WOBC Goes Remote

Last March, WOBC, along with the rest of Oberlin’s campus, was forced to shut down due to COVID-19. But this semester, the station is open, albeit with new rules and regulations for DJs (for example, on-campus DJs have time slots that are staggered between remote shows to let the room air out). It’s hard to deny that the challenges aren’t great—the station has gone to great lengths to ensure everyone’s safety—but amidst the chaos of COVID-19 and Oberlin’s shutdown, WOBC has kept things humming along. 

“We are doing everything we can to make sure that transmission is least possible inside the station,” Program Director Eva Hilton said, “But it has also opened up a whole new set of opportunities.” One of these opportunities is the ability to have off-campus DJs. Being an off-campus DJ has provided a space for students around the world (literally) to be able to tap into Oberlin’s music scene. 

In order for remote DJing to function, students have gotten creative. Programs like GarageBand, SoundFlower, and even the Voice Memos app have become avenues for hosts to record their sets. Applications like these are user friendly, free of charge, and thus are crucial to the success of remote DJing, which many students are doing for the first time. 

Fourth years Akira DiSandro and Elaine Wu are two of those students. Together, they host a remote radio show called “Discover Weekly”, which airs on Saturdays at 1 AM. sentence

“It’s called ‘Discover Weekly’ because every week you discover someone new, a new person’s music taste, as well as journey through music and playlisting”, DiSandro says. Every week, Akira and Elaine ask their guest for their Spotify password to gain access to their previously made playlists. After they find some that spark their interest, they bring their guest to come and discuss their Spotify playlists. They discuss how their playlists are made and if they have any memories with specific songs.

Akira’s experience with being a remote DJ on Oberlin’s campus has been difficult at times. Her radio show is a talk show, so she doesn’t have the luxury of a one-and-done radio show. She has to edit each set, which can be time consuming. However, even with these obstacles, she still enjoys it.

In my own experience being a remote DJ, I have also found it challenging, yet rewarding. My radio show is called “A Limpiar Con Ariana”, which translated from Spanish to English means “Clean up with Ariana.” In it, I play songs my mom used to and currently plays when it’s time to clean up the house on a Sunday morning. Once we heard the loud music playing, both my brother and I knew it was time to wake up and start cleaning. The music she plays includes many Latinx artists like Daddy Yankee, Selena, and Bad Bunny. As long as my mother can dance to a song, it will be on her playlist for the following Sunday. “A Limpiar Con Ariana” airs every Sunday at 9 AM EST. I have found myself feeling more connected to my Latinx culture and family by being a DJ for WOBC. I have been able to find songs that my abuelitos, or grandparents, loved to dance to; I have been able to find the song my mother used to always sing to me when I was little; and I have been able to find the song that my parents love dancing to. And even though there are difficulties as a remote DJ, there are so many positive results that come from it.The challenging aspect of having a remote radio show is not being in the studio. During a live set, you are living in the moment and giving your immediate reaction to what you include in your show. However, remotely, the experience is vastly different. I personally have felt the need to constantly re-record myself to make the radio show perfect when, if I was on campus, I would not be doing this. 

Despite being time-consuming, I still believe having a remote radio show is definitely worth it. WOBC has been doing everything it can to make sure that radio is continually accessible for remote DJ’s, and that the best parts of having a radio show— an hour to share your songs, your stories, your memories; an opportunity to forget about everything else except the material within your set— aren’t lost in the void of aloneness that COVID has brought.