Despite the obstacles of running a radio station amid pandemic restrictions, WBOR, Bowdoin’s radio station, has found inventive ways to keep the College community connected to music.
When Bowdoin transitioned to remote learning in the spring 2020 semester, the radio station’s setup did not function anymore. Many students, such as Station General Manager Luke Porter ’23, found themselves taking on more responsibility as they sought out creative solutions to keep the station alive while being barred from entering the physical space.
“In order to change music, we have to be there,” said Porter in a Zoom interview with the Orient.
In order to re-obtain their Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license and go back on the air, the station needed to continue playing music. To accommodate this requirement, WBOR focused on creating a playlist that allowed them to play music automatically during the fall 2020 semester.
“If you want to be supported by [the FCC], you can’t have dead air,” said Station Manager Camille Amezcua ’22 in a Zoom interview with the Orient. “We had to get a pause from the FCC, so the radio show wasn’t active until November of 2020.”
Although WBOR could not continue their live broadcasting during the start of the fall semester, they were still able to keep up with other organizational activities, grow their team and continue to meet on Discord and Zoom.
The station finished their 24-hour-long playlist in November, after a long process of acquiring rights to all of the featured songs. Amezcua acknowledged that the transition to remote work was difficult and commended the WBOR management team for their contributions and sacrifices on top of other commitments on campus.
“I think extracurriculars at school become second, and I totally get it,” Amezcua said. “It’s not a priority for everybody, but everyone came together and made the playlist.”
As for the remote semester, the team is trying to get back in the studio and return the functioning of WBOR to as normal as possible. Amezuca explains that students will be permitted to go back into the station one at a time when campus status changes to orange. The management team is hoping to restart live shows during the spring 2021 semester but is prioritizing the safety of the staff and of the College community.
“We’re going to be really good about sanitizing, and I think we’re going to leave little breaks between shows so that the air doesn’t sit,” said Porter.
The one aspect of WBOR that could not be salvaged in the upcoming semester was involvement from the Brunswick community. Despite the enthusiasm of loyal WBOR supporters, campus guidelines will temporarily prevent outside participation. The members of WBOR look forward to welcoming the Brunswick community back to the station and resuming programming when possible.