WSCS is a non-commercial educational FM radio station located in New London, NH.

Studio and transmitter are located on the campus of Colby-Sawyer College.

wscs radio

Behind the Beats of WSCS

Tune into the college's radio station, WSCS, on Monday afternoons, and you'll be treated to something unique in the New London region: Turkish pop and rap music. First-year student and Turkish native Numan Ozdaga hosts a one-hour radio show that offers sounds from his homeland. Numan is one of 30 students who hosts music shows on WSCS, 90.9 on the FM dial in New London. Students are the life of the station, selecting programs, setting schedules and coming to the rescue when emergencies occur.

WSCS is a non-commercial, educational radio station that adheres to Federal Communication Commission guidelines. The station reaches radio listeners in New London and beyond: although its broadcast range is just five miles, WSCS streams shows on the World Wide Web. That's great news for people such as Hiroto Tsuru, a DJ whose family members listen to his show in Japan.

There are nearly 50 people who host shows, including students, faculty, staff and community members. Though the bulk of programming features music, the station also airs such segments as a filmreview show, a talk show that spotlights coaches and student-athletes, and poetry readings.

Associate Professor Hester Fuller advises the students who run the campus radio station, the Radio Club and the student executive board. When Professor Fuller joined the Colby-Sawyer faculty in 2003, she came with 20 years of experience working in commercial broadcasting, radio documentary journalism and audio production. She also had five years experience as a faculty advisor at another college radio station.

“I love working with these students,” Professor Fuller says. “They're a great bunch this term, eager to learn and try stuff, with loads of energy and a great sense of fun and of what they like on the air.” But Professor Fuller is simply the woman behind the curtain. The running of the station belongs to the student body, and specifically to the WSCS Executive Board, a group of students, each of whom plays a different part in overseeing the station.

At the beginning of each semester, Professor Fuller invites anyone interested in holding a board position to attend a preliminary meeting. Each candidate explains what position they want to hold, why, and then answers some questions on how they would solve certain problems. Current board members vote for who they feel is best qualified. People elected to new positions remain until the next semester, when a new batch of students gets the opportunity to fill a spot on the board.

Station newcomers have to do their time to gain respect and priority. Just ask program director, Kristin McDonald '08, whose job is to schedule DJ air time. “Those DJs who have been on the air longer get priority over those who are new,” Kristin says.

Students are attracted to the exciting world of radio for different reasons. For Kristin, working in the radio industry was a long-time passion finally realized. Since she was 13, Kristin has known she wanted to get into TV or radio. “Now I get to fulfill my dream,” she says. “By being program director as well as having a show, I get to see what goes on behind the scenes as well as to do what I enjoy.”

Often, students inspire their peers to get involved or take on more responsibility at the radio station. Jessica Dorgai '08, the current station manager, is among those who were coaxed into radio. “Last year's station manager, Sean Joncas '05, was the person who got me interested in doing radio,” she says. “His support and excitement for the position he held and the radio station, in general, really got me interested.”

As station manager, Jessica oversees the entire production, doing everything from scheduling shows and programs to dealing with any DJ problems (such as inappropriate language on air). Her main task is to get everyone at the station organized for a weekly meeting and to go through what needs to be done for that week. Jessica didn't just jump right into such an important role. “I was a music director last semester, and I found I wanted to do more. I kept coming up with new ideas on how we could make things more efficient,” says Jessica.

Co-music directors Julie D'Onofrio '07 and Sean Ahern '09 epitomize the spirit of team effort, divvying up their responsibilities. Sean focuses more on rock music, calling up distributors to find out what new music they'll send and when it can be played on the air. He also monitors language to make sure new albums are safe to be played on the air. “If there is cursing, I have to note it on the front of the album,” he says. Julie carries out similar tasks but for other types of music. Julie and Sean both agree “It's a pretty awesome job, we get to listen to music and talk to other people who love music too.”

Chances are that, if you're a frequent listener to WSCS or someone who only occasionally tunes in, it's because of people like Jesse Lundberg '08, the station propagandist. As propagandist, Jesse promotes the station through posters and press releases. He recently designed a logo for the station's 10-year anniversary, which they're calling 'Tin-'TEN'-abulation.' Jesse, a graphic design major, applies his art education to his radio duties, which he hopes will serve him beyond Colby-Sawyer. “We (executive board members) have to make everything run smoothly at the station. This will transfer over well when trying to set priorities in the real world,” he says.

Jessica also looks forward to what the future may hold. “I've been offered work at a few record labels. I know the work I've done here at WSCS will give me a good foundation to bring with me to the work place.” She already feels prepared to deal with the ups and downs of the industry and thinks the hardest part of her job is finding time to accomplish everything. “There are some things that need to be done as soon as possible, and I have to make time in my day to get it done—like running up to the station late at night because someone is having a problem with the transmitter or the alarm system. When you get a call like that you just need to drop everything and go,” she says.

But so goes the nature of radio broadcasting. As Professor Fuller puts it, a college radio station is “Often fun, often frustrating, never predictable.” For better or for worse, listeners will always be able to count on these dedicated student executives and WSCS DJs to bring you a wide variety of music from both today and yesterday.