VoW set to make big waves in 2015

VoW is re-branding itself during O-Week, with a new look and wider reach. Photo: Dinesh Balliah

VoW is re-branding itself during O-Week, with a new look and wider reach. Photo: Dinesh Balliah

Voice of Wits (VoW FM) is heading for bigger and better things in 2015, as the campus radio station prepares to expand its reach across Johannesburg.

The radio station, now in its fifth year since re-launching in 2011, will soon be broadcast for a 10km radius around its Braamfontein headquarters.

“Previously we had about a 2km range,” said station manager Mike Smurthwaite. This included the whole campus, with the exception of Parktown residence Junction, where the frequency experienced problems.

“But now we’re going to cover the whole of campus, Junction and even further into Braamfontein.” This, he explained, is what’s called “very high frequency” and means that more listeners will be able to tune in, from further away.

With plans to re-launch and promote with a fresh, new brand during O-Week, Smurthwaite and the team have a big task ahead of them. A new logo, more recording facilities and space, and plans to “invade public spaces without people even knowing it’s going to happen” are just some of what students and the Braamfontein community have to look forward to.

According to Smurthwaite, there are almost no spare radio frequencies available in Johannesburg, so when VoW was offered one, they jumped at the opportunity to improve their sound and reach.

“Our team worked all through the holidays to make this happen,” he said.

VoWFm brings chemistry to the airwaves

A student conducting a chemistry experiment at the Wits Science Stadium. The university has psycho-social programmes to identify and nurture learners from disadvantaged high schools who show promise in science and mathematics. Photo: Tanyaradzwa Nyamajiya

The Science Inside brings chemistry of another kind to campus via VoW FM airwaves. Photo: Wits Vuvuzela

By Pheladi Sethusa and Paul McNally

Wits campus radio station, VoW FM (90.5), debuted a pioneering science show called “The Science Inside” last night.

The show  aims to teach listeners about science in new and interesting ways. The show produced by The Wits Radio Academy with funding from The Department of Science & Technology, takes major news events and goes into the science behind them. 

According to presenter Paul McNally, the show is committed to science education in a climate where South Africans consider knowledge of political parties superior to chemistry (and by extension corruption-uncovering journalists are deemed more worthy than science journalists). This is a perception the show hopes to chip away at, as our science and maths education was ranked second last in the world last year, just ahead of Yemen, according to a World Economic Forum Report. 

In the pilot episode Deejay Manaleng explained how a pepper spray was dropped in a girls’ bathroom. The gas escaped across the toilet and up to the ceiling. She giggled at the memory of her running out of the toilet cubicle of a packed club spluttering and coughing. She starts to cackle when she explains how each girl – for the rest of the night – squeezed into the cubicle, pulled down her pants and burnt her ass. “They were screaming,” she laughed into the microphone.

The episode with Deejay then focused on chemical weapons in Syria – a macabre and bloody topic – but the pepper spray story helped ease the tension before investigating the technology behind complicated killing machines. One of the experts on the show cited pepper spray as the world’s simplest chemical weapon.

Next Monday the show will look at the science inside South Africa’s ARV shortage. Tune in live every Monday at 6pm or stream/download the Science Inside podcasts on soundcloud.