A Texas A&M student's class project has hit the airwaves thanks to a new partnership with Bryan Broadcasting.
The radio group, which manages seven stations in the area, granted access to a student-run, HD radio station named "Fusion FM" to the agricultural communication and journalism program at A&M.
Tucker Young, operations manager at Bryan Broadcasting and a mentor for Fusion, said the partnership will provide an opportunity to gain experience in the industry.
"Students in this field don't have a lot of opportunities to find experience until they get an entry-level job," Young said. "This will provide an outlet to learn real-time skills and gain connections in the industry."
Billy McKim, an assistant professor in agricultural leadership, education and communications, required his Radio 1 class to present a radio station concept in the fall of 2014. Caitlin Curbello, who graduated earlier this year, presented a one-hour mock program of her mixed-rock station.
Members of Bryan Broadcasting, including Young, visited the class to critique the projects. Curbello said Young was impressed with her idea.
"Apparently, this format was something he has been trying to materialize for a while," Curbello said. "He jumped on it, and it grew into something big."
Fusion, which launched Sept. 24, features a mix of indie, alternative, folk and classic rock, with the occasional addition of hip-hop, oldies and electronic dance music, Curbello said. Listeners can expect to hear everything from Lupe Fiasco and Foo Fighters to Awolnation and The Eagles.
After throwing around genre titles, Young, Curbello and McKim chose the term "divergent rock."
"We first decided on alternative rock, but agreed that it was more than that. It encompassed too many genres," Curbello said. "When [McKim] suggested the name 'divergent rock,' it just clicked. It was like going against the grain, going down its own path."
Curbello, who had no previous experience before the radio class, was hired by Young as the special project liaison for Fusion. She oversees production and is on-call if anything goes wrong.
Young said Bryan Broadcasting will benefit from the collaboration with students.
"We needed ideas from someone who is brand new," Young said. "The industry is doing the same thing all the time. We get fresh ideas when we listen to the younger generation and open up to people who aren't inside the industry."
Students enrolled in radio broadcasting, photography and media sales classes will have the opportunity to contribute and manage the station, Curbello said. This includes designing graphics for the website, selling advertisements to local businesses, managing social media and serving as deejays.
"There are still a lot of moving parts to this, but I have received support and momentum from all angles," Curbello said. "I am appreciative of this opportunity to bridge that experimental gap between students and the industry."