By James Philip
Many Hampton University students seeking to pursue a career in media and entertainment are not aware of a broadcast opportunity right under their nose, WHOV Radio. Although the jazz music is extremely popular in the community, students in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism do not like it, and the school does not do a good job of promoting it.
WHOV Radio offers students at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism the chance to improve their skills in broadcast and production. For those who discover this hidden gem, bold career goals can be met.
"My ultimate goal, I want to become a station manager and run a station myself," Freshman Jabari Resper said.
Smooth 88.1 WHOV-FM broadcasts to the Hampton Roads and Norfolk areas in Virginia. The station runs continuously for 24 hours a day, year round.
Hosting three main formats of music, with several successful and critically acclaimed talk shows. An incredible selection of jazz, gospel, and R&B are permanently played. With a diverse appeal to the Hispanic community, WHOV plays a Hispanic Sounds program over the weekend that is in first place with fans of Latin American music listening in Hampton Roads.
The station does live coverage of the Hampton University football games, and women and men's basketball games, all the way into the playoffs. These live games are broadcasted across the country.
WHOV is a nationally ranked radio station that's directly linked to Scripps Howard. The station has an influence that stretches far around the Hampton communication students' immediate vicinity. It also fits inside the mold of what many students expect their time at Scripps Howard to include.
"To network, hook up with people, and collaborate in any way possible because it's really an advantage to be in a place with so many black creatives," said fourth-year journalism major Mariah Mingoes.
Hampton students often don't know about the career goals, broadcasting opportunities, and internships.
While meeting with WHOV employees, the Station Director Mr. Lang addressed the way students feel about the current format. That Hip Hop and R&B radio stations represent the majority of today's Urban America and receive the highest coverage.
"Many of the students in the University do not like the jazz and gospel music that is always playing," Lang said. "When students hear that their favorite genres of music are not in circulation, they immediately become disinterested."
Mr. Lang understands the student's concerns, and still believes the radio station has a lot to offer, even without the music of their choice. There is a disconnect between WHOV and the number of students at the university encouraged to explore creative opportunities, but limit themselves by not advancing toward the most obvious media outlet. The average Hampton student would be made to work around music they do not enjoy. By avoiding WHOV, they avoid this dilemma and the potential for career elevation.
"I don't really know what goes on in the radio station. It sucks that we have a radio station on this campus and it's not being used to its full capacity," Mingoes said
There is no promotion for the station by the teachers, or the school. A class that involved students going to the radio station and practicing their recording was cancelled at the end of the 2017 school year. Students would need to do their own research if they were interested in the station. Inside of the Scripps building there aren't any fliers promoting the WHOV radio station, any of the opportunities, or any of the events they are involved in.
WHOV played an active part in the university's high school day. Although broadcast occurs throughout the Hampton Roads and Norfolk areas, the message for media benefits does not reach students.
Operations and Program Director of WHOV Radio Kevin "Moose" Anderson said, "For those who commit to the station it provides you with some skills that you can take out into the professional world and succeed." Students who enter through the halls of WHOV leave with a firm professional mindset, not only that but also, "We can provide you with the skills to hold your own, and a broadcast facility or any kind of media situation."
Students who become connected to the station are given the resources to branch off into every radio station affiliated with WHOV. The Station Manager, Mr. Lang, and the Program Director, Mr. Anderson, give students the broadcasting skills to carry with them into a professional radio setting.
For Scripps students seeking jobs in radio, stations will be more welcoming to the ones who are extra prepared when they walk in. Students gain experience in speaking professionally, production, recording, and submitting scripted newscasts, weekly and on a deadline. The media industry is difficult to navigate, and the more a person knows how to do, the more valuable they are in the industry.
Many hours of sweat and button pushing as a producer is sometimes rewarded with placement at another station or media center. Treating the station as a hidden gem that only a few students are aware exists, Jabari Resper, has succeeded early in discovering the potential of WHOV. "Its helping me learn how to run a station and learn everything that goes on behind the scenes that people don't normally see." Resper said
"As far as securing internships. Mr. Lang and I can place students in certain positions, but it's not for everybody." Anderson said,
Anderson helps students get jobs when he believes the student has met enough of the station standards, and can encounter the constantly changing world of communications with the highest possible understanding.
Mr. Anderson and Mr. Lang have built connections, resulting from years of being in the broadcast industry. When asked by a capable student, who has procured many working hours, these two are willing to extend a hand in procuring an internship opportunity for students. A recommendation from either of these men will carry weight in an interview or radio job. The doors open for students working at the station. They have the chance to intern for other stations in D.C., Virginia, New York, Atlanta, and many other states in the country.
"If you're going to get an internship at a broadcast facility you need to take some experience with you." Anderson said
"One thing I do a lot is I help broadcast the games that we have on campus from the press box to the station and then out to the people." Resper said
Not wasting any time on his approach into the industry, Resper does many jobs around the station.
"I help make the newscasts that come on at 5:55(pm) every day and I help to work on spots and commercials that need to be made." He said
By working hard and putting in the effort within an already established and well-promoted radio station, his vision for the future becomes clearer.
Student workers have many broadcasting opportunities while apart of WHOV. While there, students learn to operate nearly every behind the scenes aspect of a radio station. During the business week, students are allowed to shadow the live talk shows held at the station. Regularly scheduled newscasts are broadcasted to the Hampton Roads and Norfolk areas. Lastly, students have full access to the production boards.
For Jabari Resper, The WHOV Radio Station is not his end goal, but only a temporary platform he chooses to use in order to further his media aspirations.
"You kids from the 90's don't know. This is WHOV, you can do it all here son!" Anderson said.