Rachel Dobkin, Staff Writer|
Starting on Feb. 15, SUNY Oneonta’s radio station, WONY 90.9 FM, will start in-person shows again. WONY DJs will have the option to come back to the station in Alumni Hall and broadcast their shows on the condition that they follow strict COVID-19 safety procedures. “We will have about five to six in-person shows per week”, stated WONY General Manager, Abby Perrin.
The station is limited to two DJs at a time. These two DJs must be separated between the two rooms within the studio. Each DJ must get tested weekly for COVID-19, wear a mask in the building at all times, wash their hands upon entry and exit of the building and clean all surfaces before and after using the equipment. Disposable microphone and headphone covers will be provided for extra safety. There will also be a station checklist to hold every DJ accountable for the previously listed safety precautions.
Guests will not be permitted until further notice, but they are more than welcome to call or video conference into the show. For contact tracing purposes, each DJ must fill out a sign-in and sign-out sheet when hosting their shows. There must also be a list of contact information for each DJ hosting an in-person show.
DJs who want to broadcast but either feel uncomfortable hosting an in-person show or are not physically in Oneonta have another option. These DJs can pre-record their shows from home, then get played over the air at the DJ’s scheduled showtime.
“I think it’s important to host in-person shows as it brings our community back together, even if it’s just a little bit,” Perrin said. Radio is very important for communities, especially small ones like Oneonta. We’ll be able to share news and bring personality back to our station after many months of being off the air.”
Of course, there are risks to any in-person activity during this pandemic and Perrin is well aware of that. She says, “We haven’t held in-person shows since last May for safety reasons. We waited it out until the campus had things more under control and feel much safer now. There, of course, will still be risks until the virus is completely gone, which is why we have extensive safety protocols. We found it extremely important to go back on the air, so we’re doing it the safest way we can.”
Perrin discussed the benefits of in-person shows. She says, “WONY has been a part of the Oneonta community for almost 80 years. We have lots of community members who love WONY and are frequent listeners. Not only will our re-opening be great for our DJs to get some more normalcy, but our listeners as well.”
WONY will continue to function as normally as they can. They will have meetings over Zoom, which are available to students or members of the Oneonta community who are interested in going. If you would like an invitation, feel free to email the Communications Director at [email protected].
WONY will also continue with a list of events for the spring semester, including their annual WONY Island event. This is an event, like a music festival, that showcases student musicians. WONY Island will be virtual this year and held sometime in April. If you are a student musician interested in performing, please contact the Events Director at [email protected].