WBUL prepares to launch more user-friendly site

The new WBUL 1620 AM Web site is slated to launch next week after several months of preparation.

The new Web site is designed to be geared more toward informing students of the station’s broadcast services, as well as upcoming news, music and sports events.

The old site was more of a visual spectacle than an informative tool for the station, according to Station Manager Jake Tremper, and the new site has been in limbo for the last several months, with the last update done on March 2.

“The new Web site will be more concerned with providing a resource for students for campus media,” Tremper said. “We will be informing listeners and visitors of the site to upcoming music and show schedules, as well as a new podcast program we plan on launching.”

New features provided by the Web site will be a complete archive section, continually updated events and show schedules, an updated video section with closer to television quality videos and a new podcast section.

The idea of starting a new site was something Student Government and WBUL kicked around since the site’s last update in March, according to Tremper. The lengthy process of developing a new site was largely caused by the ownership of the Web site’s domain, www.wbul.org.

“The only problem we’ve had is getting the ownership of the domain,” Tremper said. “We have the domain through USF, but it’s a mouth full. We’d much rather have the .org instead.”

Once an employee of WBUL, the original owner of the domain had been long gone by the time the radio station decided to retool its site.

“I was on the phone with a (former WBUL employee) in Oregon for over an hour one day,” Tremper said. “Getting all of the passwords and logins was very time consuming.”

As a division of SG, WBUL received its funding for the retooling of the site from SG.

“The only cost was paying the Web designer and Tech Director Dane Harmon for his time,” Tremper said. “All of the domain redirecting is done by SG and our Web hosting is done down the hall.”

With the only costs for developing the site going to the Web designer, the amount of money needed for the site’s retooling is far less than what most data-driven Web sites pay for design, Tremper said.

“We have some new programs we are going to launch,” Tremper said. “Our first project is ‘In the Box with TC and T-Lo,’ a sports talk show hosted by Tyler Crane and Brad Truslow. The show will air on Tuesdays from 4 (p.m.) to 5 p.m. and will be rebroadcast as a podcast, which people can download from the Web site. This is sort of a guinea pig for us – and if it goes well, then we’ll hopefully have more programs like it.”

Tremper offered an idea of where he feels the radio station is heading.

“There is where we are at, and there’s where we can be – and between there’s a lot of ground to cover,” he said. “A lot of this is having more content. This works for two sides: offering the best info for students, as well as giving experience to people who are interested in the field of broadcasting.”

SG originally expressed interest in placing a headliner bar containing links to the other various Web pages of SG on top of the new WBUL site.

“(SG is) currently in the process of overhauling our Web site as well,” said Kayla Munro, marketing director for SG. “We had a couple of concerns on navigation, and we wanted to make all of the pages as easy as possible for the average student to navigate, with as few clicks as possible.”

Instead of a headliner bar, the WBUL page will have a clickable SG logo that will redirect the site’s visitors back to the SG homepage.

WBUL is looking for volunteers in all aspects of radio broadcasting, not only on-air personalities. Anyone interested in getting involved with the radio station can do so by contacting the station via e-mail at wbu1620md@yahoo.com.

WBUL broadcasts can be heard on-campus in the lobby of the lower level of the Phyllis P. Marshall Center, channel 6 in the Residence Halls, via 1620AM and can also be heard online at www.wbul.org.