Geek, gaming culture prevalent on 88.7 airwaves

Zach Trueblood

Staff Writer

Geek and nerd pop culture has permeated society as of late and although these them

Photo by Deane Geiken | Parkland College Parkland students Wes Stites (left) and Jason Haye (right) co-host the radio show “Afternoon Delight” on 88.7 WPCD, Parkland College’s radio station.

Photo by Deane Geiken | Parkland College
Parkland students Wes Stites (left) and Jason Hayes (right) co-host the radio show “Afternoon Delight” on 88.7 WPCD, Parkland College’s radio station.

es, concepts, and ideas have always been there for those looking for them, becoming mainstream is more of a recent occurrence.

The Entertainment Software Rating Board found that 67 percent of households owned videogames in the United States back in 2009. Statista.com forecasts the videogame industry to generate around 115 billion dollars in revenue in 2015.

“There is no difference between the guy who can quote football and baseball stats, as there is to the guy who can quote rules in a roleplaying game, board game, or videogame. One is just more socially accepted than the other and that’s kind of unfair,” Deane Geiken the radio director here at Parkland, stated.

Geiken is an avid gamer, both in board games and video games. He hosts his own morning show on 88.7 titled “Geeking with Geiken.”

“My show is maybe a little bit more serious, they’re all serious, but I like to get into the deeper parts of being a geek,” Geiken said.

88.7 WPCD FM is Parkland College’s own radio station. As director, Geiken feels that this year the station has a bit more of a geeky slant to it- whether that’s in the shows or the DJs themselves.

88.7 also has two other shows centered around geek, gaming, and pop culture. One of those is “Afternoon Delight” hosted by Jason Hayes and Wes Stites. The other is “The Rugged Nerd” hosted by Ryan Marshall and Tommy Tracy.

Stites and Hayes’ show Afternoon Delight was started when both were students and in a communications class that required air-time. They bonded over the fact that both loved videogames.

“We went about five years from when we were students to when we restarted the show this past year,” Hayes said. “I was kind of throwing the idea around with Deane about doing the show again and our work schedules finally allowed time.”

“Afternoon Delight” covers new, existing, and past games. Hayes is a retro videogame collector and Stites plays the more current games. The show is pebbled with informative bits about the games themselves accompanied with banter between the two. Sometimes this banter stems from a fierce rivalry due to Hayes being a Cubs fan and Stites being a Cardinals fan.

Marshall and Tracy’s show “The Rugged Nerd” has similar aspects to “Afternoon Delight” but delves into current news revolving around videogame and geek culture. Both are in the Communications 142 class that requires on-air time.

“We met through work and it really just started out with us chatting about videogames. It’s evolved more into the broad scope of nerd culture,” Marshall said.

Tracy believed that the ease of connecting with other gamers has improved over the years.

“Growing up in the 90’s you’d play your favorite game and do something awesome but you’d have to wait until school the next day to share it with all your friends. Now it’s so much easier to connect with other gamers online,” Tracy said.

Gaming has evolved over the years and become widely accessible by many people. Many students at Parkland are gamers in one way or another. The struggle to find a balance between school and gaming can be difficult at times.

“Gaming can take up a lot of your time but they should be students first. I’ve still been toying around with the idea of making a gaming club but when you try to organize and structure games, that’s the hardest thing to do because gaming is supposed to be fun,” Geiken stated.

Not that there is anything standing in the way of it happening but Geiken feels that there should be an outlet on campus for those students that would like to game.

Geiken helped put on one of those outlets in the Planetarium- the Artemis Space Ship Bridge Simulator. It was a simulation similar to that of being on the bridge of a ship from Star Trek. Artemis was very well received and each session was fully booked. Plans are in the works to possibly bring it back.

There are avenues for gamers, geeks, and nerds at Parkland and 88.7 is one way they can stay up to date and informed on current and past topics.

“It’s just another form of fandom and loving what you do. I think being a geek is being uber excited about your loves, expressing that and not caring what anyone thinks,” Geiken said.

Tune in to 88.7 WPCD FM to hear “Afternoon Delight” Wednesdays from 12-2 p.m. and “The Rugged Nerd” Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12-2 p.m.