WZND alters operations due to COVID-19
Written by sssuess on March 13, 2020
Given the events of the last week and Illinois State University’s emergency procedures, we have made significant changes to the operations of WZND radio. WZND’s Management Council came to these decisions with the safety of both WZND interns and the entire community in mind. In crisis situations, media – particularly radio – is a first responder for information to the community.
WZND will remain on-air on 103.3 FM and online at wznd.com, but we will be operating in a limited capacity until at least April 12. In all of the decisions made, the WZND Management Council sought to balance the station’s duty to the public, the educational value of the WZND experience, and the safety of our student interns. With this in mind, WZND has chosen to take the following steps during the university’s emergency procedures.
First and foremost, WZND takes its role as a communication tool for public safety extremely seriously. Public service announcements about the Illinois State University response to COVID-19 will air every hour on 103.3 FM and wznd.com. WZND also plans to have talent talking about news surrounding the virus and proactive steps people can use to remain healthy. The Illinois State University response to COVID-19 is prominently linked as the first menu item option online at WZND.com, and students will be posting regular news stories about the virus.
WZND will continue to broadcast with a limited schedule and staff. To limit student face-to-face contact, Wake Up Normal, New Music Monday, Flashback Friday, and The Redzone will be replaced with regular WZND programming. Many of WZND’s regular on-air talent will not be featured during this emergency period because they have been displaced from campus due to the closure of university housing.
WZND will cease on-air news updates; however, student journalists at WZND will continue to provide up-to-the-minute news coverage on COVID-19, the Illinois Primary Election, and other events online at WZND.com. The previously scheduled Bird’s-I-View profiling successful women in McLean County will now be a large feature story on WZND.com. This content will be shared on WZND’s social media channels to easily reach both our audience and concerned parties.
As the flagship station for Redbird Baseball and Softball, WZND will attempt to honor that obligation with Illinois State University Athletics. As of Thursday March 12, Redbird Athletics has postponed all baseball and softball contests until at least March 30. Any broadcasts between April 1 and April 12 will be performed solo to avoid extended face-to-face contact. It’s possible that Redbird Athletics may cancel more of these games, but should these games be played, WZND will attempt to broadcast as many as possible with limited staff and resources.
Anyone with questions regarding the operation of WZND during the university’s emergency procedures should contact Faculty Advisor Steve Suess.