The concept of creating a zine has long been a topic of discussion at campus radio station WMUC. The station hasn’t put one out since 1996, so for most, it seemed like more of a running gag than a feasible idea.
This semester, however, WMUC’s communications department staff members Maddi Rihn and Sabrina Li, who also works for The Diamondback, were determined to follow through with the project. The result, “Revival,” is a short digital publication featuring music reviews, playlists, articles, poetry, photography and art from students in the WMUC community.
Li and Rihn assembled a team of four editors, consisting of themselves, Quinn Dang, a junior microbiology major, and Cassiel Arcilla, a sophomore English and studio art major. The editors, with help from other WMUC staff members, gathered submissions and laid out the pages in Adobe Illustrator and InDesign.
“I had never tried to make a zine before, but I really enjoyed it,” Dang said. “I had to learn a lot about InDesign as I was working on it, so it was really fun to have that new experience of taking submissions and other peoples’ art and putting them all together so they have a conversation with each other on the page.”
Though it was hard work to create the zine from scratch, Dang was overjoyed to see the final product come together.
“We call it ‘editing hell week,’ where every night we met for an hour or more — all of the editors — and we showed our progress, and then we gave feedback to each other,” they said. “It was pretty grueling just to have one week where we were staying up doing that every night. It was worth it, though.”
Maddie Redding, a junior international business and theatre major and WMUC’s programming director, is excited the station had enough support to finally undertake this project.
“This isn’t something that one person can do. It was really a group effort and a community effort,” she said. “We have a lot of issues with attendance to our teams sometimes, so it was a great feeling to see so many people excited to do work for a WMUC project.”
Redding especially appreciates how much effort the communications team put into the publication because it made the process less intimidating for other contributors.
“The comms team at WMUC is really wonderful because we have people … who are really dedicated to the work,” she said. “And you didn’t have to be as involved as them — you could just submit things.”
Redding thinks it’s important for WMUC to branch out beyond its typical radio programming to connect with more of the student body, especially during the pandemic when many are feeling isolated.
“I believe college radio isn’t just the radio content you put out — you want to create a safe space for artists to do their art and for communities to say what they need to say, and one way is programming and shows,” she said. “But that’s not for everyone, so I think it’s really important and wonderful that we were able to create a zine, and that we’re able to do events and reach out to the community to make people feel safe and included.”
The zine will also act as a time capsule that future WMUC staff members and other students can reference to see what was happening at the station in fall 2020.
“It’s so interesting to look back in the archives and see what the station was like in ’95 and ’96. What was important? What projects were they working on?” Redding said. “We wanted to start this zine, for one, because we’re creating better relationships with the university archives, so we’re hoping to store any of our visual content we make there.”
Redding and Dang say the zine has received enthusiastic feedback since its release.
“What I most love to hear is when the people who submitted stuff are like ‘wow, I like what you ended up doing with the zine and our stuff,’” Dang said.
Though WMUC staff are unsure when the next zine will be released, Redding says students should keep an eye out for future submissions.
“It’s still up in the air, but we would love people to contribute in the future and join our communications team, because they do awesome work,” she said.