One of the many clubs and organizations Olivet College has to offer is our student-run, FCC-licensed radio station, WOCR 89.1 FM, The One. Founded in 1975, WOCR is a commercial-free educational radio station broadcast from the Convergent Media Center on campus.
You might be asking yourself, why radio? In a day and age when anyone can plug in their curated playlist or podcast, why bother with something that may seem old-fashioned? According to a 2021 PEW Research article, “Audio and Podcasting Fact Sheet,” 83% of Americans 12 years and older listen to the radio every week, which shows radio is alive and well.
Assistant Professor of Media Production and Communication and Faculty Advisor to WOCR 89.1 Daine Pavloski ’13 added, “While music streaming services, podcasts, and all those other large-scale, web-first platforms can produce and host great content, no one covers local areas like local, community media. That local, community-based programming is what I think really sets traditional radio aside from other audio offerings in today’s multimedia environment.”
WOCR allows students to learn the basics of media production in a collaborative, educational, and fun environment. Maggie Berner, live talk-show host turned podcaster, is one student who has worked with WOCR for the past couple of years. She and her friend Breanne Wilder host a podcast called The Musical Mitten where they talk all things Michigan musicians and shine a light on the talent found in the good ole’ Mitten.
While she loved her time on live radio, podcasting has been more sustainable for Maggie. People can listen to her show on their own time and on their preferred platforms, and she can have the flexibility to record whenever it fits her schedule best.
One of Maggie’s biggest takeaways from her time with WOCR is that, “If you want something, you can find a way to make it achievable, even if it seems like it’s too big, scary or just plain impossible. WOCR is filled with passionate people who encourage you to chase after your goals, and they’ll help you get there.”
Being involved with this student organization helped Maggie find her passion, and she hopes to continue working in the music industry in some capacity once she graduates. She said of WOCR, “I think I found my niche. I found what I want to do and the people that I want to spend time with, and I don’t think that there’s anything more valuable than that.”
Sports broadcasting is another big part of WOCR. Brielle Broderick is Olivet’s up-and-coming expert in this area. After taking a broadcasting class in high school, Brielle decided to pursue it as a career option. She enjoyed being both in front of and behind the camera, so she knew it would be a good fit for her in college.
Last year Brielle was trained in sports broadcasting and commentating by an upper-class student; together, they would practice commentating on Madden simulations to get comfortable talking about what the different players were doing. She is excited to take the reins in the sports department by broadcasting the football and basketball games this year.
WOCR has quickly become home to Brielle. She said, “It’s a family atmosphere. It doesn’t matter if you’re brand new to it or if you are senior and you’ve been around for a while. Everyone is welcoming and there are no cliques because the upper-level students want to make sure you know what you’re doing before they leave.”
That atmosphere is one of the defining features of WOCR. Professor Pavolski, faculty advisor, shared, “One of my favorite memories from my time as an OC student was when I’d go down to the lower level of the KC at night. There would always be students down there working on projects, hopping on-air on each other’s shows, or just hanging out and chatting. That sense of community and those relationships really garnered a sense of belonging for me and helped me find my fit on campus.”
Station Manager Andy Sadler added, “You don’t have to be a media production and communications major to be a part of WOCR. If radio is interesting to you, WOCR is welcoming to anybody and everybody.”
With the nature of media today, students studying business, marketing, graphic design, sports management and more can benefit from working with WOCR. Professor Pavloski said, “Communication skills, the ability to work as a member of a collaborative team, and web and social media content development skills are all extremely valuable traits for students heading into the professional world in a wide variety of fields. We hope that student media at Olivet can serve as a main hub to bring us all together.”
Stream live and learn more about WOCR by visiting their website here.
Learn more about Olivet College by contacting the Office of Admission at 269-749-7635 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This feature was written by Savannah Baker, a senior studying English and business. The former editor of Olivet’s literary journal, Garfield Lake Review, Savannah now pursues her interest in writing and editing as a marketing intern with Olivet College.