O'Kelly said that for years he had looked for opportunities to file
for an FM station, but they never materialized, and prospects looked
slim with a fairly full local FM dial.
"The 900 frequency is a clear one in West Michigan, with no
interference," he said.
The station already ran information for move-in week, and will
provide public service announcements as a way for the School of
Communications to help serve campus needs, O'Kelly said.
As part of their studies on radio broadcasting, students will work
shifts at the station, which also gives them work sample opportunities
when applying for jobs after graduation, he said.
He said he envisions this station serving as a complement for the
student-run WCKS "The Whale," for which he is advisor.
"My hope is that students will take the class and decide they
have an interest in this field and will also have a passion for the
varied programming," O'Kelly said. "If you want to express
your creativity, please go to the student radio station and do that, too."
The laboratory aspect of WLSX gives students an important base,
O'Kelly said. While students doing their own programming have shown a
recent tendency to gravitate toward talk radio, the reality is that
new graduates entering the radio industry are likely headed to a music format.
WLSX will allow O'Kelly to prepare students for the specific
requirements of a music format, such as how to effectively go to a
break and the extensive preparation needed for a show, as well as
helping them more deeply understand programming decisions.