Gianni Lee knows how to host a party. He has done the job plenty of times. And he’s comfortable, confident
and cool in the spotlight.
Now, the junior BTMM major is about to help start the party over the airwaves this fall as an ‘on-air personality’ for WHIP, Temple’s student-run online radio station.
“Give me a microphone,” Lee said, “and I will make people listen. I know just what to say.”
Lee and the other members of WHIP – which stands for We Have Infinite Potential – are hopeful that the station can finally get on the air this semester after waiting two years for their new studio in the TECH Center to be constructed.
WHIP, which began in 1997 as an outlet for the student voice, was previously broadcast out of a small room in the Student Center on radio channel 91.3 FM and could only be heard in the SAC. That version of the station stopped broadcasting in 2003.
The new WHIP station will be broadcast to listeners around the world via the station’s Web site.
The station’s headquarters include a broadcasting studio, an engineering room, a news room/office and a production studio. WHIP received substantial technology grants from Computer Services and the Division of Student Affairs to help fund the construction of the studio.
Members of the station are waiting on equipment to be set up and new furniture to be added to the studio before they begin conducting test broadcasts later on this month.
All indications point to WHIP being on the air in the near future. But do the members of the station believe the launch will happen soon?
“Physically speaking, I see it happening this semester,” said WHIP general manager Andy Katowitz, a junior international business administration and marketing major.
Katowitz said there will be plenty of time devoted to preparing the staff for the launch of the station once the studio construction is completed.
“I say if we’ve been waiting for more than two years, then there is no reason to jump the gun now and start right away,” he said. “The second that everything is set up [in the studio] at the TECH Center, we’re not going to be on the air. We want to train everybody and as soon as the whole staff is ready, we’ll go on the air.
“We’re going to be state-of-the-art. We’re going to be a pioneer among the college radio Internet broadcasts … The beauty of WHIP is it will be pure. We will play what students want to hear,” Katowitz said.
Although the format of the station and the programming schedule has not been determined, several potential on-air personalities are formulating ideas for shows.
Lee said his ideal show would not only highlight underground and unreleased hip-hop but would also include a little bit of everything he listens to, including Jay-Z, 3 Doors Down and Paris Hilton.
“The point of the show would be sharing what’s in my mind with everyone else and hopefully, they’ll like what I like,” he said.
Lee has worked several parties with WHIP program director Lamont “DJ Mont” Harris, who controls the turntables at a number of campus and community events. He said he hopes to do a program entitled “The Greatest Show on Earth” with Lee, where the two would occasionally broadcast live from the location of a party and give local hip-hop artists a chance to showcase their skills to the listening audience.
Harris, a senior who joined WHIP his freshman year, said the station will look to accommodate the musical tastes of all students. “We want to play a variety of music,” he said. “We want to have a whole lot of people hosting programs that will feature different styles of music so we can service the entire student body.”
Katowitz said he is more than excited for the launch. Like Harris, Katowitz joined WHIP his freshman year and stuck with the organization during its development stages.
“I have a passion for WHIP,” Katowitz said. “I love the station, I love what it stands for and I want to see it prosper. I would like the station to become an outlet for freedom of expression on campus for many years to come. … I want the station to be alive and well for future Temple students.”
Many members stuck around because they could see potential in the station. Harris and Lee said they promote WHIP at every party they attend. Other members help create awareness about WHIP by participating in the weekly café jam at Johnson and Hardwick Halls and the annual LEGACY fashion show, which are two events that the station co-sponsors.
“We just want to keep students informed and aware of WHIP,” Harris said. “Hopefully, in the future, students, rather than listening to their iTunes playlists, will want to tune into our broadcast instead.”
WHIP is holding a general interest meeting this Thursday at 6 p.m. in Student Center Annex in room 200B. “We want everyone to come to the meeting,” Katowitz said. “We are not going to sift through people at the meeting. We are not looking for any elite candidates. We just want to meet people with interest, with dedication and with passion for what they want to do because we plan on operating a professional radio station and we’re going to have fun doing it.”
Tyson McCloud can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.