What We’re Up To: Advancing Woo 91 into the Digital Age

by Music Director Sam Corman Penzel

From an outsider’s perspective, Woo 91’s campus presence exists solely in the corner of the Wired Scot, directly on the beaten path of the Wooster student. Turn the clock back two years, however, and those involved with the the College of Wooster’s premiere radio station would receive outright stupor upon telling fellow students that the college had a student-run radio station. Now unavoidable to the uninquisitive eye upon moving to Lowry from its secluded digs in the Wishart bloc in 2013, the station has gained substantial exposure and subsequent interest from the student body. New DJ enrollment in the radio seminar has grown substantially over the course of the school year, adding roughly thirty students to the already impressive roster of veteran jockeys. As this number continues to grow, and recruiting efforts are strengthened by way of station promotion and a solid management core, it is of interest to both those involved with Woo 91 and to those wondering about the inner machinations of the station to elaborate on what one of the key parts of the management staff has concerned themselves with of late.

Myself, Brendan Youngquist (’16), and Eric Tonian (’15) are the residing music directors of the illustrious Woo 91. Eric, with his natural knack for communicating with record labels and micro-managing new releases, has eased easily into piloting the position of reviewing incoming submissions and keeping in good graces with the music distributors that have chosen to ally with the station. Brendan, recently returned from an enlightening semester studying philosophy in India, has been quick to assume the mantle of music-directorship. In addition to reviewing some new releases, he has joined me in my pursuit of tackling the near-fathomless mass of relic CDs leftover from Woo 91’s transit to Lowry’s underbelly. This point is worth elaborating on as this task, when completed, will achieve the intended effect of catapulting our beloved station into the digital age.

During the station’s move, its substantial collection of CDs was packed up, saran-wrapped into oblivion, and forced to hibernate in the service center until further notice. That notice came at the beginning of this school year when diligent members of WCWS’s management team painstakingly transported them a treacherous 500 feet to the basement of a nearby campus program house. Throughout last semester, members of the management staff worked to chip away at a task that many deemed, “impossible”. Music director Eric Tonian was quoted as saying, “This sucks, bruh”, on multiple occasions. Frustrations built and tensions were high as fall semester came to a close.

As the gears begin to turn in the radio machine this spring, I can proudly proclaim that the newfound energy that Brendan and other members of not only management but also the DJ body as a whole have brought to this arduous process have begun to prove it surmountable. With the help of our dear leader Warner Brownfield (’16) and diligent volunteer and DJ Kito Ashbey (’17), the music directors managed to plow through three cases (approx. 200 CDs) in a mere two hours, discarding many and keeping few. Our state-of-the-art sorting process refined and refreshed upon the burgeoning of a new semester, the coming months will see the music directors and any DJ with an ear for air-friendly music deliver the killing blow to the immense pile of old CDs. Once completed, the albums that have been selected for airplay will be downloaded to the station’s new computer system, providing all Woo 91 DJ’s with a more human alternative to our current automated DJ, DJ Quebbie. We are not there yet, but Woo 91’s devotion to quality programming and content combined with the resilience of both management and the DJ community will surely see a victory for good taste and technological advancement.