Tuesday, April 28, 2020

WLSO 90.1 FM: A Look Back In The Wayback Machine, Part 6 (2011-2013)

Here is the sixth and penultimate entry in our retrospective mini-series on WLSO 90.1 FM, Lake Superior State University's long-time campus radio station, as told through the eyes of The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, now with a big assist from Facebook! We're now into the home stretch for WLSO's run on terrestrial radio, but there is a lot to say, even here! Remember, give LSSU's current internet radio stream a listen while reading and exploring the links below to effectively set the mood.

Following the gradual disuse of their 2008-2011 website layout, WLSO launched their final version of their http://wlso.lssu.edu homepage in December 2011, but predating this was the station's official Facebook page in September, which saw more frequent usage when both were regularly maintained. A Twitter page and a few different video streams were also launched around this time, though these have since been deleted. On Facebook, WLSO advertised the September 2011 debut of their American Top 40 Music Countdown show (hosted by Kevin Palmer & Aaron) on Sundays at 12:00 PM, while Aaron also hosted the Saturday Night Rock Show that semester at 6:00 PM, and the station starting increasing their coverage of LSSU sports teams. That fall, the station also launched a recording studio, and continued sponsoring on-campus events. The new website linked above wouldn't see substantial backups until 2012, but seven diverse albums are listed as being in heavy rotation as of that autumn.

In the spring 2012 semester, WLSO welcomed the rock/oldies program The Jimmy Bones Show (with Facebook page) on weekdays at 6:00 PM, who notably gave away tickets for the My Darkest Days concert at Kewadin Casino that April, and even interviewed the band on-air the day of the concert! Various other shows were advertised on Facebook and their website's schedule then, such as the 2011-debuting Mad Mix, though genre descriptions haven't survived on either source, and the website schedule did not list everything plugged on Facebook, such as the rock/rap Mid-Morning Wake Up on weekdays at 10:00 AM. Along with changing albums in rotation (viewable at this link), WLSO's website in the spring 2012 semester saw a poll on genres you'd like to see more of that year, plus details on their latest staff searches, and the top 10 albums of 2011 by then-station manager Mark Other and music director Baby G, both of whom leaned towards indie and pop music.

WLSO took one last stab at message boards starting in late 2011 on their website, this time entirely hosted through their website, and now geared towards specific shows like Endless Summer and Serious Biz, though only Hot Probz saw any real fan usage, with it's last archived posting in May 2012. By that fall, 90.1 FM resumed active non-autoplay operations, with Citizen Gage added as music director, though most Facebook updates that semester referenced the station's live broadcasting and coverage of LSSU sporting events. While absent from Facebook advertising at that time, music-related shows like the returning The Attic, The Basement, And Beyond (Mondays at 8:00 PM), Hole In The Sky (Thursdays at 9:00 PM), and Good Vibes (Fridays at 7:00 PM) aired in the fall 2012 semester. As well, the station went fully digital with new professional equipment during upgrades in the 2012-2013 winter season, as per their website's last "About" page and Facebook postings.

The station's official website saw it's last substantive updates in 2013, primarily to the front page, including a listener request for mp3 files to add to their library, teasers of "the new WLSO" coming soon with staff, music, and sports coverage upgrades, and an end-of-2012 batch of top ten lists of music the world can't live without, courtesy of then-DJs (Ted the PD's will appeal most to metalheads). The last post there was to post their (unarchived) fall 2013 schedule, and though wlso.lssu.edu remained online until 2017, it was no longer actively used after 2013, leaving their Facebook page as their de facto website for the station's final years at 90.1 FM. Updates on Facebook in the spring & summer of 2013 mostly revolved around campus events and staff hires, with John Orttenburger then serving as WLSO's station manager. That September, the station openly asked for local alternative & indie bands to send in material for their rotation, and they also upgraded their DJ booth that fall, as revealed in this Facebook video that John uploaded.

One notable new program to air on WLSO in the fall of 2013 was Classic Rock Nights, hosted by Gerard Guysky, which ran on Tuesdays at 8:00 PM through the spring 2014 semester. A few episode themes survive on that show's Facebook page, and even a couple of episode playlists, so this is definitely worth checking out for old listeners and genre fans. The other show from this period with a surviving Facebook page is Soo Sports Talk, which aired on Wednesdays at 1:00 PM from the fall of 2012 through the spring of 2014, as hosted by Adam Bishop & Eddie Maxon. The show was devoted to LSSU, Detroit professional, and Division 1 NCAA Michigan sports teams. Other shows that aired in the fall of 2013 included The Canadian Invasion (Mondays & Fridays at 11:00 AM), Drop Beats Not Bombs with DJ Calyso (Mondays at 2:00 PM), Rock Around the Block with Mariah Erard (Wednesdays at 4:00 PM), and Reinert Rock (Wednesdays at 9:00 PM), among various others.

A December 2013 update hinted that then-music director Erica Smith was adding even more music to target genres and playlists as their new senior staff got more experience, with "a BIG event" expected for the spring 2014 semester, while the station had begun more of a merchandise push that fall with t-shirt and window cling giveaways, and there was more where that came from, but we'll focus on that next time. I am currently forecasting that the next installment of this series will be the last, as we look at WLSO from 2014 until the present internet radio era, so look for that in the coming days, and for more news and notes on the site soon! Thanks everyone!

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