By: Leah Alsept
UF students have seen the construction going on at the AMU, but do they know what it’s for?
UF Student Dominique Ysquierdo is ready for the construction in the AMU to be finished. Why? Because it’s set to become the new WLFC radio station and she’s the Student General Manager.
The current (and soon to be previous) WLFC radio station is located in first floor of The Village, a student dorm located on Frazer Street. And Ysquierdo will be honest – she’s glad to get out of The Village.
“By putting us in the AMU we’re one of the first things new students see, which means the university actually has to remember we exist and take us seriously. You know, because where we were located [The Village], nobody knew we existed,” she admitted.
Along with a new studio, there’s a new Station Manager working with Ysquierdo. His name is Alex Davis. A native of Dayton, OH, Davis is working on his PhD at Bowling Green State University. Before that, he was working on air at KLUC in Las Vegas. With 13 years of experience in radio, Davis is ready create a thriving radio station for the students at UF.
“I’ve done quite a bit of what I want to do on air side and not that I want to be finished, but I’ve been off the air for two years. This [position] provides me the opportunity to cultivate and facilitate others growing and learning and pursuing and propelling. And so the opportunity to give back and provide service to not only students, but the community in general,” he said.
Over the summer, Ysquierdo says she fell in love with the COMM Department even more than she had. Originally a double major art major, the junior switched from her major Children’s Book Illustration to Journalism/Digital Media after working closely with the COMM Department searching for a new station manager after Doug Jenkins left.
“I was really honored to be able to be a part of interviewing Alex and getting him on campus,” she said about the mock class period potential hires go through at UF. “On top of that, they were like, ‘Well, this is supposed to be a student run radio station’ So there was bigger shoes for me to step up into because basically I’m, as general manager, running it, but then Alex is like overseeing it.”
The switch has made Ysquierdo even more excited to continue running WLFC and seeing the completion of the new radio station. Moving to the AMU means WLFC will be one of the first things students see when they walk past the building or go into the area to study. More eyes and hopefully more ears on the station, the duo says.
“The biggest challenge that I’ve been tasked with is recruitment,” Davis said. “We’re approaching that pretty headstrong right now. Just continuing recruitment and continue to bring in people that are going to not only add and contribute to the station, but also be eager to learn and go further in whatever sector of broadcast it is.”
“Once we get more DJs trained, we’ll have a music director and then a production director,” Ysquierdo said. “One would be geared more towards like production of like creating public service announcements. Whereas [a] music director, it would be another student helping me like get more music, helping me go through and make sure they’re FCC clean and making sure we’re getting them from a reliable source.”
Ysquierdo also works closely with UF alumni, including the host of the nationally syndicated radio show VR2, Mike Yunis. She’s been collaborating with him about completing the lounge before their 50th anniversary in 2023. The construction originally had a lounge for the radio station included in the plans, but was cut from the budget by the University.
“We were going to actually have a stage for artists to come in. This whole room was going to be part for us as well,” Ysquierdo gestured around the AMU. “Like this was going to be the lounge, but they cut that out of our budget. So it’s still ‘a lounge.’ It’s just a lounge for students.”
“One thing that I’m looking to start as an open mic night,” Davis said, “Whether that’s once a week or once every two weeks, something that here on campus in the AMU, preferably in this space that we’re currently sitting in right outside of the radio station. We’ll cultivate culture on campus and entertainment, media wise.”
An upgraded website with a direct donation button, new furniture (the station’s old furniture in The Village was thrown out due to mold), a lounge, and new, updated radio software for the station will be coming out of WLFC’s budget. Fundraisers, events, and donations are important for the station to continue operating.
“We actually have an upcoming event coming up on the 10th of September we’re co-sponsoring with Dance On. I’m actually going to DJ at for them. It’s going to be outside in the AMU parking lot, so people can spread out and we would be able to use the parking lot spots as ways of social distancing if we need to implement that,” she said. “I’m hoping to get some people out there doing like the Cupid Shuffle or something, some line dancing songs that people, you know, they hear it and they immediately know what to do.”
Unfortunately, Ysquierdo and Davis say, the date of completion for the new studio is not set in stone. Ysquierdo says the construction in the AMU is probably going to be completed in after the fall break in October. After the studio is done, they’ll have to move in all their equipment, which could extend the official completion date a bit longer.
“We don’t have a set date. I know that’s like tough and sucks, but also the last couple of things that we’re doing now, carpet, and getting glass. Right. So we’re good,” Davis said.
“We’ll have our DJs, they can help us move heavy boxes, but when it comes to wiring, it’s really just Davis, me and Jay [Schell], trying to get all that set up,” she said. “I think it’s going to be really exciting to see how it turns out and we’re going to have to work out kinks as we go.”
Lookout for construction in the AMU for the new station – and until then, tune into WLFC everyday on 88.3 FM radio.