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The Wonderful World of WOBC

December 17, 2021

Lucas Ritchie-Shatz ’25

While at this year’s club fair, among the dozens of clubs catching my attention, one in particular stood out: WOBC. WOBC is Oberlin’s college radio station, open to everyone, even if you’re just starting your first semester at college like me. Even before I decided on Oberlin, I knew that I wanted to go to a college that had a radio station to fulfill my lifetime project of making everyone listen to the music that I like. If you also want to be a Radio Rebel like me, the way it works is that an application goes out at the beginning of the semester. All you need is to write a little bit about you and what your show would be about. You provide a sample playlist and after the wonderful crew at the radio does their magic to arrange the schedule, you have a show! While first-timers usually get times that can be a little rough (my friends have a 3-4am slot Tuesday mornings), it can be fun to stay up late with your friends to play some music, even if you're exhausted the next day. 

Once the schedule has been solidified, DJs have to go to the all-station meeting to get recapped on the rules, as well as go to a quick DJ training session. Compared to some of my friends at other colleges, where they have to wait a semester before being allowed to touch the board, WOBC is very welcoming of new DJs so long as they follow the rules. Another requirement of DJs is to join a workgroup, which usually involves sorting through the music sent to WOBC, though other groups deal with things like the live studio, Studio B, making merch, or coming up with events for WOBC to host. Recently WOBC hosted their Coverband Showcase that happens every semester, featuring any student band that applies. This semester, artists covered included Talking Heads, Grimes, Liz Phair, and Hiatus Kaiyote. The event was such a success that me and my friends couldn’t even get through the door with how many people showed up! We still did our best by staring through the window and cheering as loud as we could.

 

As for me, I’m the leader of the Pop workgroup, where we meet every Saturday to sort through music that’s been sorted into the pop bin, though we frequently get music of all sorts of different genres. We have a really fun time choosing whatever looks good and being introduced to new music, while also getting to laugh at some of the more out-there stuff we get sent. It’s a really chill way to spend a Saturday afternoon and make new friends, particularly those that aren’t in your year.

A picture of the panic button.
My favorite button in the station.

My roommate Raghav and I have had a fantastic time doing our show, Join the Dots, which plays midnight on Wednesday nights. While working the board was nerve-wracking at first, and we’ve definitely made our fair share of mistakes, by now we’ve mostly gotten the hang of it. Every week we switch off on taking a tour through a different genre. Our last show of the semester featured our favorite albums of 2021, but previous shows have included New Wave, Tropicalia, and Post-Punk. We’ve also gotten to befriend the people with the shows before and after us, like Tempest and Hamish who host the two-hour prog rock show, Journey Beyond the Khatru, and Sam, who hosts Excursions, a jazz/rap show. Overall I’ve been really grateful for all the opportunities WOBC has given me to expand my music taste and get to share the music that I like with other people. I’ve also loved being able to get deeper into music that I love and have conversations about it with other people. To anyone even a little bit interested, even if DJing a show sounds like too much for you, I highly recommend getting involved with WOBC for all the fantastic experiences and opportunities that it offers.

For reference, here are a few playlists for Join the Dots shows we've done this semester: Post Punk (me), Yacht Rock (Raghav), Hyperpop (me), Disco (Raghav).

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