WIUX house closes in wake of FIJI construction
Student radio members lament the loss of a house full of memories
By Alexis Daily
Student radio members lament the loss of a house full of memories.
The house on 815 E. Eighth St. doesn’t look like much — its paint is chipping, the basement is rather moldy — but for 41 years it has been a learning lab and a home to staff members of WIUX, IU’s student radio station.
“That run-down but charming house on Eighth Street is kind of a welcoming monument, which is why we still call it The Mansion,” WIUX Financial Manager and IU senior Lucas Wozniak said. “It’s been a safe haven, a canvas, a hangout, a venue, a greenroom, an origin of romance and untold other things to umpteen people, not simply a house with a studio in it.”
Because of construction on the new Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house, the station will be relocated to the 700 block of the same street, on an IU-owned vacant lot.
As WIUX staff members prepare for relocation, the history of the 815 house isn’t far from their thoughts. WIUX has a rich history of students falling in love in the 815 studio, Sarah Thompson, a junior majoring in business marketing and the incoming station manager for WIUX, said.
According to the WIUX Facebook page, radio duo Jon and Noonie Fugler were students at IU in the 1970s, both of them working at WIUX . Jon’s sports show was before Noonie’s news show, and he knew she was nearing the studio when he heard her trip on the uneven step each week. The two have been married for more than 35 years and worked at K-LIFE FM until 2011.
“I view WIUX as the quintessential example of what it means to build something unique and interesting with a group of people who are always excited about it and often about each other, and that’s a difficult environment to find,” Wozniak said. “It’s been an unforgettable few years, and I can’t wait for more.”
Wozniak said he got his start at WIUX when a friend on the news team asked him to be a guest commentator on a story about the effect of Julian Assange’s case on how individuals perceive international privacy laws. He said A.D. Quig, the producer at the time, told him he had a voice for radio and she wanted him to contribute in the future.
“She went on to give me a lot of encouragement and guidance in the following year and a half and help me develop my work in political commentary, which is still the subject of my weekly broadcasts both as a talk show host and segment contributor to our news hour,” he said.
Thompson said one of her favorite memories at 815 was the special events committee and music committee’s joint end-of-the-year party.
Not only did they celebrate all of the hard work, but also the graduation of Special Events Director Jen Samson and Thompson’s Co-Music Director Tori Miner.
She said the WIUX staff took a study break during dead week to eat chips and salsa in the living room, watch movie documentaries and smash open a piñata while the speakers were tuned into the 99.1 WIUX station.
“When DJs got off their shows and came downstairs, we would invite them to stay and hang out with us even if we hadn’t met before, because WIUX is a family full of talented people, creative minds and good friends you just haven’t met yet,” Thompson said.
Recent graduate Stephanie Langan said her favorite memory was going to WIUX’s Culture Shock her freshman year. She said that even though rain was pouring, the music was fantastic, and the station was a great place to discover new music.
Notable WIUX interviews include Jimmy Fallon, Janelle Monae, Girl Talk, this year’s Culture Shock headliner, Mac DeMarco, and Darwin Deez, all of which are available for listening on the WIUX website, wiux.org.
Wozniak said Nina Bernardin and Morgan Wooderson won best interview at the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System conference for their interview with Whitest Kids U’Know, the first year in which WIUX was entered for consideration.
Thompson said WIUX also interviews and has in-studio sessions with smaller bands in their commitment to play great, under-represented bands and local bands that would not get airplay at other radio stations.
Wozniak said in addition to interviews with musicians, WIUX has also welcomed congressmen and state representatives.
All of this happened at 815 E. Eighth St.
Carolyn Suna, General Manager and senior majoring in sports management and marketing, said 815 is not special because of the famous people that have visited the WIUX studio, but instead it is special because of the friendships and memories made by the student volunteers.
“No one event makes this building special, because it’s each person’s story that creates the personality and character of the building,” she said.
Wozniak said many people view radio as a dying form of entertainment and broadcasting, and those at WIUX who challenge this belief have an innate need to stick together.
“The team of people with whom I work are not only colleagues whom I greatly respect but some of my closest friends, which doesn’t seem uncommon at the station,” he said.
“815 has been my home for the past three years, but it isn’t the building that makes WIUX a home,” Suna said. “It’s the people “Wherever we are, we will thrive because our organization attracts passionate people that care about making a difference on their campus and in the Bloomington community.”
The first broadcast from the new station will be during alumni weekend, July 25-27.
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