Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Prairie Star takes over the radio

By Courtney Westlake

The brightly shining Prairie Star became radio-active today.

With support from the UIS Communication Department, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Division of Student Affairs, a new Internet radio station, called the Prairie Star, began broadcasting 24 hours a day today, February 14, from the UIS campus.

WUIS, a popular campus radio station and NPR affiliate, will continue its award-winning music and information programming, but the Prairie Star was created to provide a learning venue and creative outlet for UIS students, said Dr. Jim Grubbs, associate professor of communication at UIS. Last fall, the necessary funding was met to start the station with the proper equipment, music and programming.
"The Prairie Star is an idea that has been in process for about a year and a half," Grubbs said. "We were looking for something that could serve as a working laboratory for students, where they could get hands-on experience."

During business hours, the Prairie Star will play a broad, eclectic mix of favorites from the 1970s through today’s "lighter" hits along with full-length news and information features at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. that will come from several station partners, Grubbs said. There will also be mini-features every hour on the half hour.

"Then when we get to 3:00 in the afternoon, we send all the adults home and let the students take over," Grubbs laughed. "We're really going for an alternative rock format at that point. Part of the vision I see for us is to truly become a college station and to really be something you don't find anywhere else."

The weekends will bring a mix of specialty programs including music genres of root, folk, classical, traditional and classic and modern jazz.

Future goals for the station include moving into an expanded production facility, where students can come in and produce shows, Grubbs said.

"What we're really going for is a sense of community. Yes, primarily for students; that's why we're here," he said. "We want it to be fun, and we're looking for people to become involved who want that. For our students exploring career goals, we want to serve them too."

To listen to the Prairie Star station, go here. Click on the image of Radio Star, which is the station’s mascot, and you can then choose either the MP3 or Windows Media Internet stream. Only an Internet connection and your favorite media player is required to tune in. For further information, visit or e-mail