WICR: The Diamond of Public Radio
WICR 88.7 FM
The ‘Diamond’ of Public Radio’s Jazz/Classical Genre
Operated on the University of Indianapolis campus, ‘The Diamond’ is an apt nickname for a public radio station that provides unique programming to central Indiana while preparing the next generation of broadcast talent, which is a rare and valuable combination that few stations can claim.
WICR is the only jazz/classical formatted station in Indianapolis and every year launches another class of experienced communication graduates into successful careers in the local broadcast market and beyond.
Scott Uecker, WICR general manager and instructor of communication, has been with the station since 1997. He places a high value on mentoring students and providing them with on-air experience as well as opportunities behind the scenes.
“I don’t know of another station in the country, much less one in a top-40 Nielsen market, that plays jazz and classical music and puts 50 students on the air each semester. When I attend conferences, my colleagues say, ‘You can’t possibly do that.’ And I tell them, ‘I know, but that’s what we do,” says Uecker.
Being an independent station as opposed to an affiliate of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) is an advantage for the student experience, according to Uecker. This allows the station to create more local content instead of being required to air nationally syndicated programming. The WICR model provides opportunities for students to get experience in every aspect of running a radio station, from the sales and marketing techniques of advertising and promotions to the timing and confidence skills of becoming an on-air personality.
Since her freshman year, Mallory Moreno ’19 (communication) has been involved with WICR, building an impressive portfolio as she prepares for a career in the industry. She is already working part-time in promotions and on-air at Radio One in Indianapolis.
“I have seen and done it all as a UIndy communication student, from learning in the classroom to working at the studio to reporting in the field,” said Moreno. “WICR has exposed me to all of the excitement and challenges of successfully running a radio station and that has opened a lot of doors for me. I will walk away from WICR with both the confidence and ability to pursue my true passion.”
Over the years, UIndy’s alumni roll reads like a who’s who in broadcasting in Indianapolis and across the country. Take it from Nikki Reed ’07 (communication), an Indianapolis radio personality who co-hosts a popular morning radio show on WZPL-FM 99.5. UIndy guided her from a career path in theater and TV news to radio, where she found her passion.
“It says a lot about a university where faculty work with you one-on-one and help you leverage your abilities to be successful,” said Reed. She notes that Uecker saw her outgoing personality as a match for radio performance.
Through the financial support of UIndy and listeners, WICR has created a unique relationship with the Indianapolis radio market. The station reaches avid listeners of jazz and classical music in 22 central Indiana counties, and the attached academic program is a rich recruiting environment for local radio companies looking for talent.
UIndy Grads Making it Big in All Areas of Radio
Jenna Tucker ’09, midday air personality/digital director WFMS-FM 95.5, Indianapolis
Stephani Remetta ’01, senior sales executive,
Greg Rakestraw ’98,
ISC Sports Network, Indianapolis
Jason Ornellas ’09, director of engineering,
Bonneville International, Sacramento, CA
WICR by the Numbers:
WICR ranked 19th in the Indianapolis market with a 1.9% share of radio listening.
An average of 59,600 people (six years and older) listened each week for four hours and 30 minutes. In morning drive (6 – 10 a.m.), WICR’s classical music programming is ranked 16th. When playing jazz in the evening (7 p.m. – Midnight), WICR jumps to 12th place in the ratings.*
*Nielsen Media Research, November 2018.
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