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FlipYourShit: WBOR revives counterculture zine

September 22, 2023

Maja Keatley
FLIPPIN' OUT: WBOR's zine revival features a variety of poetry, prose and multimedia. The 42-page publication is the first zine published by the station in 13 years.

Last fall, WBOR station manager Mason Daugherty ’25 stumbled upon a number of old magazines—or more specifically, zines, a more counterculture, grassroots type of publication reserved for freer, more unfiltered media that might not be published elsewhere. Daugherty’s discovery spurred talks among station management about bringing back the zine, which has an extensive history at WBOR. A few weeks ago, the station published the fall 2023 edition of FlipYourShit, completing the zine’s revival.

WBOR’s archives trace FlipYourShit back to spring of 2003, when an untitled version of the zine appeared. WBOR produced the magazine irregularly: it was named FlipYourShit in 2004, disappeared from 2006 until 2008, when it reappeared as “THE ZINE.” In 2010, the zine rebranded as “NOISE” for a single issue. Since then, the publication has been on hiatus for well over a decade.

Station manager Emma Olney ’25 said the revival of FlipYourShit was a part of what drove her to join WBOR’s management. Olney has had her own feminist punk radio show on WBOR since her first year and learned about zine culture from that scene.

Work on the FlipYourShit revival began last semester. Olney and the rest of WBOR management learned how to format the zine from scratch. Most of the contributions for the first revival of the zine were sourced from WBOR staff and friends of WBOR staff, since it was more of an experimental publication.

Now, after a 13-year hiatus, station management thought the countercultural elements and freedom present in the zine were especially important to the philosophy of WBOR as a free space to share and express creativity.

“One of the important things about WBOR is that it feels like a distinctly student-run space,” Olney said. “Just the very premise of having student DJs supports the idea. So I think a zine kind of only makes sense in a space like WBOR, which is a creative space for self expression.”

FlipYourShit’s rules for publication—or lack thereof—emphasize the importance of creative freedom. The zine allows submissions to use profanity and obscenities and accepts any creative format. Contributors can write poetry and short stories, draw doodles or cartoons or utilize any other art form of their choosing. This fall’s zine contains several playlists and an essay about radio in the modern era written by an artificial intelligence version of Jesse Pinkman from AMC’s “Breaking Bad.”

Olney said the station received positive feedback on FlipYourShit, especially from first-year students.

“What [Daugherty] and I have been trying to do is to make [WBOR] a lot more accessible,” Olney said. “I think everyone needs a creative outlet… so we tried to market [FlipYourShit] to first years to introduce [the station] as an option to them for their time at Bowdoin.”

WBOR intends to continue publishing FlipYourShit and open contributions up to all students in future issues.

FlipYourShit contributor Ben Norwood ’25 said that the zine’s success reflects increased interest in WBOR on campus.

“I think the work that WBOR is doing is really, really good,” Norwood said. “It’s definitely seen a huge revival in the past couple of years.”


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