Lights on, lights off: Blaze Radio

Mornings at the Bill Austin Radio Studio are often dull and quiet. Especially Friday mornings. On this one, the “On Air” sign hanging atop the entryway to the studio of Arizona State’s student radio station — Blaze Radio — can be seen unlit and unchanged.

Blaze Radio just celebrated its 39th birthday this past week, and members of the club streamed to ASU’s downtown Phoenix Sun Devil Fitness Center to assemble in celebration.

For one perusing the hallway of room 320 in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism’s third floor edit bay and studio, the sign atop the door to both sides of the studio stands as a signal of active or inactive dialogue.

Throughout the school week and during portions of the weekend, the light flashes on and students from across the country share various ideas, insights and interesting notes spanning a range of topics. An uninformed observer can walk by “the Bill” as some call it, and know that two — or more — students are engaged in a thoughtful (or maybe jovial) discourse. But that’s as much insight as the light provides.

From the outside looking in, a tinted yellow “On Air,” sign provides just that. The recognition that someone is speaking live into a microphone being broadcast to the student body outside and anyone listening on the station’s website. It serves more as a warning sign. A “hey, don’t be so loud,” or, “hey, don’t enter yet,” alert for those standing outside the rooms.

The nation’s fourth-ranked college radio station according to bestcolleges.com, Blaze Radio provides hours of coverage weekly to ASU students. While the sign outside tells you little about which shows are on, conversations ranging from news to music to sports provide a Pandora’s box of options inside.

Those who get inside and turn the light on unlock a level of responsibility not to be taken lightly. With FCC requirements to remember, the words echoing through the bushes of Taylor Mall and over the internet airwaves are important. Whether it’s responsibility, opportunity or anything else, the light above “the Bill” represents different things for different folks. Most importantly, it’s a reminder.

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