Beloved Local Radio Station Impact 89 FM Wins National Award

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Photo courtesy of George Pham.

Sparty poses with Impact's 2021 Michigan Station of the Year award inside the station.

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM, which produces and airs East Lansing Info’s weekly East Lansing Insider program, has won the 2021 College Media Association Four-Year College Radio Station of the Year Pinnacle Award. The station was recognized at a virtual ceremony on Oct. 15.

Impact serves as the student-run radio station at Michigan State University, and it has aired 24/7 since 1989. In the last 20 years, it has been recognized as the Michigan College Radio Station of the Year 17 times.

“I’m so proud to see our student staff recognized at the highest national level,” the station’s general manager Jeremy Whiting told ELi. “They do incredible work, and it means a lot to our community at Michigan State University and the entire Lansing market.”

ELi began working with Impact this spring, when Whiting suggested that ELi produce a weekly podcast so that it could air on Impact on Sunday morning for a 30-minute segment. ELi’s Publisher Alice Dreger says the partnership is a natural, as it furthers ELi’s long-standing goal of promoting local young people’s engagement in factual journalism.

ELi’s news segment is now a regular part of a Sunday morning news lineup. Impact also airs news segments from the State News and City Pulse, in addition to music and sports coverage.

Our first episode with Impact aired in June 2021 and has continued every week since then, bringing our work to a wider audience both on the air and via the recorded podcast. Each week, the ELi team records a segment with members of our reporting staff and local newsmakers, and the students at Impact edit our work.

For most of our run, MSU student Dylan Burg has done that production work. Burg tells ELi he is excited that he and the rest of his team have been recognized with a national award.

“I have been working at Impact since the start of Summer of 2021, and I have loved everybody both on staff and volunteers that I work with,” Burg told ELi. “Impact is a very friendly and nurturing environment where everyone is passionate about what they do and always very welcoming to newcomers that plant their seeds here.”

“I believe it is very important to constantly learn and grow yourself as a person in whatever you do, and Impact has given me another basket to put my eggs in before I graduate in the spring,” he continued.

As for the ongoing collaboration with ELi, Burg had this to say, “I am no stranger to editing video, but ELi has given me an opportunity to enhance [my skills] at editing podcasts which has been great for me.”

“We are so appreciative of all the hard work put in by the Impact team and grateful for the partnership,” said Dreger. “Impact’s award recognition is most definitely well deserved.”

You can find our previous podcast episodes and short synopses here.

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