|By G. Michael Dobbs|
SPRINGFIELD The Pioneer Valley will have another source for local news on the radio this fall when a partnership begins between Western New England College (WNEC) and WAMC, Northeast Public Radio.
The new collaboration was announced on Wednesday at the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield breakfast meeting at WNEC.
Starting with the fall semester, eight students will be enrolled in the WAMC Radio Practicum taught by Brenda Garton, former television anchor and WNEC staff and faculty member. WAMC personnel will also assist in the teaching of the class and the students will be trained in how to put together radio news stories that will be heard over the National Public Radio affiliate.
Dr. Alan Chartock, president of WAMC, told Chamber members that the College had come to the radio station with the idea and said it was an example of "thinking outside the box."
"We're proud that Western New England College reached out to us in this cooperative venture. We see this as a win/win situation Western New England College offers its students hands- on journalistic experience with the preeminent news voice in our region and WAMC adds to its already extensive western New England coverage," Chartock said.
Chartock predicted that WAMC "will be here in a really big way."
Headquartered in Albany, NY, WAMC Northeast Public Radio consists of a twelve station network: WAMC 90.3 FM, Albany; WAMC-AM, 1400 Albany; WAMK 90.9 FM, Kingston; WOSR 91.7 FM, Middletown; WCEL 91.9 FM, Plattsburgh; WCAN 93.3 FM, Canajoharie; WANC 103.9 FM, Ticonderoga; WAMQ 105.1 FM, Great Barrington, MA; 93.1 FM, Troy; 88.9 FM, Oneonta; 107.7 FM, Newburgh, NY, and 91.9 Southington, CT. The station's programming can be heard in seven states and in Canada.
WFCR in Amherst is the local NPR affiliate and Chartock told Reminder Publications that "healthy competition within the ballpark of public radio is a good thing." He added that WAMC's signal has been in the area for "a very long time" and that the station receives contributions from listeners in Springfield and Wilbraham.
He noted that WFCR is installing repeater facilities in the Berkshires to better reach that area and the Albany, NY, region.
Unlike WFCR, whose format is largely classical music and jazz, WAMC features talk and news programs, many of which the station produces itself.
This arrangement is the first of its kind for both the College and the station.
"Western New England College's partnership with WAMC Northeast Public Radio exemplifies our tradition of inspiring our students to achieve excellence and to present to them models of excellence," said Dr. Anthony S. Caprio, president of Western New England College. "WAMC is a truly extraordinary public radio station, emerging as one of the finest in the nation. We look forward with enthusiasm to begin this partnership where our students will receive invaluable broadcasting and communications experience while contributing stories about our greater Springfield community to such a wide and diverse regional audience."