While much has changed this year, dialing the radio to 91.5 FM will still bring you creative, local radio shows all day, every day. At a time when student organizations are confronted with a host of pandemic struggles, WOBC has managed to broadcast 24/7 and remain engaged with the community.
ObieSafe guidelines dictate that only College students, faculty, and staff are permitted to use campus facilities during the pandemic. Consequently, a lot of committed DJs can’t work in the studio, including community members, remote students, and unenrolled students. WOBC’s board, however, refused to let these regulations restrict their broadcasting. Now, approximately two-thirds of the station’s DJs are contributing prerecorded shows.
Prerecording offers new ways for radio hosts to flex their creativity. College third-year and DJ Alex Adelman was initially intimidated by the new format. However, she has found ways to make the prerecording process personally rewarding.
“Of course, I feel like my show has lost a little ‘soul’ from recording it like a podcast rather than riffing and improvising my commentary on air,” Adelman wrote in an email to the Review. “However, I find the at-home recording of my show to allow for more experimentation in my broadcast. I’ve been really enjoying adding sound effects and transitions, so it’s not even that difficult to be recording from home.”
College second-year and radio host Sarah Naiman has also taken advantage of these changes.
“On the plus side, [my co-host and I] have been able to refine our show a lot because of the prerecorded format,” Naiman wrote in an email to the Review. “Now, we have PSAs and station ideas that sound more professional. Additionally, it is easier to time out the segments when we record the show.”
Because WOBC operates 24/7, inconvenient late-night spots used to be a painful rite of passage for a handful of unlucky DJs. Remote prerecording has removed that potential stressor, which College fourth-year and Station Manager Bridget Conway hopes will benefit the continued health and well-being of WOBC’s DJs as well as the quality of their broadcasting.
“Now if you have a 3 a.m. show … you can record it on your own time, send it in, and then you can have a good night’s sleep,” Conway said. “So instead of having to ask people to do [late-night hosting], we can kind of be a little bit more realistic with people’s time and shows.”
In the face of dramatic upheaval, radio serves as a sliver of normalcy. It offers distraction, routine, and familiar voices. For College fourth-year and DJ Bri Hayes, WOBC provides community and a feeling of security during a time of collective unease.
“For me, having radio is a great way to provide information to others as well as … use music as a sort of catharsis for everything happening around us, especially because we are all living under this vast cloud of uncertainty at the moment,” Hayes wrote in an email to the Review. “WOBC has definitely become a small safe haven for me on campus and is just a great organization to be a part of, even if we can’t all be in the same physical space at this very moment.
Tune into 91.5 FM while on Oberlin’s campus or visit https://www.wobc.org/ from home to listen to WOBC’s 24/7 live programming. Oberlin students or community members who want to get involved with the station can contact [email protected] for more information.