ESU Students Nominated for National College Radio Awards
During her freshman and sophomore years of college, Brittany Winfield was diving into biology textbooks and studying linguistics at the University of Vermont. With two years of college under her belt, Winfield made the bold move to transfer to East Stroudsburg University (ESU) in the fall of 2014. Winfield never thought that transferring universities meant changing her major, disc jockeying for an acclaimed radio station and being nominated for a national broadcasting award. Surprisingly, that’s exactly what she did.
“Transferring schools was not easy but it did help reveal to me what I am meant to do,” said Winfield.
Winfield knew that she would be living independently during her time at ESU. Before even stepping foot on campus, she began applying to positions in the East Stroudsburg area. Within a couple of weeks, she heard back from the Office of University Relations.
After acing her interview, Winfield was offered a part-time student position in university relations. She was responsible for answering phones and gathering information for ESU’s public relations specialists. It was so satisfying that she began to notice her passion for biology fading.
“I spoke to our director about careers in this field,” she said. “She suggested I look into ESU’s communication studies department.”
Immediately after speaking to communication studies faculty, Winfield switched her major. Finally feeling fulfilled, she decided that she wanted to get involved in everything that the communications field had to offer.
“I was walking past the McGarry Communications Center and heard music one day,” she said. “I was immediately interested.”
That music turned out to be 90.3 WESS FM, the university’s college radio station. Winfield spoke with their training director and started the process to become a disc jockey.
“The experience with WESS was amazing,” said Winfield.
Though Winfield’s time at WESS was brief, she made sure her presence was known. It was only a short time into her disc jockeying career that an even bigger opportunity presented itself.
“I was asked to be WESS’s promotions director,” she said. “It was insane because I was there for such a short amount of time.”
As promotional director, Winfield is responsible for creating and managing events that help enhance WESS’s overall image.
“Every time you see a WESS event, I am the one managing every logistical step behind it,” said Winfield. “A good event helps stabilize finances for the station.”
Satisfied with her major, extra-curricular activities and part-time job, it would seem that Winfield was having a meaningful college experience.
“I was feeling so happy about myself,” she said. “Transferring schools was incredibly hard, but I finally felt like everything was falling into place.”
Winfield was doing homework in her apartment when she came across an email from WESS’s adviser, Robert McKenzie, Ph.D., chair and professor of communication studies. The email chain described a national contest sponsored by the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS).
“As soon as I heard of the contest, I went online to see if I was eligible for any of the awards,” said Winfield.
The Intercollegiate Broadcasting System is a not-for-profit organization that serves national college radio, television and webcasting stations. Each year it holds an international contest that recognizes outstanding stations and the individuals who represent them. Winfield applied for the best promotional event and best live music broadcast award. The process wasn’t easy. A letter of intent, media files and promotion information had to be sent to the IBS for consideration.
“A couple weeks ago I logged onto their website and saw that I was a finalist,” she said. “I graduate in the spring so this would be a great way to give back to WESS.”
Winfield was not the only one looking to give back to the radio station. Brian Silva, a senior at ESU majoring in digital media technologies, is nominated for the Most Innovative Programming award. Silva has been a member at 90.3 WESS since 2012 and currently works as a programs director. Brian on Broadway, Silva’s radio show, airs weekly and broadcasts popular New York Broadway cast recordings.
“There are not many radio shows like mine,” Silva said. “Its uniqueness truly shines through and I’m so happy.”
IBS’s national awards ceremony will be held on March 6-March 7 in New York City. The event will feature conferences before the awards presentations on March 7. Winners receive national recognition in the college broadcasting community as well as a trophy.