Back (L–R): Nathan Cheng, Jeff Smith, Tom Wehtje; Front (L–R): Carlene Roper, Teddy Weithers. [Darren Heslop]
Broadcasting from the campus of Andrews University, the 50,000-watt station airs high quality classical music programming, news updates, local features and concerts.
The station curates a catalog of more than 30,000 pieces of music, creating playlists for each hour of the day. Along with music, WAUS plays “Your Story Hour” and the Pioneer Memorial Church worship service on weekends and frequently broadcasts local symphony performances. In collaboration with Glenn Russell, the Andrews University Department of Religion & Biblical Languages and the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, the station also produces Scriptural Pursuit, a 30-minute Bible study dialog that is the longest-running weekly program at WAUS.
“The WAUS audience is a very eclectic and discerning cohort of fans of all kinds of music, but especially western art/classical music. They come from all walks of life,” says Jeff Smith, general manager of WAUS. To connect with their audience, the station annually sponsors a free Sunday Summer Concert Series at Fernwood Botanical Gardens. The station has financial support from Andrews University, listener members and local businesses. “We are proud to have both serious and casual music ‘lovers and likers’ as our listeners and members,” Smith says. “There is room for everyone.”
Smith, who has been associated with the station for almost 35 years in many roles, took over as general manager at the beginning of 2023. An ordained minister and a broadcaster, he enjoys working in the intersection of music and ministry. “I have loved WAUS since my first time on the microphone in August of 1989,” he says. “I love the gathering of passionate people around a common goal. We are blessed with a dedicated staff who constantly push for excellence, plus we benefit from the energy and vitality of the students we get to invest in every year.”
WAUS has six full-time staff members, along with six to eight student workers each school year. The team includes Teddy Weithers, membership and marketing director; Chelsea Lake, programming and music director; Nathan Cheng, technical director; Carlene Roper, account executive; and Tom Wehtje, office assistant. “For us, it’s a tremendous opportunity to be part of people’s daily lives in a basic and meaningful way,” says Smith.
Smith sees WAUS as deeply aligned with Andrews University’s mission to “Seek Knowledge. Affirm Faith. Change the World.” He notes that the radio station plays a vital role in connecting the Andrews campus with the local community and looks forward to fostering the station’s continued growth in the future, stating, “We always want to engage the audience and strengthen our partnerships in the community. We are ‘Your Classical Connection,’ and we want to keep that connection strong. Connection to great music? Certainly. But also connection to Andrews University and the message of hope we are charged to share.”
To learn more about WAUS, visit waus.org.
Isabella Koh, University Communication student writer, Andrews University