Strouf honored by WBA
For the City Times
STEVENS POINT – Running a radio station 24/7 while a full-time student is challenging on its own; now add COVID into the mix.
Alex Strouf, UWSP senior and WWSP station manager, said the challenge made him, and 90FM, better.
“With COVID, everything changed so fast,” he said.
“Our main goal was to safely operate a 24/7/365 station in the middle of a pandemic.”
As COVID emerged, Strouf arranged an extended interview on air with Dr. Helen Luce, UWSP Student Health Service medical director. He and his staff provided programming and created several public service announcements about COVID-19. They ensured WWSP was a key communication channel for the campus and community.
Strouf worked with university officials to adopt sanitization practices early and implemented safety protocols the station continues to follow. With donated disposable masks, they implemented a mask mandate before it became campus-wide policy.
“It was really important as a leader to make the right choices, not under- or over-react. We did, and we are operating at a higher level than ever before,” he said.
WWSP was one of few campus radio stations that remained on air through COVID. Many suspended broadcasting between March 2020 and fall or later, as universities, states and the nation shifted to remote work and limited in-person gatherings.
The station was also one of few UW-Stevens Point student organizations that continued when campuses shifted to virtual learning after spring break in 2020. Many of the station’s student volunteers stayed home, and staffing was stretched thin, Strouf said. They met virtually, worked through operational challenges and addressed individual concerns.
“We adapted, grew and completely changed some roles,” Strouf added.
“I believe it is important for students to still have a hands-on experience and a location on campus to have fun and learn, despite the circumstances. I can happily say we have safely done that.”
This is one reason Strouf received the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Student Leadership Award this month, the highest student honor WBA gives.
“As a result of Alex’s leadership, the executive staff understands and respects each other’s strengths and job roles, working together to make the station better while learning and crafting their broadcast skills,” Steve Suehring, WWSP faculty adviser and general manager, said. “Alex has an open and transparent leadership style, promoting inclusivity and giving everyone a voice. Alex is not afraid to take on challenging situations and solicits feedback regularly.”
“Being a great team isn’t about having a bunch of people who are the same,” Strouf said. “It is about people that can bring the best out of each other.”
The 90FM team won eight other WBA awards ranging from sports and news writing to long-form documentary.