WONY Got New Threads: An Inside Look on the New Radio Station

Chelsea Sookra

Chelsea Sookra, Staff Writer |

WONY 90.9 FM, SUNY Oneonta’s radio station, is new and improved! I met with the Music Director, Lou Gabay, and General Manager, Riley Brown, to tour the new station. This is WONY’s first new station in 40 years. They’ve been in Alumni Hall since the 1960s. Gabay credited COVID-19 for WONY’s rebranding. COVID-19 finally gave them the time and space to improve the station. Shows started as of Friday, Sept. 10th. There are nine shows as of now, but anyone can train to be a DJ and have their own show!

They are eager for people to come and use the space as well! Students can go in and talk to members about ideas for radio shows, or if they’d like they can go on air! When Brown took me on a tour of the station, I got to see everything and it’s all brand new. Their current technology is up to date, and all equipment and rooms are within the same area, unlike their old station. They have a lounge with chairs and tables as soon as you walk in, with two office spaces on the right to chat with E-board members when they’re on shift.

The two new podcasting booths are right across from the office spaces. Students can check out times to use them and can use them for school, as well as go on air and participate in a podcast. To the left of the lounge area are the two new studios! Studio A is where DJs have their shows, and there’s a space for talk shows where guests can sit. It is also soundproof and “looks more like an actual radio station,” Brown said.

Studio B is the production studio. This is where news is created, and students can use this space as well. This is where they make show IDs (their introduction before they start their shows). New members can practice using Studio B, such as getting familiar with the equipment. WONY is big on teaching new members how to use the equipment. New Members can broadcast on-air or record on their laptops.

Up next is the CD library. Brown organized the entire library by himself alphabetically (actually three shelves that he refers to as “his baby”, so be sure to check that out. The CD library isn’t even finished yet, they have many more CDs to put in there!. WONY is very dedicated to their CD library, despite CDs being somewhat outdated. Volunteers had to help them move all the boxes, so you know it’s important when a whole team has to help.

Riley Brown cleaning out the CD Library (WONY Instagram)

To end off the tour, Brown showed me Wally the Whale, WONY’s mascot. Wally is currently inactive, but he will be back soon. I asked Gabay what made him join WONY as being on-air can be intimidating, and he told me that he’s been a part of WONY since he was a freshman and is still on as a junior. He thinks good music should be shared no matter what. Even if you think going on air is intimidating, if you’re interested in joining, email WONY at [email protected]. They’re excited to meet you!

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