2009
25. Nicholas Lima 2010-2012
26. Andrew Augustus 2012
27. Robert Santurri Jr. 2012-2013
28. Thomas Lima 2013-2014
29. Rob Smith 2014-Present