Did COVID-19 Kill the Radio Stars?


Hannah Lonergan, Staff Writer |

COVID-19 has spread throughout SUNY Oneonta and has caused us to change the way our clubs and organizations operate. One organization in particular, WONY 90.9 FM, the student-run radio station financed by the Student Association (SA) has been forced to change its entire structure.

WONY runs and operates from their station in Alumni Hall, where they would typically hold meetings. During a typical semester, they would hold events, concerts and monthly meetings. With a 10-person Electoral Board, WONY allows anyone to join, and they train students on DJ equipment to run their own show. WONY then fills up a schedule and runs automatically for listeners to tune in to.

But after the spread of COVID-19 sent a majority of students back home, WONY has turned their focus to training people to just be general members of the club rather than training them to become DJs. Abby Perrin, General Manager of WONY, explained that they currently can’t train anyone to be a DJ since they don’t have access to their station on campus. But they will continue to train new members of the club so that they can continue in the future.

During the summer, members of WONY had meetings with the health and safety officer for the school. The officer had discouraged them from holding meetings in person, so Perrin explained that they decided to hold everything off for two to three weeks at the start of the semester. Thankfully they did, because, within the first two weeks of classes, the school was put on pause.

Despite not being on campus with their station, you can still tune in to listen. WONY is running an automation program to run music and shows. Perrin also says they plan on having new equipment for students to record their shows at home, and they will have a schedule up for that soon.

Anthony Barone, production manager for WONY, has hosted his own show for the past four years and is glad that they can at least have the ability to pre-record shows and submit them to the automation program. Barone explained, “DJ training used to be a longer process,” but now the training process has been altered due to COVID-19. Despite the change in how they are trained, they are still required to train on board operation, general station, and FCC etiquette and procedures. 

If somebody wants to start their own show for pre-recording, Barone recommends a decent microphone, but anything will do because he knows “these are really tough times, and radio should be accessible to all. After all, we’re a community station broadcasting for the people.”

If you’re interested in joining WONY, they have monthly meetings via Zoom on Sundays. If you’re interested in getting a show broadcasted, you can contact [email protected] for questions related to having proper equipment and recording remotely. For more information, visit Campus Connection. To listen to WONY, you can visit wonyfm.com or on 90.9 FM on the radio.

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