by Cedarville Magazine
Since 1989, Cedarville University has had a student-run radio station that serves as a learning laboratory of sorts for broadcasting and digital media students from the Department of Communication. WSRN or Resound Radio? AM or FM? On air or online? How did you listen as a student? Over the years, musical styles, technology, and even the name have changed, but two things have remained the same: Students are equipped to use their craft for the glory of God, and Jim Leightenheimer ’80 has been at the helm, teaching, encouraging, and mentoring all the way.
CM: How did Resound Radio get its start? What was the motivation behind it?
JL: Student radio started as an independent study when I was a Cedarville College broadcasting student in the late 1970s. My professor (Wes Baker, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Communication) assigned the project of conducting a feasibility study of a student radio station on Cedarville’s campus. The desire was motivated by the need for students, at all academic levels, to be able to apply the knowledge and to practice the skills that they were gaining in classes. When I was hired as a faculty member in 1982, I was charged with working to bring the station into being. The result is what we now call Resound Radio.
CM: What need does the station fill on campus?
JL: Resound provides practical experience for students enrolled in the broadcasting and digital media major and for students from many other majors to practice the skills of communication. The station functions with the mission of training Christians to serve Christ in the media while serving students, faculty, and staff with programming designed to build them up in the spirit of Ephesians 4:29, our station verse.
CM: How has Resound evolved over the years?
JL: We started with a few students working with the faculty advisor (me) and have developed to the point where we have a pool of alumni — all experienced on-air professionals — who have also generously built into students’ professional lives as volunteer mentors/coaches.
CM: How has Resound kept up with changes in the industry?
JL: We have adapted our methods of delivering the signal to the listener based on developments in technology and changes in how and where people listen. We’ve moved from AM to FM, FM to streaming, and have developed apps. We have been blessed by a supportive administration that has made studio technology upgrades to hardware and software that allow us to have state-of-the-art facilities. We also provide the audience with the type of programming that research indicates they desire. An example is the development this year of the “1,000 Days” podcast available at resoundradio.com.
CM: How does working at Resound prepare students for the future?
JL: Working at Resound prepares many students to hit the ground running in a radio station or network by gaining experience in on-air work, production, promotions, visual and social media, programming, and following and leading as part of a team.
CM: What impact has Resound had on campus and in the community?
JL: There have been many accounts from listeners, on and off campus (internationally, too), of how a song played or a word spoken by a student host has been used by the Lord to meet a particular need in a life. I believe that our students learn that God sets appointments for us to meet with the music that we play and with the words that we speak.
CM: How have you seen Resound provide opportunities to mentor/disciple students?
JL: I have had the privilege to mentor many students over the years. God has allowed me to help them discover their gifts and apply them in media, encourage them through academic and life challenges, help them connect with stations and networks for jobs, and stay connected as they launch careers and families.
CM: Do you have a favorite memory from your work with Resound?
JL: There are so many that it is hard to pick one. My favorite memories are of the times that I saw the Lord help students realize their gifts (light bulb moments) and then apply them at the student radio station and after graduation at stations and networks around the country.
CM: What do you see for the future of Resound Radio?JL: I trust that the Lord will continue to help us accomplish our mission of training students to serve Christ in the media while we grow and serve our audience. I pray that God will send more students with a vision to influence culture through radio/media and that we will continue to stay current with technological changes that are bound to come.