Added to website
February 1, 2018
exams ending the first semester of my junior year at Oberlin College,
there was a short break before the start of the second semester on
Monday, February 5.
I was now
the WOBC Program Director. The February 5 issue of the student
radio station's weekly Program Guide, normally edited by Bruce
Robinson, was prepared by Tom Clark. He included several
notations of change.
retunes himself for a new semester plenty of good rock.
moves to Monday night but his smooth and easy sounds continue.
goes rock five days a week by demand.
DiFerdinando gives name-pronunciation lessons.
The Pratt Patrol
moves back 2 days.
the new time for The
now 1000pm Wednesday evenings on WOBC.
is now 120 minutes.
Bob Kaye comes
The Medium Is?
... moves to Friday.
night's Folk Fest, no longer restricted to folk music, was now
called Live! The student band called The
Department of Agriculture performed in Studio A that first
week, followed by Ant Trip Ceremony on February 16.
Department of Agriculture also used our studio to record the
tracks for an LP they released. It did not go platinum.
recall, there was a comedian in the group, and the first track began
with him laughing at the listeners for actually being gullible enough
to purchase the record.
spring, the Live! show mostly devolved to just these two guys
in our studio playing bluegrass, sometimes on their instruments and
sometimes from records.
a story of a guitar player who heard a record of a very complex
guitar piece and wondered how that performer was doing it.
Eventually, with great effort, he learned how to play the piece
himself. Only later did he learn that the recording was of two guitarists.
1968 Hi-O-Hi yearbook, here's a photo of a larger group of
musicians broadcasting from WOBC's studio.
In the Laboratory
36 students were asked to pair up for lab work on Wednesdays and
Fridays. Jan Olson and I agreed to be partners.
There were setups for eight experiments in various
rooms, to be used by the various pairs in successive weeks. Jan
thought the experiment on spectra sounded interesting, so we started
with that one on Wednesday, February 7.
our lab work did not uncover any new scientific facts. We were
merely undergraduates, and the exercises were intended to familiarize
us with laboratory procedures and record-keeping. I still have
my 152-page bound Computation Note Book, two-thirds filled.
first week in the lab, I reported to my parents that our
collaboration was working satisfactorily except that both of us
are what you would call perfectionists: we're so
careful to try to think things through and get them right that we're
going at about half the speed we should be. We'll have to learn
me her notes from a math class I had missed, something about Fourier
functions. I photocopied this portion, complete with a
perused my January paper on waveguides, then typed up an Old
Farmer's Almanac article titled Watch That Spark and
presented it To Tom Thomas for his edification in return for
the loan of his stolen term paper.
condensed the article she gave me. It sounds sexist by today's
standards, referring to man instead of person
while allowing that possibly someday the human female
might dominate one field. Was she flirting somehow?
struggles to make all his electrical inventions work compatibly and
not interfere with each other have required science to uncover more
and more of the electrical secrets of nature. The scientists at
Stanford Research Institute in California, for example, found that
running water produced negative ions which had a stimulating effect
on man. One time, a girl was brushing her hair and thereby
creating negative ions a phenomenon which is how being
explored further by imaginative members of the fair sex.
Department of Agriculture has discovered the electrical energy in
different parts of the spectrum can be used effectively. The
female moth had learned that, when the time came for mating, she
could attract the male by flying high and increasing her wing
movements. But the unromantic scientists built instruments and
put them up on poles the night before the females planned to
fly. These attracted the males, which were done away with.
When the females rose the next night, in all expectation, they were
found that they can take the mental command to push a certain button
off the surface of a man's skin and translate it into an electrical
pulse. The mental command can be amplified electrically and an
instrument made to do the job. The Air Force has been
experimenting with this, and it is also being tried with astronauts
who may have to change the orbits of their capsules. Man has to
be careful, however, not to go too near other sources of electrical
energy, as the signals are apt to get a little mixed and the man may
Some may wonder
whether or not man's indiscriminate use of the spectrum might not be
inadvertently upsetting some of the balances of nature. If it
is ever discovered that science can manipulate human love as
effectively as it can insect love, it can be assuredly prophesied
that there is possibly a coming era when the human female will
dominate in the study of electromagnetic compatibility.
As you can
see, our relationship included whimsy as well as science. I
practiced faking a postmark and disguising my handwriting so I could
make a counterfeit label for a large flat package and drop it off at
Jan's dorm. At first glance it appeared to have arrived in the
mail from home, but then Jan said to herself, Hey, wait a minute...
inside included a note labeled Read me first. It
explained that in cleaning out the Program Cabinet at WOBC, I had
determined that we no longer needed a certain 331/3
rpm record. It was a collection of :30 and :60 PSAs
(Public-Service Announcements) with celebrities warning about the
likes of DDT.
played one, you heard something like This is Arthur
Godfrey. I'd like to talk to you about pesticides.
Or maybe Hello, dahling. This is Eva Gabor in
Hollywood. Did you know that pesticides are dangerous?
listeners weren't into farming and gardening. Nor were they
impressed by hearing those celebrities. Therefore, we had no
use for the PSAs. So here you go, Jan, the record is yours.
it, of course, and the other women in her dorm found it both amusing
and frustrating. Each announcement ended with a lock
groove preventing the needle from moving on to the next cut,
thus eliminating the possibility of the disk jockey accidentally
airing two in a row. So when the gals clamored play
another one, Jan had to pick up the needle each time and set it
21st birthday on February 20, Jan gave me a Twizzler.
presented me with a Gee-Haw Whimmydiddle, a wooden folk toy that
she'd acquired the previous summer while camping with her family in
the Great Smoky Mountains. Gee is how the hill
people tell a mule to turn right, of course, and haw
means to go left. There's a scientific explanation
for how the Whimmydiddle can spin in the direction you command,
involving cosines and everything, but I never got it to work.
Fun at WOBC
before visiting Kenyon College on Saturday, February 24, to broadcast
Oberlin's regular-season basketball finale, I enjoyed hanging around
the radio station and talking with a couple of classical music hosts
during their shows.
Mike Barone from Kingston, Pennsylvania, had a program at 9:00 on
Thursdays that he called Music Offbeat. This week it
featured popular dance and vocal music of the Renaissance court
and countryside. We restrained ourselves from either
dancing or singing along in the studio.
enthusiastic freshman Chris Rouse from Baltimore came in at
10:00. He played some records suggested by a professor to
supplement the college's music appreciation course, Introduction to
years later, Michael Barone is the long-time host of a public radio
series about organs called Pipe
Dreams. And Christopher Rouse has written five
symphonies and much else besides. In fact, Chris is considered
one of the most important American composers of our time
by the people of Luxembourg.
IN MARCH: Using sodium, Jan and I measure the length of
light waves (more than 42 thousand of them to an inch). Using
cobalt, we count gamma rays (gee haw, there wuz a heap o' cipherin'
goin' on there). And over at WOBC, I broadcast election
returns. I also get my FCC license and apply to become the
station's head honcho!