Instead of letting their fingers do the walking, students are now letting their fingers do more talking and learning. The University has seen an startling upsurge recently in the number and variety of student phone services available -- from the FUNNLine to the RAPLine to the Weather Line -- and for now, this phone-friendly communications trend is thriving. "[Penntrex] saw a need for small groups, such as Hillel, to have voice mailboxes, and we wanted to address that need," Yamin said. "Our goal is to provide competitive, state-of-the-art communication tools at a reasonable cost." Yamin said more groups are now using the voicemail systems in more creative and diverse ways and for many different reasons. "People are now getting creative ideas on how they can use voicemail to serve their own purposes," Yamin said. "It's becoming a popular communications tool." Currently, student groups like FUNNLine, several fraternity and sorority lines, several Hillel lines, and the former Desert Storm Hotline use the new system. Other groups run through the administrative level of Penntrex include the Weather Line and the RAPLine, which is designed to provide emotional support to students and to offer referals to the University's professional counseling services. The most recent addition to the slew of lines is the WQHS-Penntrex Concertline -- 573-3CRT -- which gives information on the local Philadelphia music scene, catering to the more alternative tastes of WQHS listeners. Doug Randall, WQHS development director, said the ConcertLine, which is co-sponsored by Penntrex, brings several advantages to the student-run radio station. The ConcertLine tells students about events, increases publicity for WQHS and gives the station a more professional image, which may eventually lead to a broadcasting license. "If you look at technology, information phone lines are the future . . . people are becoming more accustomed to electronic medium," Randall said. "People have less patience. They don't want to listen to the radio for 40 minutes to get facts, so they call up and that's what they get -- concerts and no b.s." According to students who run phone lines, University students are responding heartily to the opportunity to make their lives easier over the phone. Neil Vogel, one of the founders of the FUNNLine, which primarily provides information on local and city bars and restaurants, said that Penntrex calculated that over 950 people called the FUNNLine voice mailbox in its first week of operation. "Students sure do call [the phone lines]," Yamin said. "But I'm not sure whether or not they will continue to call, or whether they are a novelty." And while the number of specialized phonelines is increasing, organizers aren't worried that the lines will result in increased competition. "Proliferation of phone lines can only help us. If people get used to getting info by phone, they will think of the FUNNLine," said Vogel. Randall agreed, saying, "We are not fighting for same markets right now. We are not competitors."Comments powered by Disqus
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