Radio Shows Outside the Radio Station


WCAL members (from left to right) Rebecca Glusco, Zachary Hixenbaugh, Evan Peffer, Thomas Caton, Nicholas Rae, Andrea Kroll, Trevin Keteles, and Kole Miller at the 80th annual Intercollegiate Broadcasting Systems Conference in New York City, March 2020

Rebecca Glusco is the station manager of the WCAL radio station on the campus of Cal U. Just like many other clubs and organizations on campus, the radio station members have not been able to do anything in person ever since the covid-19 pandemic hit back in March. However, that disturbance did not stop the work flow.

Glusco says the pandemic affected the work of the radio station profoundly. Members of WCAL, called disk jockeys or DJs, have the opportunity to play clean music and have bubbly personalities while on the air. However, the radio station has sat empty for the last few months, just like the rest of the Cal U campus.

“Since students had to vacate the campus, no DJ has done an in-person radio show since early March,” said Glusco.

Even though there has not been any student radio shows for the past eight months, WCAL still airs music at all times, thanks to their handy dandy “DJ-1800” system that continuously plays music over the air when students are not in the radio booth.

“We have created a way to create shows remotely and play them over the air at certain times,” said Glusco. “However, there is a lot less student content being played over the air.”

Glusco said student DJs have been able to record shows remotely at home and send them into her and WCAL advisor, Gary Smith, to play over the air in the station.

“We are turning a negative into a positive,” said Smith. “These remote shows are for the DJs to stay motivated and for the fans that listen to WCAL, and hopefully we will be back to operating normally for the spring.”

Consisting of only 16 members, WCAL is noted as a strong and mighty group, according to Glusco. While the members could not meet in person for safety reasons, keeping in touch with one another was crucial. Rather than using Zoom to stay in contact, members of WCAL use a smart phone app, called Discord, to stay connected. Glusco says this app has fewer connection problems than Zoom and makes meetings easier to get through.

Zach Hixenbaugh, another fellow DJ and executive board member of WCAL, has similar answers to Glusco.

Hixenbaugh says the WCAL executive board holds meetings every Thursday via the Discord app and general meetings are held every other Monday for all other members to join.

Being stuck at home during this pandemic has not been easy. Hixenbaugh said since the campus was shut down and no one was allowed to be in the radio station, it has caused all operations to go remote and all student shows have been pre-recorded. He also says recruiting new people has been practically impossible since everyone now meets online.

“We have had pre-recorded shows on air for several weeks during the semester,” said Hixenbaugh. “I am the business manager for the radio station and we are also continuing to work with companies on underwriting details.”

Glusco and Hixenbaugh know the best way to showing a new DJ how to handle all equipment is with that hands-on experience. However, that cannot be done virtually.

WCAL members have been doing shows remotely and that has been no easy task. Glusco says it is very different because at home, the students do not have the same radio equipment that is readily available in the station.

“Another major difference is the inability to have any guests come to shows,” said Glusco.

People and other guests would always come sit in during other student’s radio shows and be able to talk on the air and provide individual personalities and fun times for listeners.

According to several WCAL members, everyone has different personalities over the air. Personalities are what make the station buzz and get people to listen in on particular shows.

Glusco and Hixenbaugh are hopeful for the spring semester, just like any other Cal U student, but their plans are slim. The other executive board members and Smith, radio advisor, are concocting plans on how to ensure safety measures and protocols for people that will be on campus for the spring.

“We will most likely continue to pre-record some shows for the spring,” said Hixenbaugh.

The toughest part about going live in the spring will be to ensure the safety of not only all WCAL members, but other members of the media suite including California University Television and the CalTimes student newspaper.

“Because of the nature of the station, which is rather small in size, there would be a high risk of contamination and infection with people playing live shows,” said Hixenbaugh.

Glusco does hope the radio station can allow more people to join and to get people back in the station and play shows live over the air again, which is what WCAL is most famous for.

“We’re all eager to get back to doing what we do best, and that is getting back in the station and doing live student radio shows,” said Glusco.

Some members are willing to do what it takes, including wearing face masks and practicing social distancing to get back into the radio station.

“Cal U loves listening to WCAL and we hope that students can have their voices heard once again in the spring semester,” said Glusco.