WREK Radio, the student owned and operated radio station on campus has been facing several problems over the past few months originating from equipment damage due to a burst water pipe later winter.
The organization used to store its equipment in the Alexander Memorial Coliseum when last December, a steam pipe burst and damaged much of the equipment. Since then, the organization has had trouble covering the costs of the damage ,and has had difficulty finding storage space for archival records and equipment.
As of earlier this week, the organization has not yet received any reimbursement for its insurance claim. WREK has been forced to cover storage costs from out of pocket and has had difficulty replacing broken and destroyed equipment. This has hindered WREK’s music selection and operating space, making it difficult for the organization to perform its function effectively.
Since the pipe burst over winter break, the facilities department did not discover the mishap for several days. The equipment was subjected to several days of hot water and steam as a result.
The damage affected a large portion of the equipment stored, including reel to reel machines and a digital audio tape (DAT) machine. Multiple other pieces of electronic equipment and music records were destroyed. This has led to a great hindrance of WREK’s song selection and playback capabilities. For example, the reel to reel machines were damaged, preventing playback of old recordings of shows and live performances.
Thomas Shanks, a CS graduate student and chief engineer of WREK stated that due to the seepage of steam facilities decided that the room was unusable. As a result, WREK lost its storage space, and was forced to move the equipment to their office and pay out of pocket to store equipment off campus. Without being reimbursed for the damages, WREK has been unable to repair or replace new equipment. In addition, the staff has experienced trouble with some of the old records and tapes damaging newer equipment.
“Recently, two pieces of our new equipment failed and the old ones were ruined so we couldn’t use them,” said Shanks.
WREK has also been forced to store some their equipment including turntables, records and CD players in their office on the second floor of the Student Involvement Center.
Off-campus storage has proved neither affordable nor accessible. Also, many of the labels were damaged during the incident and the staff had difficulty figuring out where each record is located.
Donald Pitts, the manager of Student Publications and Media said that the Department of Insurance Services and Risk Management are moving forward with the insurance claim.
WREK is hoping to receive the claim soon as possible and replace some of the ruined equipment. Currently, it is projected that WREK will receive its claim by the end of this calendar year.
With the money, WREK hopes to invest in converting the affected tapes into a digital format and recovering some of the data. Their biggest concern however, remains getting a storage space on campus. They are hoping that facilities can provide them with another space on campus to store old equipment and records.
“The Facilities department needs to find us a space at least half the size [of the previous space],” Shanks said.