WLRA: Wikis


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WLRA Radio
City of license Romeoville, Illinois (former city of license was Lockport, Illinois)
Broadcast area Chicago metropolitan area and the Joliet, Illinois region
Branding Lewis University's WLRA Radio Station
Slogan Digital Radio, Press Start on 88.1FM WLRA
Frequency 88.1 MHz
First air date 1972
Format Variety
ERP 140 watts effective radiated power
HAAT 40.0 meters
Class A
Facility ID 37190
Transmitter coordinates 41°36′10.00″N 88°4′49.00″W / 41.60278°N 88.08028°W / 41.60278; -88.08028
Callsign meaning Lewis RAdio
Former callsigns WFJL, WLCL, WERA
Owner Lewis University
(College of Arts and Sciences - Communications Department)
Sister stations Lewis University Television Network
Webcast Listen Live
Website www.wlraradio.com

WLRA (88.1 FM) or sometimes called WLRA Radio, or WLRA-FM, is a college radio station broadcasting a Variety format. Licensed to Romeoville, Illinois, USA, the station serves the Chicago/greater Joliet region. The station is licensed to and owned by Lewis University.[1] Lewis University is a private Roman Catholic and Lasallian university with an enrollment around 5,200 students. The station is a member of the National Association of Broadcasters, Illinois Broadcaster's Association, and Broadcast Education Association.


Lewis University's radio station history


  • WFJL-FM -- (W - FJL - Frank J. Lewis) (93.1 FM Chicago) went on the air in 1947 until 1959 [1]. WFJL operated as a non-commercial station by Lewis College of Science and Technology (previous name of Lewis College, now Lewis University). Lewis College sold WFJL-FM in 1958 [2]. The new owners of WFJL-FM renamed the call letters to WSBC-FM - from 1959 to 1963, now it is called WXRT-FM. WFJL-FM, under the leadership of Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Most Rev.Bernard J. Sheil, DD of the Archdiocese of Chicago and General Manager Jerry Keefe, radio format consisted of religious, educational, news, talk, and CYO Boxing. WFJL's facilities were located at the Lincoln Tower Building, 75 East Wacker Drive, Chicago, 600 feet above the ground and had an effective radiated power of 29,000 watts.
  • WLCL-AM - (W - LCL - Lewis College Lockport) AM carrier current radio station on Lewis College, Lockport, Illinois campus. Located in Sheil Hall dormitory basement from its inception until 1971. Robert Feustal and Norb Bora are credited with the inception of WLCL-AM and college radio at Lewis.
  • WERA-AM - (W - ERA - WE're a RAdio station) was the renamed WLCL-AM carrier current radio station to match new FM station license - WERA-AM and WLRA-FM. Studios were built for the station in Fitzpatrick Hall dormitory basement in 1971.
  • WLRA-FM - (W - LRA - Lewis RAdio) went on the air in 1972 on 88.1 in mono, 250 watts of effective radiated power at 90 feet HAAT. WLRA is licensed as a non-commercial- educational radio station. In 1976 WLRA added stereo. Lewis University was annexed from Lockport to Romeoville, Illinois and WLRA's license reflected the change. Although Steve Partman was the first General Manager of WLRA Rado, Michael Berlak is credited with all the work getting WLRA licensed and moving its facilities to Fitzpatrick Hall - he graduated before the first broadcast on 88.1-FM in fall 1972.


As with most colleges, WLRA included, the music industry and musical tastes of the station's staff and the listening audience change with the times. Colleges and Universities have a diverse student population and audience. The college's radio station has the obligation to meet these challenges. As Cardinal John Henry Newman wrote: "to live is to change... and to be perfect is to have changed often". College radio stations pride themselves by promoting underplayed and under-represented forms of music, the obscure and unique - versus the mainstream. The college radio stations achieve this with the independent music labels and the College Media Journal[3].

WLRA Radio's diverse programming reflects a traditional college radio format known as variety presented in block style (2-4 hour show).

WLRA Radio, through its creative staff and leadership, has hosted many innovative radio programs over the years. These include an eclectic and Freeform, experimental college radio programming, weekly live radio talk shows, Lewis University Flyer sporting events from around the country, remote broadcasts, and community service events.

WLRA's current programming includes news and sports talk radio, coverage of Lewis University Flyer Sports, local high school football and basketball; music genre formats including: adult album alternative, alternative rock, hip hop, rap, rock and roll, blues, jazz, reggae, religious, country, seasonal Christmas music, and Latina-American cultural immersion.[2]

Beginning with the Fall 2008 semester, WLRA staffed 24 hour with students on air. The station also began introducing a new Saturday format called "The Island" which features calypso, reggae, and Caribbean rock music.

WLRA has broadcasted many radio remotes from as far away as Florida to cover Lewis Flyer Baseball, Las Vegas to broadcast "The Practice Squad" sports talk show; and also the National Association of Broadcasters Convention at the Comrex booth. The radio station has also done broadcast from The House of Blues in Chicago, Ditka's Restaurant in Chicago, and ESPN Zone in Chicago.

WLRA, with a commitment to community service, has produced marathon broadcasts for a local children's hospital[3] and Christmas music programming with the United Way of Will County. In March 2010, broadcasting student Marc Denson, with the assistance of his sidekick "Half-Man, Half-Amazing" Tony Lyen, broke the WLRA broadcast record with a 55 hour non-stop on-air marathon during "To Kill A DJ"[4]. The previous records were held by the following:

  • Broadcasting student Joey Preston, 48 hours, November 2009
  • Broadcasting student Mark Serratore, 45 hours, March 2009
  • Broadcasting student Joshua Bowen, 38 hours, November 2008
  • Broadcasting student Mark Serratore, 37 hours, March 2008
  • Broadcasting student Jason Brenski, 32 hours, 1993
  • Business student Edward Vucinic, 30 hours, 1983

The money raised goes to the Family Assistance Fund of Advocate Hope Children's Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois.

Promotion Slogans

  • You and 88 LRA
  • Stereo LRA
  • Eight Eighty One FM WLRA
  • The Lock - Lock 88
  • The Start - Digital Radio Press Start

Specialty Radio Shows

"The Island" features calypso, reggae, and Caribbean rock music (Friday Midnight - Sunday 3am)
"Un Poco de Todo" features Latina music from Brazil, indigenous, Afro-Caribbean (Sundays 8pm-9pm)
"Friday Night Lights" features local high school football games from the Joliet region (weekly - Friday 6pm-10pm)
"United Way of Will County's Christmas Memories for you and your Family" features religious and secular Christmas music (Thanksgiving until January, 24 hours a day)

Technical achievements

Lewis University's WLRA Radio was the first college radio station in the country to become digital. Lewis University received a digital radio project grant in the 1990s from a major communications corporation. The studios, music archives, music scheduling system, audio storage and retrieval systems (including an AES/EBU Audiovault serial number 001 and 002), audio consoles, cd players & recorders, minidisc players and recorders, and DAT), ISDN digital phone system, ISDN remote broadcast codecs, AES/EBU audio processing, AES/EBU broadcast delay, AES/EBU fm exciter, and transmitters were upgraded from analog to state of the art digital AES/EBU type I balanced and AES/EBU type II optical. The entire digital project was a joint venture with the Freberg Communications Corporation of Illinois, Harris Corporation of Florida, Pacific Research and Engineering of California, A-Ware Corporation[5] of Wisconsin, and Broadcast Electronics Corporation of Illinois. WLRA also added RDS Radio Data System to the FM transmission allowing information about the artist and song to be displayed on a radio tuned to 88.1-FM. Lewis University installed a self standing 250 foot radio tower and new digital IBOC or HD Radio ready ERI Rototiler[6] single bay fm antenna in 2000 adjacent to DeLaSalle Hall. WLRA increased the antenna height to 200 feet HAAT and had to reduce the effective radiated power to 140 watts. WLRA moved from the basement of Fitzpatick Hall dormitory basement to new studios and broadcasting center in December 2005. The new broadcasting facility was named the Andrew Center of Electronic Media at Lewis University. The state of the art broadcasting studios and transmitters are located in DeLaSalle Hall on the Lewis University Romeoville campus. In 2007 WLRA began streaming a simulcast of the station over the Internet and in 2009 mobile media APPs for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch [7]. WLRA uses an AES/EBU audio processing/encoder for their 128kbs and 64kbs bit streams.

WLRA departments

2009-2010 WLRA-FM radio station leadership:

Department Director
Office of The General Manager of WLRA Radio Mark Serratore
Office of Programming and Operations Brett Lyons
Office of Music Joe Nowaczyk
Office of News Courtney Everett
Office of Sports Joe Glatz
Office of Promotions and Marketing Bret Mega
Office of Production Josh Bowen
Office of The Chief of Engineering Mr. J. Freberg, MS
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Communications
Director's Office of
The Andrew Center of Electronic Media
Media Adviser of WLRA Radio
Mr. J. Carey, MScIS
Adjunct Associate Professor of Communications
Office of Broadcast Operations
Associate Director of Electronic Media
Media Adviser of Lewis University Television Network
Mr. J. W. Kilpatrick, MScIS
Adjunct Associate Professor of Communications
Director's Office of
Academic Radio/Television Broadcasting
and Broadcast Journalism
Dr. S. O. Enyia, EdD
Professor of Communications and Director
Chairman's Office of
College of Arts and Sciences Communications Department
Dr. D. Anderson, EdD
Professor of Communications and Department Chairman
Dean's Office of
College of Arts and Sciences
Dr. Bonnie Bondavalli, PhD, JD
College Dean
Provost's Office of
Lewis University
Dr. S. Schlacter, EdD
Provost of Lewis University
President's Office of
Lewis University
Br. J. Gaffney, FSC
President of Lewis University

Notable alumni

Lewis University radio station managers WFJL - WLCL - WERA - WLRA

WFJL-FM General Managers:

Years WFJL-FM General Manager
1947-1959 Most Rev. Bernard J. Sheil, DD
Auxiliary Bishop Archdiocese of Chicago

WLCL-AM General Managers:

Academic Years WLCL-AM General Manager
1965-1967 Robert Feustal

Norb Bora '67

1968 John McCrea '70

WERA-AM General Managers:

Academic Years WERA-AM General Manager
1969 John McCrea '70
1970-1971 Dennis Stork
1972 Michael Burlak

WLRA-FM General Managers:

Academic Years WLRA-FM General Manager
1973 Steve Partman '74
1974 Diane Drinka '75
1975 Joseph D. Vercelotti
1976 Robert Best
1977 James Boles '77
1978 John Mason '80
1979 Kate Dolan '80
1980 David O'Donnell '81
1981 Russell Tulacz '82
1982 Sandra Janicke

Edward Vucinic

1983 Paul Yedwofski '84

Martin Albert '84

1984 Sergio Cerda '

James Duda '85

1985 Lauria Skala '87
1986 Thomas Hehir '87
1987 John J. Sonnefeldt II '89
1988 Stanley Wysocki
1989 Anthony Musiala
1990 Calvert N. Coleman

Eric Wilson

1991 Christopher Thelan
1992 Kathy Holland
1993 Steven L. Jordan
1994 Renee Syzomonik
1995 Adam F. Schwake
1996 Candice Foiles
1997 Eugino Garcia
1998 Cindy M. Dardwin
1999 Gennin Bradley
2000 Mara Mishler
2001 Ryan Arnold
2002 Justin Greiner
2003 Patrick J. Brodnicki
2004 Peter J. Turano
2005 Carmen Madia
2006 R. Huff
2007 Justin Thomas '07
2008 Thomas Graham '08
2009 R. Brett Mega '10
2010 Mark Serratore '10

WLRA's memberships


External links



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