ETIN to broadcast online

by Beacon Staff • October 25, 2006

On Nov. 6, the Emerson Talk and Information Network (ETIN) will begin airing solely on the Internet 24 hours every day. The station, which does not have a URL yet, will be directed toward a college audience and will focus on talk and news programs rather than music.

"It's talk for college students, by college students for the first time at Emerson College," said Chance Dorland, a sophomore visual and media arts major and program director for ETIN.

Although the project is still in development, a list compiled by ETIN of several proposed programs includes news broadcasts, a morning segment, and a political talk show.

A sports program covering Emerson's teams is also planned to air five times a week. Dorland hopes to eventually broadcast play by play announcing of games from inside the gymnasium in Piano Row.

Other programs include "Your Hard Work," for which students submit audio projects to be aired, and "Across the Pond," which features students living at Kasteel Well.

There are also plans for a show called "Intercoursing," modeled after the popular radio program "Loveline." According to Dorland, ETIN has asked medical students and professors from local colleges such as Boston University if they would make appearances on the show as the "doctor."

The focus on talk programs does not mean music will be banned from the station altogether.

Breaks during and between programs will be filled with songs, and ETIN news director and senior broadcast journalism major Stacy Hunsberger said music may be used overnight as filler.

General Manager of WERS and advisor for ETIN Jack Casey explained the development of the network in a phone interview.

Casey said students had discussed the idea of a radio devoted to talk for a few years, but came of it.

Dorland, looking for a new media outlet, expressed interest in working on such a station.

This fall, Casey talked with Marsha Della-Guistina, now an advisor for ETIN, who said the journalism department was considering a streaming news station.

Around the same time, Dorland brought Hunsberger into the project to operate the news portion of ETIN. With the aid of Casey and Della-Guistina, the station developed into the format it has now taken.

"It was one of those serendipitous things," said Casey about the creation of the station.

ETIN was originally named the Emerson Streaming Network, but Casey said they wanted a different name that described the station, not the delivery system. He said the new name, Emerson Talk and Information Network, is only a working title, and the station "may look for something a little sexier, a little jazzier."

Hunsberger said there will be a daily five-minute news update and a feature news segment.

Although news programs will be pre-recorded, ETIN plans to run the talk shows live, allowing listeners to call in and participate. The call-in aspect of the station is especially important for shows like Intercoursing which depend almost entirely on listener participation.

Dorland said ETIN would be Emerson's first station to take live calls. While listeners can call WERS, the conversations are not aired live.

The station is not yet complete, and several problems must be resolved before going live in November.

The biggest hurdle is a shortage of staff members, Dorland said. To fill vacant positions, ETIN is accepting applications from anyone interested in participating.

Funding has also been a setback for ETIN. Dorland said that while they will have access to equipment in the WERS newsroom, they must still purchase some equipment of their own.

The station has no allocated funds from Emerson, and has drawn on contributions from WERS and WEBN to purchase the additional equipment.

Hunsberger said if equipment shortages become a problem, the station may have to postpone the launch.

When asked if he would look to break away from WERS and seek funding from Emerson specifically for ETIN, Dorland said he would not.

The setbacks have not spoiled enthusiasm about the station's potential, and Casey said he hopes for ETIN to eventually become a presence nationwide.

"I would love for this to be a hub of interest for college people to discuss issues across the country, and to have Emerson be the center of it," Casey said.