Erin Batchelder '17 Assistant Arts Editor
Today, it’s a given for a college campus to have a student-run radio station. In fact, over the last couple of decades, interest in public radio has risen substantially as stations like NPR continue to produce creative content and as politicians call into question whether public radio should be public. At Smith, students have been running WOZQ since 1949, making the organization the oldest station run by women.
On Oct. 1, WOZQ returned to the air with over 70 new original programs and 113 Radio DJs. While college radio is more frequently associated with indie rock and alternative music, WOZQ prefers a wide array of music genres. Each DJ applies for a show according to a different theme – for example, movie soundtracks, Bollywood, or Top 40 – and, if selected, is given a one to two hour timeslot where they can play whatever they want.
“I’m actually enjoying being a DJ,” said new WOZQ DJ Sophia Ladner ’17. “I thought it might be awkward to talk on air or get boring sitting [in the booth] but… you get to sit in a room with your best friend for two hours listening to your favorite songs.”
The process for becoming a DJ is as simple as filling out an application; however, WOZQ has several other opportunities to get involved. Each semester, the station releases a zine entitled “Dirt” that allows students to submit their own original comics, drawings, writing or playlists to be published. Also, WOZQ has a department for Party DJs, where one can intern and possibly DJ at campus parties or events.
The WOZQ Board, a group of several students who keep the station on air and running, has experienced a massive turn-over. Last year both the station manager and a couple of music department heads graduated, meaning that, this year, several WOZQ DJs moved into the vacant positions.
Each DJ is encouraged to intern for the various departments. One could work with the marketing team to run the stations Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook; or one can work with the music directors listening to new music sent by record labels to the station. Often time, these intern positions lead to board positions; however, they offer a great opportunity to learn more about radio and broadcasting. As Smith doesn’t have a communications major or anything related to marketing or broadcasting, WOZQ is a great opportunity to be exposed to what these fields have to offer.
Over the next semester, WOZQ will host several events, including concerts and parties. One of the largest events WOZQ throws is Radio Awareness Week, which happens once a semester, where the station hosts several events ranging from Make-Your-Own-Zine to Jam Making to WOZQ Open Hours.
If you’re interested in supporting the organization, simply tune in. DJs are on air from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. playing original playlists. The station can be heard as far as Amherst at 91.9 FM, or you can listen by going to WOZQ’s website (sophia.smith.edu/wozq) and clicking “Listen.”