University radio stations are the place to look for young entrepreneurs, fresh ideas, and an excellent example of how far podcasting can really go. We spoke to Nicola Caputi, president and founder of WAU, on what he believes radio can do for students:
How did your radio adventure start?
Radio WAU stands for “Web Ateneo Unisalento.” The idea was born from joking around, in February 2012, when a group of students decided to create a web radio dedicated to the students of the university, intending to offer and share information and different perspectives on university life. We wanted to give students the opportunity to channel their creativity through radio and music.
How did you find Spreaker?
We already knew about Spreaker from before from others who were playing around with broadcasting programs and music.
We decided to use this platform because we appreciated how easy it is to use and how quickly we could manage music and mixers right on the web.
Who makes up your team?
We’re made up of about 70 students who decided to take part in our project and association. WAU actually started as a student association from within the Università del Salento, and in a year had drawn 200 students, as well as professors and the dean.
Why a university radio?
Initially the idea was to give a voice to the university.
We also realized that the project was well-liked, and we got more collaborations each day. There was a real need for a station within the university, and in Puglia we’re the only official university radio station. We’ve also been contacted many times, by other Pugliese universities, like from Taranto and Foggia, who were interested in starting similar projects and needed our experience and guidance.
Any favorite memories you’d like to share?
Since we started last year (our first episode went on the air April 16, 2012) it’s hard to pick just one.
In this year we’ve shared so much, and remember with joy and bittersweetness our first week of broadcasting, when we were still naive and insecure in front of the microphone. We didn’t have the right tools, or enough experience to understand our users’ tastes. Maybe this is our favorite memory that we’d like to share, as an inspiration for all those who had the intentions of starting a similar projects.
In the beginning everything seemed overwhelming, but with enthusiasm, passion, and work we were satisfied with our work. 70,000 listeners are our proof that we made the right choice.
We had artists like Erica Mou and Niccolò Fabi, participated in days like College Radio Day, organized lots of lively events for the students here, and even told our city’s story to RAI 3 on “Alle falde del kilimangiaro.”
How do you prepare each episode?
The weekly programming is made up of over 35 programs made with passion by the students in our association. Everyone is free to prepare their episodes and add music as they’d like. The common denominator of every program is the university, so we ask our hosts to interact with its world, inviting students and docents to our shows, and to find arguments that can be connected to university life.
How did you find your listeners? Or better yet, how do you use social networks to help grow your community?
Obviuosly, before launching the station we pushed a marketing campaign, both on the web and in the Uni’s hallways, all financed by the association itself. We distributed pins and stickers, set up a contest for our logo’s design, and organized a party tour to prepare the public for our debut . On our first day of broadcasting, we had 1,000 listens.
Although I should emphasize that listens were never our primary objective. We always asked our collaborators to edit and produce their own programs, to broadcast their enthusiasm, and offer a product taiored to students.
Does this podcast help you on a professional level? If so, how?
To describe in a few words all that radio Wau has given us from a professional, as well as a human, perspective is really difficult. In associative and professional experiences, in my 27 years, I’ve seen quite a bit, but what WAU has given me will be difficult to repeat. Before growing professionally though, we grew as people. Radio has brought us together, has helped us share our ideas and passions.
WAU is now a multimedia platforms in partnership with the Università del Salento, giving students the possibility to go professional during their studies, offering an alternative to the traditional educational path.
With WAU we can organize events within the city (we proudly remember having Subsonica LIVE at Livello 11/8 in partnership with Salento Concerti), become a university reporter thanks to the online magazine www.unireport.unisalento.it, and ties you to the university radio world www.radiowau.com.
It’s a wide spectrum of alternatives to formal education, with the intent to make what the university has to offer even better. Soon we’ll even start curricular and extra-curricular internships to our format, and enrich our synergy with Unisalento.
Thanks for this great interview Nicola and keep up the good work!