Illinois State University‘s school sponsored radio station Is 103.3 WZND. WZND located in the basement of Fell Hall on Illinois State's campus, it has been the home for students to practice their radio skills for the past decades. To learn more about WZND or listen live, you can go to the WZND website at www.WZND.COM or follow WZND on their social media sites www.instagram.com/WZND https://twitter.com/WZND and www.facebook.com/1033WZND
Illinois State is Illinois oldest university and unsurprisingly it has a storied past for its radio station. The first Illinois state radio station was founded in 1965 and had the station name WLIN. In 1981 the station had a dispute on where to go as far as content, some wanted to create a radio station that had more music than talk radio, and this is where the radio station spilt. The split came on March 21st 1981. The new Z106 “the sound” played progressive rock-new wave sound and also soul and aired performances by local night spot bands and soul and jazz music. Within the first year it had a listenership of almost 10,000 people. Z106 changed its name to the WZND name that you have come to know in 2010 and changed its content, to the college shuffle station. Often WZND refers to its self as fused radio which essentially means that it plays music from the top 40, classic rock, and some old time hits. You can now listen to WZND live to WZND on their website WZND.com by clicking on the “listen live” tab.
The current Faculty advisor for WZND is Deb Lesser known around the station’s as mom, according to WZND’s website it says that she has been there for “forever”, in actuality she has been with the station for almost 25 years. She works as seeing over the station and making sure everything runs smoothly. She also teaches Communication classes at Illinois State. Some of the courses that she teaches are COM 26, advanced radio applications, COM 214 radio management and COM 314 Topics in radio management. In 2004 she received The “Four Year Distinguished Broadcast Adviser” this award is presented to college radio and television advisers who demonstrate excellence and dedication in preparing future broadcast professionals. Student and current members of the WZND community only have good things to say to her.
"Deb is like the queen of WZND. She will take care of you and prepare you for the real world better than anything else." – Nikki Johnson a regular DJ at WZND
"Deb is a great advisor and she knows her stuff. She makes working here a lot of fun!" –Lindsey Taylor, two year news and sports radio analyst
WZND Lets students get the hands on experience of working with radio. There are many positions to work with WZND on and off air. On air jobs include working as a radio DJ, or with News and sports. If you are going to work as a radio DJ your responsibilities include creating on air content, setting up the list of songs and bantering on air, additionally your shifts as a radio DJ will range from 2 to 3 hours. As news and sports spot you will create on air content about local news and sports for Bloomington-Normal area, along with creating on- air content you can also banter on air with the radio DJ. As far as off air other jobs at WZND there quite a few in all aspects of the radio production. You can work anywhere from the marketing team to the engineering team to a director’s position. These jobs all contain lots of different responsibility and often you need experience working on air or with on air production prior to obtaining one the director or marketing positions.
WZND hires all of the employees for at the start of each semester, there are over a 100 student workers at the radio station. All students must be enrolled at Illinois State to work at the WZND, it is also required that any person interested in working with WZND attend a mandatory meeting at the start of the semester. If you have any more questions regarding WZND’s student hiring policy you can talk to a current staff member around the station or what they refer to themselves as a “WZNDer” by calling the station at (309) 438 -5491 to obtain more information.
Along with playing your favorite music from the last few years WZND also has award winning programs. Some of the radio shows WZND has to offer are “wake up Normal” , “New music Monday’s” “Flash Back Friday” and “birds eye view”. Along with these programs WZND has over 50 new reports a week in which they keep you updated with everything that you would want to know about in the Bloomington-Normal area.
The Current host of the radio show flashback Friday and communications major Brendon Krants said “ WZND is a great place to hone your skills in a very fun environment”
WZND is more than just a school radio station playing all of the greatest songs; it also contributes to the community. WZND has undertaken Illinois State’s child care as its charity. Since 1996 WZND has raised more than $30,000 for the Child Care Center. Each semester WZND holds numerous events to raise money for the organization. Some of the events include pumpkin painting event in the fall near Halloween and an egg hunt in the spring. If you would like to learn more about Illinois State’s child care center you can go the child care website at http://childcarecenter.illinoisstate.edu/
Along with the child care philanthropy WZND works with many other charities to raise money for good causes throughout the school year. WZND keeps their charity work posted on the website, http://www.wznd.com/about/philanthropy.shtml
Interview with Tupac Shakur’s mother
Possibly one of the largest media events in the stations history was the interview of Afeni Shakur, the mother of the late rapper and hip hop artist Tupac Shakur. In 2005 WZND started to participate in the charity “one brick at a time” a charity run by Mrs. shakur. The charities aim is to “to generate money for inner-city children who are not able to take part in arts education.” WZND reached out to Mrs. Shakur about helping out with the Atlanta based charity and thought that it would be a good idea to try and get an interview.
According to the Vidette (Illinois states Newspaper) WZND’s Jessica Barney the public relationship manager at the time was stated in saying “It was kind of a joke at first but then we looked into it in more detail”
Eventually Mrs. Shakur agreed to do an interview on the school’s radio station the interview was scheduled to take place Feb. 19 2005 on WZND’s Saturday Night Party Specialty Show. Unfortunately the biggest event in the station’s history was canceled because Mrs. Shakur’s publicist called WZND and told the station that she was sick and unable to do the phone interview. Although they did offer to put on Gloria Cox, which is Mrs. Shakur’s sister, the station decided to go against the alternate interview.