For the first time ever, Loyola’s radio station, WLUW 88.7, is a finalist for the 2015 mtvU Woodie Awards Best College Radio Station. The College Radio Woodie is presented to a station that gives listeners the latest indie and emerging music.
Broadcasting from the Water Tower Campus, WLUW has about 150 students and community members who volunteer for the station.
Tony Buitrago, production director for WLUW, said he hopes all the hard work that goes into the station will help win the award.
“I think we’re deserving. We have a good mix of community members and students. We have really advanced facilities, and we have really passionate people,” said the senior communication studies major. “Woodies are the most prestigious award in college radio, so it’s kind of like winning an Oscar, but it is just an honor to be nominated in the first place.”
WLUW’s new general manager, Eleni Kametas, who joined the station at the beginning of the semester, has attended the Woodie Awards in the past. She said she is glad to see that WLUW is being recognized along with the other college radio stations.
“[UC] Berkeley’s KALX is a really great radio station, one that even was [recognized] by WLUW DJs who are from the area. I’m personally familiar with [Eastern Illinois University]’s Hit Mix and Boston University’s station The Beat. It’s quite an honor to be up against these radio stations,” said Kametas.
Other Woodie Awards categories include Artist of the Year and Artist to Watch, and listeners can hear many of the artists who were nominated on WLUW. Artist of the Year nominees include Charlie XCX, Sam Smith, Run the Jewels and FKA twigs. The station’s music director, Chloe Croom, said WLUW usually plays these kinds of artists before they become popular.
“There [are] so many promoters in North America and they have rosters of albums each year,” said Croom. “So Charlie XCX was serviced as a college artist a year ago. Before Lorde became Lorde, she was serviced to college radio. Sam Smith was serviced to us this year; obviously that’s when my decision making comes in, [asking] ‘is this technically alternative?’”
As music director, she has to make these decision to make sure artists fit WLUW’s indie and alternative music spectrum.
“Sam Smith went to go on and be Sam Smith, so it’s not in our library, but Run the Jewels was a huge album for us. FKA twigs was a huge college radio album, so it’s pretty well related,” said Croom, a junior ad/PR major.
For Buitrago, who started as a volunteer DJ before joining the executive staff in December, a win for the station would be meaningful for his future career.
“It will show that I contributed to an award-winning organization. We’re always trying to make ourselves better. That’s the mentality [for] most people at the station,” Buitrago said. “When I’m passionate about an organization I work for, I’d say the sky’s the limit, but we can go beyond it.”