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LIVE ON AIR: Redhawk Radio

Connor Donaldson and Karsen Davidson recruit new members for RedHawk Radio at fall Megafair.
Connor Donaldson and Karsen Davidson recruit new members for RedHawk Radio at fall Megafair.

RedHawk Radio, formally known as WMSR, has been a part of the Miami University community since the 1980s. 

Shows were initially broadcast over Channel 14 on the TV, playing the greatest hits on CDs and vinyl. Broadcasts are now published online at, where the organization produces several shows daily. 

“It's where I met all of my closest friends, and it has been super cool to meet a group generally interested in the entertainment industry,” said Mary Hines, a senior media and culture and political science double major.

Joe Sampson, senior clinical professor of journalism, is an alumnus of both Miami and RedHawk Radio. 

“When I was a student here, the internet didn’t exist, and the radio had a very different role in people's lives,” Sampson said. “ In today's world, you have so many options for entertainment because you have everything on your phone, which makes it difficult for student media organizations.”

Sampson's show in the ‘90s was called “Afternoon on Disco Mountain,” where he would play all the latest and greatest disco music of the ‘70s. Now, you’re more likely to find reviews on “The Golden Bachelor” and Olivia Rodrigo's “Guts,” but at the end of the day the core idea of the radio persists.

Photo by Mia Zurich | The Miami Student
A poster from RedHawk Radio's earlier days.

Even though RedHawk Radio has had many flourishing years, recently, it has been struggling since newer generations aren’t as drawn to the radio as their primary source of entertainment.

“Especially for RedHawk Radio, your generation doesn’t listen to the radio like mine,” Sampson said. “So, when people ask me about the radio in the ’80s and ’90s compared to today, it's apples and oranges.”

 The club persists regardless of the decline in listenership, with many members still enthusiastic about using the club as a creative outlet. 

“The radio has allowed me to turn my love for listening to music into a hobby and when everyone is sharing music and getting excited over hearing new songs, you feel a part of something,” Hines said.

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Hines, who is also the general manager of RedHawk Radio, co-hosts a show with Connor Donaldson, a fourth-year primary education major and business manager of RedHawk Radio. The show, called “The Debrief,” is where they talk about the best music to listen to when doing your daily activities.

If that’s not your speed, you could tune in to “Talking Points” hosted by Ethan Kalb to hear what's going on in the world of sports, while die-hard Swifties may want to check out “Swiftie Studio Sessions.” 

Even though the team’s spirits stay high through this period for the radio, the issue of making the budget remains. The decrease of listenership makes it more difficult for the team to produce as many events and shows as it would like.

“It comes down to money and the available resources for us to make our shows,” Donaldson said. “We used to be able to put on concerts at Armstrong and other significant events that were heavily student-body centered. Still, with the decrease in listenership, as well as Miami not seeing the radio as a priority over some sports and financed-based organizations, it is harder to get the funding.”

Still, RedHawk Radio soldiers on and is always looking for new members and those interested in the medium. 

“Join for the right reasons. It's fun, it's a good experience,” Sampson said. “There are a lot of transferable skills that you gain working on the radio, interpersonal skills, and working collaboratively with others. Thinking on your feet, public speaking, I could rattle off a whole host of things.”

The community surrounding the radio is tight-knit and a place where students with shared interests can meet – one of the factors that drives the radio to continue. The best way for students to support the organization: Take a couple of minutes from your day and tune in to RedHawk Radio.