Athens-based college radio station, WUOG 90.5, helped Ellen Hardin discover a new favorite band: Fake Flowers.
In her first two months of college, Hardin has been directly exposed to multiple Athens-based bands. “The first three weeks of school, I went to two shows—I saw Fake Flowers, Scooterbabe, Wieuca and Stay at Home Dad. I went to the 40 Watt and the Caledonia Lounge.” Hardin says she would not have gone to these venues if it were not for volunteering at WUOG.
WUOG is owned by The University of Georgia, but is completely staffed, operated and funded by UGA students out of the Tate Student Center.
According to the WUOG website, the station is supported “mainly through student activity dollars,” and the radio station’s budget is “supplemented by underwriting from local businesses as well as donations from alumni.”
Hardin, 18, is a freshman biological science major from Woodstock, Georgia. She first heard about WUOG at the UGA Orientation Student Activities Fair last summer. She said that after orientation, she received an email from someone on staff at the station, and decided to attend a meeting to see if she was interested.
“I missed the first meeting, but my friend told me I really had to go, that I’d like it, so I decided to go to the second one,” said Hardin. She ended up at the Local Music staff meeting on the second Monday night of the school year.
“After the meeting, I really wanted to do Local Music specifically. It seemed a lot more personal and genuine, than just generic music,” Hardin said. “The group for Local Music was a lot smaller than the other groups, and the people seemed to know each other better,” said Hardin.
New WUOG volunteers are immediately immersed in the Athens music scene. “When freshmen start off at WUOG, they review bands for a semester,” said Hardin.
Local Music Director, Jonny Williams, chooses which albums and artists the volunteers review each week. “We have to listen to the albums a few times through and check for curse words,” Hardin says. “Then we write a paragraph or two about each album—some information and recommended tracks to play— and send it to Jonny.”
The station’s music philosophy, found on WUOG.org, says WUOG is “designed to help new and independent artists gain exposure on campus, in Athens, and throughout the nation.”
WUOG has monthly Live in the Lobby programs featuring local bands chosen by Williams. The bands set up in the WUOG lobby to perform a live show that is also featured on air. Reptar and R.E.M., both popular bands that gained momentum in the Classic City, have performed for the program.
“A lot of subdivisions of WUOG can go toward raising awareness of local bands,” said Hardin, “Everyone there is always boosting local shows and concerts, always saying, ‘Go check out this or that band.’”
Her experience at WUOG so far has even affected her daily music routine. “Now I find myself searching Athens bands on Spotify, and looking up shows for bands I review for the station,” said Hardin.
All UGA students are eligible to volunteer for WUOG if they are full-time students, or part-time students who have paid the semester student activities fee. For more information on joining the Local Music staff at WUOG, contact the Local Music Director, Jonny Williams (firstname.lastname@example.org), or attend the weekly meetings on Mondays at 6:15 p.m. in the WUOG lobby on the third floor of the Tate Student Center.