WOBC Hosts and DJs Get Creative Amid Lack of Online Streaming Capability


Abe Frato

WOBC-FM DJs sit in the new studio spaces at Wilder Hall.

Radio is a unique medium in its ability to be simultaneously solitary and intimate while reaching a broad, live audience. Through a variety of talk- and music-based shows ranging in genre from news and radio theater to hiphop and folk, Oberlin’s radio station, WOBC-FM, provides students and community members with the opportunity to share their tastes and thoughts while fostering a unique WOBC culture.

One show featured on WOBC is Georgian Sensibility, hosted by College second-years Evan Smith-Rooks — also known as DJ Bo Bo Skizzy — and Taso Mullen. On the WOBC schedule, Georgian Sensibility’s description reads, “A show where two opposites — a 6’4 football player from the state of Georgia and a 5’1 [sic] history major from the Republic of Georgia [—] come together over a shared love of hip hop.” Mullen fills the “5’1 history major” role, and Smith-Rooks fills the “6’4 football player” role.

“I know there’s this divide between the athletes and everyone else,” Mullen said. “I like the idea of sort of bridging the gap.”

The Streets and Sheets of Oberlin, a talk show on “the varying parts of Obie life,” airs midnight Fridays and is hosted by College fourth-years Ryan Taylor and Ella Newcomb. Part of Newcomb and Taylor’s show deals with the Oberlin dating scene and was born of the pair’s observation that certain conversations surrounding the intersection of relationships, consent, and body positivity were, as Taylor put it, “lacking at Oberlin.”

WOBC didn’t broadcast during the fall semester, and this is its first season in a new studio space due to the ongoing renovations in Wilder Hall forcing the station to relocate to a smaller, single-room space on Wilder’s fourth floor. The technical capabilities of the station are not yet what they were in the old space, and as it stands, listeners must tune in locally on a physical radio; in previous seasons, anyone could access a stream on WOBC’s website at any time.

“It’s upsetting, because we want to reach as many people as possible,” Taylor said.

Some DJs are less bothered by the lack of a streaming option, choosing to find joy in the process.

“For me, the fun part is being a DJ in the studio — not reaching the largest audience,” College second-year and third-time WOBC host Caleigh Lyons wrote in an email to the Review.

Lyons goes by DJ C Dog on her Friday 11 a.m. show I Can Be Your Hero, where she curates a different themed playlist relating to superheroes each week.

“I feel like as a show host, not having the streaming doesn’t make a huge difference … but as a listener, I feel like it makes a difference because having the online streaming is a little more accessible than radio,” Emily Schilling, OC ’22 said. “It’s just easier.”

Schilling, also known as Schill Pickles, co-hosts a talk show called I Bet You’re Wondering Why I Called This Meeting with Alim Wilkins, OC ’22, also known as Ayla, and College fifth-year Miles Berry, also known as Berrymeister.

Some DJs are embracing the “heartwarming, nostalgic aspect” of listeners being forced to listen on a physical radio, as Mullen put it. Mullen shared that, as a member of the WOBC workgroup staff, she had “been really pushing [for WOBC to] give out free radios so that people would have a way to listen … or sell them as cheap as possible.”

College second-year Daniel Markey, who goes by DJ Lemon Cello, felt similarly. “I think it would be really cool if … everybody around here bands together and gets radios and camps out in cars and listens to the radio,” Markey said.

Markey hosts DIY Hour, a community-oriented music show seeking to highlight Obie creatives “who are doing it themselves.”

Other students have found ways to stream their programs without using WOBC’s resources. College third-years Hazel Feldstein and Annie Griffith created an Instagram account for their improv comedy show, After-School Detention, through which they plan to livestream their show each week. Each Monday at 8 p.m., the pair adopt new personas of students in detention in varying high school settings. On the first day of programming, Feb. 20, they were students at a school for clowns. On Feb. 27, their setting was a vampire boarding school. Feldstein and Griffith got the idea of using Instagram to livestream their show from College third-year Cristal Ramos and College second-year Dulce Rincon, hosts of the show ¡Dale!

The WOBC board is working to get the station’s streaming capabilities back online. There are also plans to renovate the new space over the summer.

“The new studio is different because there’s no separate rooms, so you can’t hang out in the studio,” Feldstein said. “It was nice to have that community space, but now it’s just like you walk in and you’re trying not to make any noise because you know the other people are on air.”

Despite the challenges, WOBC DJs are hard at work to preserve the culture and spirit of the station.

“WOBC is a college radio station that’s non-commercial and directly run by students and community members — that sort of thing has started to become extinct over the past decade, and to be able to participate in keeping it alive by having a show is really gratifying for me, no matter who’s listening,” College second-year Raghav Raj, also known as DJ diamond life, said.

Raj is hosting his experimental genre show The In Sound From Way Out! for the second time.

“Mostly, the show is for me, but I think by extension, the show is just to get weird stuff on student radio,” Raj said.