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Blugold Radio is on the air thanks to support from host of partners, collaborators

| Samantha West

At exactly midnight July 1, not only was it the start of a new month, but it was the very first time Scott Morfitt signed on to Blugold Radio, officially making 99.9 FM home to the Chippewa Valley’s first indie rock station. Not only will the station pump out an eclectic collection of the finest indie rock, it will provide UW-Eau Claire students yet another high-impact, educational opportunity.

Thanks to Mid-West Family Broadcasting's generous donation to the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, students will be able to complete their service-learning requirement and gain valuable internship opportunities working with a real radio station. The station, valued at approximately $1 million, was a wonderful gift that will keep on giving.

Although the station has already hired some of its staff and UW-Eau Claire students are already producing content and selecting music for the station, Morfitt, station manager, is looking forward to solidifying and expanding the station.

“What we’re doing is really testing out our boundaries as a station and making sure that we have the ability to be on the air 24/7,” Morfitt said. “Our goal is to … add more capabilities, to add more shows and fully rounded content.”

To do this, Morfitt hopes to incorporate three- to five-minute vignettes about being financially savvy and providing student news in the future.

For now, Morfitt said he is focusing on launching with local and national indie rock, which he said was missing from Chippewa Valley radio.

“As a radio consumer in this community, I’d say an indie station is super needed, and we’ve been hearing nothing but good feedback,” Morfitt said. “We’re already working on growing our capabilities to be a full, really good station that students can be a part of and have an active role in.”

The station’s transition from Greatest Hits 99.9 to Blugold Radio 99.9 was unique in comparison to other handoffs within radio, Morfitt said. The handoff was documented via a live video from the Greatest Hits 98.1 Facebook page.

“One of the most unique things about this is that I’ve never in the history of radio seen a handoff of a station between two organizations go smoothly and be so collaborative,” Morfitt said. “We have a really good working relationship as we’re launching with Mid-West Family Broadcasting – not only was their generosity just fantastic in giving us a station, it’s been just great in helping us get our feet on the ground and really getting our operations going. That video was really indicative of that … and it was both of our triumphs last night.”

Having worked toward this launch date since his start on the project at the end of March, Morfitt said seeing Blugold Radio go live has been incredibly exciting. Morfitt said the many collaborators and supporters of the project, including Mid-West Family Broadcasting, the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, Volume One, various departments and faculty members of the university and the team in Learning and Technology Services, are thrilled as well.

“This has been a labor of love for a lot of people since February,” Morfitt said. “There have been a lot of people working on this … So it’s fun; it’s exciting. I have butterflies.”

But what Morfitt is most thankful for, he said, is Eau Claire’s music scene, which makes having a station like this possible.

“If Eau Claire didn’t have such an amazing music scene, we wouldn’t be here,” Morfitt said. “We’re going back 20 to 30 years with our music selections, really delving into the sound of this place. I’m thankful to Eau Claire for making music for years and years without a radio station to play it on. I’m so thankful that we even get to fill out that role. This truly is a unique format and radio station.”

Don’t have a radio to tune into Blugold Radio with? No problem, get a smart phone radio tuner app. Otherwise, those who are without a radio won’t have too long to wait – On Aug. 1, Blugold Radio will begin streaming online.