With lockdown in full power and the station unmanned, the transmitter on the sixteenth flooring of Coles Tower was turned off throughout the second and third quarter of 2020—the primary time within the station’s 80-year historical past this had occurred for an prolonged time period.
WBOR returned to the airwaves within the fall of 2020, which was a problem as a result of to maintain its Federal Communications Fee (FCC) broadcasting license, a station has to remain on air regularly and fulfill different regulatory necessities, similar to airing common public service bulletins, defined Seddon, a disk jockey and member of the station administration staff.
“It’s powerful when 95 % of workers are off campus, and solely first years and Res Life college students are round. Fortunately one of many station managers, Luke [Porter ‘23], was on campus with Res Life so he was in a position to get into the studio and arrange these prolonged playlists we had ready.” Every playlist was 24-hours lengthy, she stated, and contained the required bulletins. “We have been in a position to set the station to run for seven days at a time, which enabled us to work inside the School pandemic guidelines and the FCC necessities.”
WBOR is aware of from bitter expertise the significance of following federal rules. The station fell foul of the FCC in 2006 for poor record-keeping. The group had not been diligent sufficient about holding observe of its PSAs and almost had its license to broadcast pulled.
Assembly the Problem
Mason Daugherty ’25, one other member of the administration staff, admitted it may be a problem adhering to strict skilled requirements at a station run by volunteers who all, let’s face it, have rather a lot on their plate already. “Because of the nature of being a School station, we’ve got a turnover yearly and infrequently information is misplaced as a result of it’s not handed down. Which leaves a variety of work for the incoming administration.”
That’s one thing that Daugherty and his colleagues have been making an attempt to sort out, creating what he calls “a central hub of data” and implementing coaching and administration techniques that make it simpler to observe the principles.
Key to reaching this, defined station supervisor Emily Herndon ’23, is elevating the profile of the station and inspiring college students to get entangled—no imply problem in an age of customized playlists, streaming platforms, and dwindling radio listenership. “We hit the bottom operating firstly of the yr,” she stated, “acquired folks early, engaged with them, skilled them, and acquired them on the air, which might then encourage their associates to hear.”
WBOR workers have been clearly seen at pupil gala’s within the fall, flying the station flag and handing out a spread of merchandise. “We acquired t-shirts, stickers, mousepads, posters, a spread of stuff,” stated Herndon, “and we’ve simply employed two new artwork administrators so we’re excited for a brand new vary of merch to drop within the spring. It’s all about making campus radio cool!” (One design the staff got here up with final summer time depicts a skeleton dancing with a polar bear subsequent to the ironic slogan “radio’s lifeless however we’re nonetheless dancing!”)
Reaching New Heights
These efforts paid off and WBOR now enjoys document ranges of pupil participation, stated Daugherty. “We not too long ago processed new DJ purposes, giving us a complete of 189 DJs throughout 130 exhibits producing 131 hours of content material per week. Round ten of those are neighborhood DJs,” he added, “however the overwhelming majority are undergraduates.”
A part of what makes WBOR cool, stated Herndon and her colleagues, is the house itself—an intimate, low-lit, subterranean hangout within the Coe basement, full with a espresso desk and comfy chairs. The partitions are lined with CDs, vinyl, and music posters, with the DJ’s broadcasting sales space seen behind a soundproof glass partition. “We’ve been displaying folks learn how to use our newly renovated turntables to allow them to make use of our implausible document assortment,” stated Herndon. “My mother and father not too long ago got here down right here and my dad was actually excited to discover a document from the ‘80s he knew. He was like ‘that is so cool.’”
Music and Different Choices
Listeners to WBOR can anticipate to listen to a spread of music all through the week, together with rap, digital, pop, jazz, blues, bluegrass, world music, and even film soundtracks. A good quantity of on-air time can also be given over to the spoken phrase, with college students discussing numerous points, together with a weekly program that includes workers from the Bowdoin Orient pupil newspaper. The station additionally not too long ago broadcast a reside interview with President Clayton Rose.
One other factor the present administration staff has carried out is reside music. “We not too long ago introduced in a band from Portland referred to as Weakened Associates who gave a efficiency at Jack McGee’s pub,” stated Seddon. “We additionally interviewed them reside within the studio.” Moreover, there’s a small efficiency house within the WBOR studios the place pupil bands have accomplished reside gigs on air, stated Daugherty. “There’s giant pool of musical expertise at Bowdoin that deserves an outlet,” he confused.
“WBOR now enjoys document ranges of pupil participation. We not too long ago processed new DJ purposes, giving us a complete of 189 DJs throughout 130 exhibits producing 131 hours of content material per week.” Mason Daugherty ’25.
Daugherty, Herndon, Seddon, and their colleagues on the administration staff all started as DJs on the station and stated they have been drawn to WBOR by a shared love of music and the prospect of spinning data for his or her associates and the broader Bowdoin neighborhood (the FM sign covers the better Brunswick space whereas the digital stream on wbor.org can, after all, be accessed wherever).
Moreover, in addition to gaining expertise in learn how to run a radio station, they regard what they do at WBOR as an ideal alternative to develop management abilities that could possibly be helpful in lots of careers.
“The place would we get this expertise apart from right here?” stated Daugherty. “None of us has a background in radio. We’re simply enjoyers of music.”