“Live from Studio B” Celebrates Centennial Session


Photo courtesy of WOBC

Staff members and guests on Live From Studio B celebrate the series’ 100th session, which featured two student bands, awksymoron and Thee Hundos.

It began as the pet project of TIMARA major Charles Glanders, OC ’14, with a VHS-tape recording of Nagual, an ambient guitar duo formed by Ian McColm, OC ’13, and David Shapiro, OC ’12. The footage is grainy, washed out, and there’s only one camera view, a wide-angle shot that’s a little off-center. WOBC’s classical records vault, where the session was recorded, is awkwardly lit, with the brightest areas where the performers are not.

A lot about Studio B has changed since then, with the only real constant being the colorful, staticky intro to the videos, which hums with the sound of a soothing synthesizer as the words “LIVE FROM STUDIO B” emerge from the noise. Glanders has long since graduated and is now working as the sound engineer for the band Whitney, but the show has become a mainstay in WOBC’s programming. Every week, the show live broadcasts a performance by a musical group, spoken word artist or other performer and later releases video and audio recordings on YouTube.

Now helmed by College junior Becca Winer, Live From Studio B recorded its 100th session last Sunday with awksymoron and Thee Hundos, two college bands fronted by College junior Athena Matsil.

“The music they produce in both bands is fun and surfy with really eloquent and cathartic lyrics, and it made for a really sweet celebration for all of us in Studio B last Sunday,” Winer said. “Athena is one of the co-chairs of the Gear Co-op along with our own Studio B Audio Producer Cena Loffredo, so it felt especially significant to celebrate our 100th session with someone who devotes a lot of their time, passion and energy on this campus to making music-making more accessible in Oberlin.”

Accessibility has been a key aspect of the series since it began. In addition to online streaming and live radio broadcasting, sessions are recorded, mixed and mastered for release at no cost to the artist, providing them with high-quality packages of their music for distribution.

“This is a pretty incredible resource that is unheard of in most musical communities,” Winer said. “Our videos have helped artists get discovered, book tour dates and access a wider range of visibility than they may have been able to prior to our session.”

Live From Studio B, which airs every Sunday at 2 p.m. on WOBC, has seen a great deal of expansion under Winer’s tenure. The series’ staff created a Workgroup ExCo, a weekly class run by the show’s audio and video producers that teaches College and community members the basics of audio and video recording in the context of Studio B. Sessions are now also available for download on Bandcamp. Listeners are able to pay as much or as little as they want — with the option of downloading sessions for free — and any proceeds are donated to the ACLU.

For College sophomore Jules Greene, who joined Studio B her first semester at Oberlin and now works as WOBC’s international genre director, the group’s efforts are part of larger goals she hopes to achieve in music.

“What Studio B is doing is important now more than ever because it’s contributing to the change that I want to make happen in the music industry,” Greene said. “We’re at a point in our society where we’re at least becoming aware of these

vast disparities between things like race, class, gender, sexual orientation, ability … the fact that Studio B is attuned to this climate and is actively trying to be a force for change, I think, is a really strong way that the medium of radio can be used to hopefully make a difference in the long run.”

In addition to working to realize such changes, Greene values that the series has given a voice to many artists from the College, community and the outside world.

“I’ve been lucky enough to be able to book some of my favorite touring artists to perform on Live From Studio B as they passed through Oberlin, like Mal Devisa, Frankie Cosmos, SPORTS and Palm,” Winer said in an email to the Review. “But sessions with local [or] student bands are a lot more fulfilling for all of us, since we get to connect with members of our own musical community.

Some of my favorite local sessions I’ve done have been with Quartet M, a really incredible ensemble that plays a fusion of traditional Arabic music with western Jazz; Xango, a session I find myself watching all the time; and WOOF, which was actually the first session I booked as the Executive Producer of Live From Studio B, so there’s a special place in my heart for that one. But I really couldn’t name a session I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed.”