July 26, 2002
Radiance for our Radio Audience" was the unofficial slogan
of WOBC, the 10-watt radio station at Oberlin College. It was
also the title of an article in the May 1967 edition of the Oberlin
Alumni Magazine, written
by station directors Richard Lasko '67 and Ted Gest '68.
may have missed that article, so here are some highlights (printed
below). This gives me a chance to show you some of the pictures
and to add my comments.
photos come from the 1967 and 1968 editions of Hi-O-Hi,
college yearbook. For example, this photo. Threading up
one of the Ampex tape decks is pop music director Dave Webster '69,
while the telephone receiver is apparently being used by someone else
in the busy control room.
Alumni Magazine article began:
one time or another,
nearly every Oberlin student comes in contact with WOBC, now the
largest extra-curricular organization on campus.
constantly increasing staff and excellent
facilities in Wilder Hall have made it possible for us to expand our
broadcasting to over 100 hours each week, one of the highest figures
in the nation for college stations. Listener response is
difficult to measure, although reactions received have been generally enthusiastic.
disk jockeys in Studio B: yours truly (top) and Dave Webster (bottom).
control panel, which we called "cette" (short for
consolette), was custom-built by the station's engineers. It
had only three input channels, with a round black "pot" to
control the volume of each.
banks of lighted pushbuttons between the left two pots selected
turntables or other sources. The third pot was for the
microphone; Dave is turning it down with his right hand while his
left hand fades up the music.
charge of the equipment in 1967 were the two engineers shown
below. Standing is Walt Jones '67. Seated is Tom Ammons
'68, who is now an engineer for WQED-FM in Pittsburgh.
is evenly divided between classical and popular music
including the "Hot 100," folk and jazz. We have
virtually limitless opportunities for the use of local talent.
folk musicians occasionally performed live in our Studio A.
Jim Pratt '70 and John
'68 in the outer office.
is proud of the fact that it is one of the only radio stations in
the country which is operated completely by students.
does not offer academic courses in radio. Yet, a few years'
experience as a WOBC staff member can provide a good education in the
techniques of program production, announcing, and the maintenance of equipment.
also is a valuable teaching device in the art of working with others
of vastly different personalities.
1968, Oberlin College held a mock Republican National Convention at
its field house. WOBC broadcast
the proceedings live, and as seen in the picture below, a WOBC
personality ended up on the podium: Ken Braiterman '69.
He was the man behind our version of "Saturday Night Live,"
a Friday-night satirical hour called "Backgammon 101."
(The gentleman in the background is the honorary chairman of the
convention, future president Gerald Ford.)
greatest claim to uniqueness among college radio stations is a daily
news feature, "Oberlin Digest," Oberlin's only daily news
service. Each weekday evening the Digest staff presents a
special 30-minute program of interest to the Oberlin community.
the magazine article's photographer, a group of us sat in Studio A
and pretended to be conducting an "Oberlin Digest" panel
discussion. In the foreground is engineer Dick Stump '68.
At the table left to right are Paul Sturm '68, Tom Clark '69, myself,
and Ted Gest. See also this
photo and these photos.
staged pictures in studio A. Above, I'm at the piano.
Randy Bongarten '71 is putting on the headphones, and Marc Krass '70
is on the right.
classical music director Mike Barone '68 is on the left, with Bruce
Robinson '68 and Dick Lasko. Helpful
Hiram is on the table.
the 1965 Oberlin Alumni Magazine, Fred Leutner '65 wrote that
"every four years a completely new staff rewrites policies which
were thought unchangeable one student generation earlier."
only real trend we can cite with any certainty is that WOBC is
constantly changing. Each new staff member and each new
executive board works toward making WOBC a bigger and better
"Radio Voice of Oberlin College."