WOBC’s outreach team sends a call to WOBC veterans to write us
their fondest memories and favorite radio-related anecdotes…
Here are some of the responses we’ve received:
I was with WOBC all 4 years of my time at Oberlin, waaaaaaaaaay back in the early 1980s. Senior year I was the Jazz Director and Public Affairs Director. We had equipment from the 1950s, and CDs weren’t even a twinkle in the future’s eye. Everything was on LPs.
There were 2 other people on the “Executive Board”, as it was called back then, one named David Greene, and the other Karen Glauber. Karen was on the air doing her show (she went on to do some pretty cool things with Indy Rock at A&M Records), and at the time there was a glass panel between the control room and the studio where we sometimes had live performances. David thought it would be excellent to, well, drop his drawers and press his posterior against the glass while Karen was talking on the air. Karen, upon seeing the full moon over Oberlin, proclaimed to her listening audience, “David Greene has pimples on his a**!!”
While not a moment for the broadcast journalism hall of fame, it was, nonetheless, rather funny, perhaps in a “you had to be there” kind of way??
My guess is that this kind of history is not exactly what you are seeking. But, 30 year hence it still, so to speak, sticks out in my memory as a formative event during my WOBC years.
Can’t wait to drop by the station this commencement weekend!! I haven’t been there since my 20th reunion, 10 years ago. Thanks for putting this together!!
P.S. I remain committed to being fully clothed in public despite that event, so no worries about the unsightly during my drop-in to WOBC!
I wasn’t a DJ but a newscast member. My first week, Jerry Parra (station manager) took time to teach us how to correctly pronounce “Nicaragua.” Let’s just say that it took this Vermonter more than a few times to get it right!
– Lucinda Walker ’86
Not a DJ but I married one. Well, to qualify this: I *was* a DJ, modestly a co-DJ, with my friend Kai downstairs at the ‘sco. But my wife, Lucinda Walker (’86), now a small town library director in Vermont, did have a stint at OBC. I ventured up into the “attic” of the radio station (“musty” and “ochre” come to mind) only once. I think it was during my junior year, or early in my senior year, 1985, I was interviewed inside a small interior studio by a middle-aged man from outside Oberlin who was an editor at a local literary journal The Black River Review (he had a regular show, as far as I know). This constituted my first interview and, in a way, it was my “public foray” into authorship. In my senior year, and–significantly–in a tiny room in the center of a gray off-campus house, I started listening to WOBC regularly–and I wish I had started earlier. The connection to what the DJ chose to play was compelling, even while what was spinning were new worlds. Back from the first Oberlin semester in Dublin, Ireland (having seen R.E.M. play to about fifty young Irish–AFTER they had played Finney), I was starting to find affinities beyond what I had previously known.
Long live OBC. Viva!
I had a show with Anna McGlynn (also ’07) where we interviewed writers, both students and professors. We got sort of sick of doing real interviews so one day we had “Jesus” come on as a guest. My mom and Anna’s mom both called in because they were worried we were being offensive.
Josh Rubin: Wow, so many people I know in the thread. I was jazz director immediately after David Dunn, then Program Director for two years (first year shared the spot with Lorenzo “Jerry” Parra, second year Jerry was Station Manager and I was sole PD). Also friends with Peter and Lucinda during time at OC and after (hi, guys). Way too much history for me to tell all, so, since Dave posted and Lucinda mentioned Jerry, I’ll tell a story about the two of them. Jerry was in charge of news/public affairs in ’82-83. He liberated our newscasts from the old UPI teletype, brought in a very early PC (one of the infamous Oberlin Osbornes) and had us subscribe to Interlink/Interpress news service which we received via the computer for a more global perspective on news. Before he did this, he raised the issue with the board and some objected to giving up UPI. Dave gave an impassioned defense of Jerry’s vision and commitment to WOBC providing news that is as alternative as the music was. Dave’s speech ended with something to the effect of “after all of the great things this mensch, this bubbe, has done for WOBC news, we really ought to give him the benefit of the doubt.”
Other memories — Station Manager David Greene (81-82) climbing the antenna in a thunderstorm to make some repairs. Scared the shit out of us.
A live jam Louie Louie marathon — anyone could drop in with any instrument and join in. I think we played it continuously for 12 hours or more.
Interviewing Graham Chapman.
Finally, I commented on the April 7 history thread. I still don’t recognize who those people are.
— Josh Rubin ’85
(And one more love note from a WOBC DJ)
For me, WOBC has always been synonymous with cute guys. There’s just something about doing community radio and appreciating good music that makes people 100% more attractive to me. For reference, I usually go for people who look like pirates, but WOBC has expanded this taste to include people who look like heroin addicts and 1990s dads. Name a boy who was in a position of power at WOBC during my 4 year tenure here, and I will quickly relate an anecdote about the time we bonded over Kentucky, 13th Floor Elevators, or something weird at a filing party. Good lord, you’re all so cute.
WOBC parties provided many opportunities for flirting, failure, and NOT getting to make out with former Metal Director Charlie O’Hara. I could go on and on about the heartbreak, exciting stories, tears, belligerence and FEELINGS related to radio boys, but that would be dull. So all I’m gonna say is, if in 10-15 years, any of you fellas wanna be the cute music-nerdy father of my children, that’d be chill. We could name them Townes, and Loretta and they’d have excellent taste in music and they’d ALWAYS clap on the beat. Just throwing that out there…
If you have any WOBC related memories or love notes you would like to share, email them to email@example.com.
Doing my due diligence as a Freshman DJ, I was in the station sometime between 4 and 5 am on a Wednesday morning, probably jamming some Fiona Apple or something. In my half-awake stupor, I wandered out of the station, down the sparsely lit hall towards the worst bathroom in Oberlin. It wasn’t til I was back at the station door that I realized I had left ID card somewhere in the there.
I think a normal person may have just exited Wilder and gone home at this point but I got really nervous, didn’t want to cause dead-air and also needed all my stuff. So I wandered around the dark halls of Wilder aimlessly trying to come up with a “plan” or find a custodian. Eventually, I decided to jump the counter of the front desk and squeeze through the wood paneled curtain to look for a key or call someone? I found a girl’s ID back there that astonishingly granted me access into the station.
Later that week, I got a “talking to” from some of the board members in Decafe for breaking Wilder rules (I’ll never know how they knew about my break-in) but I think I did the right thing : ) the show must go on….
Another love letter….
I think some the best times of my life have gone down at WOBC parties.
– Emily Weber
A WOBC love note:
My show is named Hobo Deli in honor of a song written by Rip Smops, former WOBC DJ. The song is about a deli in upstate NY where hobos hang out. Rip told me he was really enticed by the deli but got “kicked out of town” before he had a chance to chill there, so he wrote a song about what he thought was inside the deli. He showed me some of the lyrics:
“Hobo deli, hobo deli/Onion bagel, butter and jelly/ Praise Jah”
I really liked them so I asked Rip if I could name my next radio show in his honor. When i first met Rippy i thought he was a weird older dude with long gray hair who really liked to play random tapes and flail in the dj booth. We had back-to-back shows for two semesters which ruled. Once I played Pink Floyd and he told me that “sucked” and that my music taste was “boring and predictable”. we would hang out in the station during my show and we talked about stupid people, vibes, aliens existing (i said no he said yes), feeling weird and enchiladas. When we no longer had back to back shows, he called into my show most weeks to tell me what he thought- he usually thought it was “ok”. Rip was always hiding from Petra the (former) Operations Manager because he refused to log his shows and she was mad at him. He said he was “technology free” but he has an extensive website devoted to himself (www.ripsmops.net) so I question the truth of this statement. When we no longer ran into each other every week in the station, we missed hanging out so we went to Lupitas to eat enchiladas or he called me and said “make dinner” so I made us fish tacos. That was last summer before he moved from Oberlin to El Paso, TX. I miss Rip, I lost his phone number and finally ran into his friend Scott who gave it to me. We talked for awhile on the phone last week but it wasn’t the same as enchiladas at Lupitas or hanging out in the radio station. This one’s for Rip.
– Amanda Mummery
(We love ) the Wednesday show from 3-4 (I think it’s called What’s Jazz?) we love listening to it during our shift at decaf!
– Kaleena Fraga
Last summer on my show (Chameleon Radio, Mondays 10am-noon) I had a little brown bat visit the studio! It was on the floor and I thought it was a stuffed toy. I went to pick it up and it moved and I just about jumped out of my shoes! I told the janitor about it and someone came and took the bat outof the building.
– Chuck Ryals
Hey, this is ██████, ████ ██ ███████ ██ ███████. You want a love note? Well..
Here’s one for Fiz.
I sat next to her at the general meeting, and had a lovely chance encounter with her at a house party and delved into discussing Trust. I was under the assumption we were talking about Trust (a little loved French Metal band with a unique blend of AC/DC and NWOBHM) but not Trust (A Canadian Synthpop band that can arguably be called Darkwave.) Now, I haven’t the metal to face time with her, but still.. I’m sure there’s a few choice Dave Mustaine lyrics (perhaps some from Mechanix) and maybe Accept (Metal Heart and Breaker?) that go rushing through my head like an electric shock. I’m wondering if there can be anymore cheesy one liners thrown in combined with music references.. Hmm, I guess for Fiz, I’m Hellbent for Denim.
Anonymous (But not the sh**ty Anonymous from Horde who put out that ‘Christian’ Black Metal Album Hellig Usvart)
The most recent, amazing event in my WOBC career:
Tuesday night, 9PM, the Junkyard Brown Radio show, spinning all your favorite New Wave, Shoegaze, PUNK, post-punk, grundge and goth jams from the 70’s-present.
So I play my second song of the night, a cute little riot girl punk number, and no less than a minute into it I get a call from a girl asking,
“Hey, can you play a different song? This song is just really crunchy and I have a headache.”
In my mind, I thought…hmm, you’re not going to like the rest of the show, and who is forcing you to listen to the radio.
– Bee Brown
One morning during the spring of my second year at Oberlin when my show, “Day/Night Dreams,” was in its first iteration a stranger called me up. He said he was from Chicago and that he worked in a restaurant that was just opening up for the day and that their Pandora wasn’t working, so he’d somehow stumbled upon my show on WOBC to listen to while he cleaned off tables or something. He said I was >>killing it<<, that I was the best he ever h(e)a(r)d. He asked me to play a song by The Clean, so I did, and later on in the hour HE CALLED ME BACK and asked to hear something by The Vaselines, so I frantically searched for something by them related to my theme and played “The Devil’s Inside Me.” I couldn’t believe he’d called me twice, and every week after that I waited for another call from him requesting more songs, asking me to elope and waitress with him etc. etc. He never called me back, and I still wonder if it was just a friend who knew too well that I’d be entranced by the story of some mysterious boy fatefully coming across my radio show while he worked in some restaurant some morning some where. Either way it was a very memorable Day/(Night) Dream during a groggy WOBC morning. And if he ever calls back…
– Emma Smith
An anonymous caller who goes by the name Mr Jiminy frequently called into my shows, requesting things like Macy Gray and the theme song from Boobah in a spooky voice, but it turns out that it’s just my friend Devon.
– Brian Becker
One of my happiest memories of the year was receiving a call from my friend in London, England. I had told him that I had a radioshow from 4-5am, and he and his family were just getting up to begin their day when he decided to give the WOBC a call. It touched me that he remembered a little detail from a past a conversation and took, all the way from across the pond, the initiative to talk to me on an otherwise very lonely morning.
WOBC engineer Ryan Caruso, former folk director Janney Lockman, punk director Madeline Meyer, DJ Bee Brown, treasurer Aaron Braun, operations Manager Katie Thornton and DJ Taylor Stanton marched in Oberlin’s 12th annual Big Parade on May 4th 2013 as a giant DJ spinning turntables.
How would you describe the show?
Crushed is an hour long weekly exploration of romantic entanglements. We like to talk about unrequited love, heartbreak, and occasionally the warm and fuzzy parts of romance – although we usually make fun of that, because happiness and contentment do not make for very interesting radio. We feature interviews with students and community members, and read each week from the anonymous “missed connections” submissions that we receive online. (You should do this too! facebook.com/crushedwobc) And interspersed throughout is some really catchy music about love and loss and lust and like-like-ing (if you don’t know what that means, listen to the show or watch Hey Arnold.)
How would you describe yourselves?
“so cute it hurts,” – The Grape.
We’d like to add that we’re great and we smell good and we are very easily enthused… and that we are prone to at least two relatively major technical difficulties per show.
What inspires you to do your show?
Tru luv and deep-seated, personal bitterness. – Kitt
The never ending need to find other people to commiserate with on campus. I feel so much better about my own love life when I realize that most people’s are just as awkward, upsetting, and downright weird. – Sophie
What are you listening to RIGHT NOW?
The sweet, dulcet murmurs of eager academics in Azariah’s….and the Thermals, who are teeth grindingly, teen angst-ily good.
What is your favorite show on WOBC?
We’re often throwing things together last minute, which means we hang out in the studio the hour before our show. As a result we get to listen to the amazing Young, Gifted and Black. It’s thought provoking, hilarious, and we’re consistently jealous of their incredibly well-curated playlists and expertly-blended transitions.
Black River Brunch, every Saturday and Sunday and sometimes Tuesdays when we skip class. Kitt gets two eggs over easy with homefries and rye toast. Sophie gets an everything bagel with cream cheese, bacon and one scrambled egg. It is literally the same almost every time.
4th of July. With Sophie’s entire extended family (yes, Kitt goes too.) It’s an experience.
*not valentine’s day, obviously, because it is actually the worst. same for new years. kissing makes us want to throw up.*
Listen to our show, because we seek SO much external validation and we’re known for giving embarrassing, overly-emotional shoutouts to specific listeners. Also, send us your stories – we’re always on the hunt for a good crush.
The Top 30 is a weekly section of the WOBC blog where we highlight the 30 most-played new albums each week. Check out what our DJs are spinning!
1 MILK MUSIC Cruise Your Illusion
2 OS MUTANTES Fool Metal Jack
3 DEAD C / RANGDA Dead C Vs. Rangda
4 DEVENDRA BANHART Mala
5 THE KNIFE Shaking The Habitual
6 SOURCE FAMILY The Source Family
7 JEPH JERMAN Rundle
8 IGGY AND THE STOOGES Ready To Die
9 THEE OH SEES Floating Coffin
10 WIRE Change Becomes Us
11 FELA KUTI The Best Of The Black President 2
12 MY BLOODY VALENTINE MBV
13 REPLACEMENTS Songs For Slim
14 BARDO POND Rise Above It All
15 DAVID BOWIE The Next Day
16 KURT VILE Wakin On A Pretty Daze
17 ICEAGE You’re Nothing
18 THE MEN New Moon
19 AARON DILLOWAY Corpse On Horseback
20 JANDEK Richmond Sunday
21 FIRE ORCHESTRA Exit
22 JOHN ZORN The Mysteries
23 AUTRE NE VEUT Anxiety Software
24 SUN CITY GIRLS Eye Mohini
25 FLAMING LIPS The Terror
26 DEERHUNTER Monomania
27 GHOSTFACE KILLAH Tweleve Reasons To Die
28 RICHARD THOMPSON Electric
29 AUTECHRE Exai
30 JAMES BLAKE Overgrown
The Top 30 is a weekly section of the WOBC blog where we highlight the 30 most-played new albums each week. Check out what our DJs are spinning!
1 BARDO POND Rise Above It All
2 YO LA TENGO Fade
3 NEIL YOUNG AND CRAZY HORSE Psychedelic Pill
4 JAMES BLAKE Overgrown
5 LANA DEL REY Paradise
6 REPLACEMENTS Songs For Slim
7 WIRE Change Becomes Us
8 BRIAN ENO Lux
9 MEAT PUPPETS Rat Farm
10 JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE The 20/20 Experience
11 SODOM Epitome Of Torture
12 SONIC YOUTH Smart Bar Chicago 1985
13 ANDREW BIRD Hands Of Glory
14 NEW ORDER Lost Sirens
15 M83 Oblivion
16 BLEACHED Ride Your Heart
17 SUFJAN STEVENS Silver And Gold
18 SIX FEET UNDER Unborn
19 TORTURE KILLER Phobia
20 BLUE HAWAII Untogether
21 BABIES Our House On The Hill
22 JAMES FERRARO Cold
23 DAVID BOWIE The Next Day
24 THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS Nanobots
25 TOKIMONSTA Half Shadows
26 AARON DILLOWAY Corpse On Horseback
27 MILK MUSIC Cruise Your Illusion
28 AUTRE NE VEUT Anxiety Software
29 NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS Push The Sky Away
30 PARQUET COURTS Light Up Gold
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