WNUR raised $43,000 during this year’s Phoneathon on the 70th anniversary of the station’s existence, surpassing its fundraising goal by $3,000.
Phoneathon, the station’s annual week-long fundraiser, is how WNUR, Northwestern’s non-commercial student-run radio station, stays alive, according to McCormick sophomore Eleanor Fulkerson, who directed the program this year.
“It’s how we raise our entire operating budget, which enables us to remain independent and ad free,” Fulkerson said. “We don’t need to use outside money. It all comes from the listeners.”
The extensive planning for Phoneathon, which ended last Monday, actually began back in fall. The hard work paid off this year, according to Communication senior Henry Moskal, who said this was the most successful Phoneathon since the 2008 recession. He said this was the first year they made a conscious effort to reach out to WNUR alumni, who contributed a great deal.
“The response that we got from them was really overwhelming in a great way,” Moskal said. “We heard back from so many people who said, ‘Hey, it's so good to hear from you all. WNUR was like my favorite part of my Northwestern experience.’”
Moskal said that the impressive reach of the station, which broadcasts not only in Evanston but all over Chicago and online as well, presents a unique opportunity for those passionate about radio.
“It's a place where people who aren't necessarily the most outspoken can be incredibly outspoken, and it really gives voice to a lot of people who deserve it,” Moskal said.
WNUR’s mission is to use its programming to cultivate an appreciation for underrepresented music and art, instead of just the Top 40 hits radio listeners would normally be exposed to. DJs at WNUR are allowed an exceptional amount of creative freedom, Moskal said.
“If you really just want to experiment and try something new and present a sound that isn't necessarily what you would hear from other big radio stations, you can do that too,” Moskal said. “And there aren't a whole lot of radio stations–there aren't even a whole lot of college radio stations that can claim that same thing.”
Weinberg senior Somil Sanghvi said that being a part of WNUR has been invaluable.
“I think a lot of Northwestern students spend a good part of their college experience looking for that sense of family or that sense of being a part of something that's bigger than yourself,” Sanghvi said. “And I think WNUR does a really good job with creating that environment for people.”