Ryan Gretlein, Contributing Writer
As the Student Center is finishing renovations, some organizations across campus are finding their new homes in the building. At the heart of this is the campus radio station, Woo91, which has recently reopened in the basement of the student center. With brand new equipment and a cozy new office, students are eager to get back to DJing their favorite shows and sharing their music taste with the campus community. However, this was not easy, as the student-run organization had plenty of hurdles along the way. To find out more about these issues, Woo91’s co-general managers, Chloe Wright ’23 and Alex Padfield ’23, were interviewed about the process.
The process began around the spring of 2021, when Woo91 had to move from the old Lowry station and into an office in Luce Hall. Having to move boxes of outdated equipment along with other appliances proved difficult, and there was a dilemma of what to keep and what not to keep. Furthermore, many of these boxes could not be unpacked since the office in Luce was intended to only be a temporary base station.
When someone walks into the new Woo91 station in the student center, they are met with a feeling of coziness and community. There is equipment laid out where it belongs and fun pictures all over the place. This curated atmosphere could not have been created in the Luce station; instead, station users would be met with an area where they could play music surrounded by unpacked boxes and unusable equipment. There was even an incident where a Wooster staff member moved their office into the Luce station, disabling swipe access and taking over the space with no warning.
The issues continued, even when Woo91 was finally allowed to move into their new office in the student center. For starters, Wooster administration contracted outside companies to move the station’s gear. From missing glass in the door to random microwaves and fridges, it seemed like there was a massive lack of communication about what equipment exactly needed to be transported. Even the station’s expensive sound-proofing foam was damaged in the move. This failure to communicate also extended to purchasing new equipment. Many necessary pieces of radio equipment, such as the primary soundboard, were purchased by Wooster administration without consultation with Woo91 student management. This caused some issues, for example, one piece of equipment that the school bought was difficult to use, and tech support for that equipment charged a fee each time support was called.
While the move to the new office in the student center was paid for by the renovation project funds, the station itself has a relatively small student activities budget. This means that they are left with decade-old computers and a lack of flexibility, especially when having to set aside funds just for tech support. Buried emails, vague communication and administrative bureaucracy all hindered a quick and efficient move for a student organization that requires constant attention.
All of this effort was not without hope, however. When asked about encouragement through this transitional time, Wright described small wins as a source of motivation, saying, “…when we were able to get the automation up and going, we were ripping CD’s and we were recording bumpers and putting sound effects on there. That felt really hopeful, like, OK, now we’re actually moving.”
These small wins have not only helped encourage Woo91 management, but also student DJs. The sense of community and excitement to get the station back up and running has produced a sort of force that has been drawing DJs back to the station. As a result, Woo91 hopes to have a wide array of successful shows this semester. Now that the station is practically up and running, there are many ways for students to get involved. There are still slots open to host your own show, and the station regularly hosts and DJs events across campus. Students who are interested can DM Woo91 on Instagram @woo91radio or email email@example.com for more information about getting involved with the station. Students can also listen in by finding Woo91 on iHeartRadio. The unique content featured on this semester’s lineup, along with the effort and dedication poured into the reopening, makes Woo91 a valuable station to listen to and get involved with.