TURN UP: The VoW crew spent O-week outside the Great Hall each day, interviewing first years and makin sure that party-goes could "turn up" at the beer garden and Freshers' Bash. Photo: Roxanne Joseph

TURN UP: The VoW crew spent O-week outside the Great Hall each day, interviewing first years and makin sure that party-goes could “turn up” at the beer garden and Freshers’ Bash. Photo: Roxanne Joseph

With a stronger signal and the opportunity to attract more listeners, Voice of Wits (VoW FM) is “bringing the fire” as the VoW crew say.

This past week they re-launched as a fresh station and are now available on 88.1 FM, a frequency on which no other broadcaster exists, according to station manager Mike Smurthwaite. He said with their previous frequency (90.5) they shared the space with GrootFM, which is based in Pretoria, and found there was often a clash.

“It took four and a half years to find a solution to the problem but finally we managed to find a new frequency which is feasible and gives better coverage,” he told Wits Vuvuzela.

The new frequency will cover most of Jo’burg and reaches places such as Edenvale, Boksburg, Soweto, Dobsonville, Sandton and Rosebank that did not receive it before.

After spending last weekend testing and putting the final touches on everything, the team were able to go “100% live” at the start of O-week.
When asked what would be different about the campus radio station this year, Smurthwaite said being able to reach more people and students, especially those who fall directly into their target market, would encourage people to actually be involved.

“Now, the potential is there for the Wits community and for Wits students to buy into the station and they own the station … fundamentally, the community owns the station,” he said.

One of the biggest complaints, according to Smurthwaite, was being unable to actually hear the station. Even at Wits, which fell directly within the frequency range, the signal was not always good. Even people staying in res, at Junction, often couldn’t hear it.

“So obviously people don’t even try to consume the product, nor do they even try to engage with the station, because they don’t see the point,” he said.

As part of their new look and feel, the team spent the week engaging and interacting with new students and student societies, broadcasting live each day from the Great Hall plaza.

“We’re trying to create a culture that says to students, ‘there’s more to life at Wits than academics’,” said Smurthwaite.

His team worked all through the holidays to prepare for the year ahead. “It’s taking what could not be heard before, polishing it and providing something that’s of high quality.”