2014 End of the Year Update

It’s been an exciting semester for WVBR and CornellRadio.com at the new studio on Stewart and East Buffalo, and its location in the heart of Collegetown has contributed to one of the largest recruitment classes the Guild has seen since the move to the Cow Palace! Both WVBR and CornellRadio have completely filled their on-air time slots everyday from 6am-2am, thanks largely in part to the Guild taking on over 100 new member. These numbers put us in contention for the title of Cornell’s largest student organization.

The roots of large trees on our front lawn were growing into and threatening the structural integrity of the foundation, but this problem has now been addressed. ASI Renovations, our contractor, completed work on the station three weeks ago, and Ithaca building inspectors have assured us that the problem is fully resolved. This should be the last major renovation that needs to be done to the facilities for the foreseeable future, and it’s truly amazing to think about how far the building has come in just one year’s time.

Our efforts to improve the infrastructure of the station have continued beyond the confines of 604 E Buffalo St as we’re now looking to improve our ability to transmit our signal from Hungerford Hill. For the first time in 20 years, we have purchased a top-of-the-line transmitter and are waiting on its delivery. Although we will operate at the same power as we did with the last transmitter, the new transmitter will be able to deliver a clearer, stronger signal. Additionally, we are working toward erecting a new transmitter tower. The current one has been in operation since the ’60s and was originally designed for an AM signal. It was never designed to be used as long it has been in operation, and it’s about time that we continue our efforts to improve our facilities by replacing it.

Our collaboration with Big Red Sports Network has also been reaching new levels of success. BRSN has collaborated with our Sports Department to release short sports segments throughout the afternoon drive time. These “Sports Flashes,” as they’re called, focus on highly local sports content and provide us with stimulating content to draw new genres of listeners in. BRSN has also added a few shows to our weekend stable – from Saturday from 9-10pm, “FiRED Up” features in-depth, entertaining discussions that add a social spin to Cornell Sports. On Sunday, “Sports Roundup” continues to produce fantastic radio content with the assistance of the Big Red Sports Network crew.

Last but most certainly not least, the News Department has been recognized as the Guild’s “Most Improved Department” this year. The schedule for newscasters has been filled to capacity, but apart from the quantitative success the department has achieved, the quality of both radio and web content has improved immeasurably. Matt Fossen’s work on improving the station’s web content in particular deserves special recognition, and the department now produces “enterprise pieces,” which are short news articles that have arguably eclipsed the journalistic quality of other campus media organizations’ productions.

604 Update

After a successful past few weeks, it is clear that the 604 Relocation Project will exit 2013 with a bang!
On the weekend of November 23rd-24th, WVBR’s weekend specialty shows held a pledge drive. The specialty show hosts put their hearts and souls into passionately soliciting pledges throughout the weekend. Students staffed the phones throughout the weekend, and I’m happy to report that we received over $10,000 in pledges!
On the building side of the project, it’s full steam ahead. The transition from Cow Palace to the new studio will begin over winter break, and it seems as though we’ll be able to broadcast out of the new station in January. I helped paint a few rooms in the station, and although Kevin assured me that I’m a much better jok than a painter, the colors are really pulling the space together.
In other news: the student lounge has a name! I’m particularly excited about this bit of news, as I plan to spend a lot of time in the lounge in the coming years. I’m glad to say that a generous donation from an alumnus will officially mean that the student lounge is dedicated to the Class of 1960!
Last week, we sent out mail to all of our alumni to update everyone on the 604 Project’s progress. In the letter, Drew and I expressed our passion for this project. When all is said and done, WVBR is going to have the best college radio facilities in the country, and I think that’s something to get excited about. Students are going to be able to graduate from WVBR with the best experience possible, and I’m glad to have played a part in that.
Remember: you still have an opportunity to make donation that will count towards a 2013 tax deduction. Check out wvbr.com/capitalcampaign for information on how to give.

604 Update

I know something’s happening, because everything’s moving!

ASI started doing some real heavy lifting this week, and when I visited the studio on Wednesday, I was excited to be able to imagine more of the finished project.  The wall that divided the two closets in what will be the offices was demolished, and some of the clutter in there was moved out.  By far the most exciting movement was in the future Cornellradio.com section.  The builders created a wall to section off the studio.  It’s all insulated and looking great— the kitchen appliances that were in there before are gone and the space looks entirely different.  Have a look at the station progress below!

Here’s the newly installed office air conditioner.  We don’t have to worry about equipment overheating or hearing a nasty buzzing noise over the mic anymore.


Here are the future Cornellradio.com studios.


We’re so excited to use the space that we’ve already set up a makeshift studio for an online talk show.


This relocation is really going to cement WVBR’s position as the premier student media organization in the country for decades to come.  I want to especially highlight some uncharted territory that the new stations will allow us to traverse.  The production and recording studios will really allow us to venture into more multimedia and incorporate video production into the WVBR training experience.   on the Hill will now be able to record and produce their music in an affordable and professional space, and students will be able to receive the experiential training necessary to give them a leg up in the media industry after they graduate.  No other campus radio station is doing anything like this, and I’m proud to be a part of it

I’m also excited to report that we’re starting a exciting new effort to finance the move to 604 E Buffalo Street.  During the weekend specialty program this weekend, Drew will be having a discussion with the specialty show hosts about WVBR’s move to Collegetown.  The conversation will place special emphasis on WVBR’s role as a community radio station.  The hosts will give listeners the opportunity to call in and pledge to the Capital Campaign in exchange for a special edition bumper sticker.  Students will be at the station taking calls throughout the weekend.  The drive hasn’t even started yet, and I’ve already received a few pledges.  I have high hopes for the weekend, and I think this event is going to blow our expectations out of the water.

Demolition Week

With another week of the fall 2014 semester in the books, the 604 Relocation Project is moving right along…

The building timetable is set and work kicked off last week.  This week, the contractor is set to do some demolition work, along with door installation and insulation.  I was in the new studio this Sunday and I can attest to the need for insulation.  It was pretty cold in there.


Isaac and Kevin rolled up their sleeves and got involved with the demolition by removing the old wallpaper with fabric softener.

2013-10-05 11.14.35

The project is slated to complete in 10 weeks, and the station is hoping to finalize the move just after the end of the New Year—just in time for the new semester!

On the Capital Campaign side of things, Jordan and Myles have been hard at work contacting local Ithaca businesses to solicit furniture and monetary donations.  The two of them have contacted over twenty local companies and some promising leads have developed.  I can promise that thanks to their hard work, new station will have much better furniture than the Cow Palace.

The Blog is Back!

It’s October, and whereas average Cornell students are settling back into their old routines, WVBR students are eagerly anticipating a move into the new station at 604 East Buffalo!  With serious building projects slated to begin this week, I wanted to take some time to share some updates on progress with the 604 project.

The project’s planning phase began in the early stages of the summer.  In the initial phase, layout and organization of the new studios were hammered out and renovation projects were worked out.  Additionally, WVBR reestablished its relationship with the Lehman Community Alternative School, the building which currently hosts our 105.5 translator without charge.  In exchange for donation of old radio equipment, LCAS will provide us with more roof space for us to add new wireless equipment.  The planning phase finished up right around the commencement of Cornell classes.  Finished drawings are set to be submitted for building permits.


Structural work will start as soon as the permitting process allows—most likely in November. Until then, all of the electrical and ventilation work will need to be worked out, and movement in this department will begin next week at the latest.  Equipment has been ordered, and once the structural work is completed, it’s only a matter of weeks before the equipment can be transferred and the station is operational.  November is a reasonable deadline, and I can say that everyone involved with the project is ready and raring to go.

Although physical build and IT plans are in place, we still have no firm plans for new broadcast and production furniture. With growing multi-media needs at the station, the Guild needs top-quality production facilities. Our current furniture consists of antiquated broadcast desks, broken chairs, and a single production facility which regularly encounters problems associated with the use of old equipment. We hope to firm up furniture plans once we have made progress in fundraising.

These are exciting times at WVBR, and I’m proud to be in the thick of it.   In my next blog post, I’ll share some information on the fantastic programming that CornellRadio.com will be able to produce in addition to more updates on the 604 project.

WVBR’s New Home has a New Name!

WVBR is proud to announce that our new building at 604 East Buffalo Street will be named Olbermann-Corneliess Studios, made possible by a generous contribution from one of our most distinguished alumni, Keith Olbermann ’79. The building will be named in honor of Keith’s father, the late Theodore Olbermann, and former WVBR program director Glenn Corneliess ’79, who passed away in 1996. Glenn was instrumental in the success of WVBR during the late ’70s and is still very much missed by those who knew him.

The announcement was made on January 10, 2013 at an enthusiastic, well-attended WVBR alumni dinner at Pasta Lovers Trattoria in New York, with both Keith and the Corneliess family in attendance. That enthusiasm was enhanced by the news that we have raised more than $550,000 so far!

In Keith’s own words: “Everything I have began at WVBR, and I’m honored to help future generations of broadcasters who’ll be able to gratefully say the same thing. It’s also an honor to again be able to pay tribute to my late friend Glenn Corneliess. I’m sure Glenn would’ve objected to the ordering of our names until I told him that this precludes any chance anybody will ever think there was a guy named Corneliess Olbermann.”

Our capital campaign continues to be a success, and with your help we can make it to our multi-year goal of raising $935,000. Thanks to all those who have donated so far, especially those who have made ongoing multi-year commitments. That option is available on our capital campaign page at http://wvbr.com/capitalcampaign, where you can now see up-to-date donation totals as well.

We’re most happy to answer any questions you may have at capitalcampaign@wvbr.com, and we thank you for your support!

Capital Campaign FAQ

The response to WVBR’s purchase of 604 East Buffalo Street and to the Capital Campaign has been just amazing, and extremely gratifying. Along with your generous donations, we’ve received a great many questions above the campaign, our new home, and the eventual move. We’ve assembled this WVBR Capital Campaign FAQ to answer those questions, and plan to keep updating it as more questions come in. Feel free to send your questions to capitalcampaign@wvbr.com!

Where is WVBR’s new home located?

The building is located at 604 East Buffalo Street, on the corner of Stewart Avenue.

How much did 604 East Buffalo Street cost?

The purchase price was $310,000.

How was WVBR able to pay for the house?

We used funds left over from the forced sale of the Linden Avenue property, plus some early capital campaign gifts and loans from our extremely supportive alumni base.

Why is the capital campaign goal set at $935,000?

Aside from playing off our 93.5 frequency, we are seeking sufficient capital not only for the buildout, but for future improvements and for the general financial health of the station.

Is there a deadline to achieve this goal?

The capital campaign is designed as a multi-year, ongoing effort to support the station and its objectives.

If I want to make a large donation, can I do it over a period of years?

Absolutely – in fact, a number of alumni have already pledged to pay a given amount each year for a number of years.  This will work for smaller donations as well, via a subscription option on the capital campaign page.

When will WVBR move into 604 East Buffalo Street?

Our intent is to be ready to move out of 957 Mitchell Street (aka The Cow Palace) and start operating out of 604 East Buffalo by the start of the Fall 2013 semester.

Is my contribution tax-deductible?

Yes, it is.  The Cornell Radio Guild is a registered 501(C)(3) non-profit organization.

Do you accept non-cash contributions?

Yes.  Some donors have given gifts of appreciated stock, which can provide tax advantages.  Other examples of welcome non-cash contributions include equipment, and services that we might require during buildout.

What kind of recognition will I get as a donor?

We plan to have recognition boards made and put on permanent display at the station.  Those who purchase naming rights for the building and various rooms at 604 E. Buffalo will have their names permanently emblazoned on those rooms.

Will there be a special ceremony to commemorate the move-in?

We absolutely plan to have a special event at that time.  We’ll provide further details as we get closer.

12/12/12 – A Historic Day for WVBR!

We’re proud to announce that WVBR is now officially the proud owner of 604 East Buffalo Street! The closing took place yesterday (12/12/12), with General Manager Drew Endick ’14 taking possession of the keys.

This is a huge first step in WVBR’s return to Collegetown and the creation of our new multimedia center. We still need your help to accomplish our dream, and we thank those who have already responded to our $935,000 capital campaign effort. We’re gratified and humbled by the response we’ve gotten so far, and very soon we’ll be sharing some exciting news about naming rights for WVBR’s new home.

We have posted the floorplan we envision for our new space, in addition to all the latest information on the building and our capital campaign, at http://wvbr.com/capitalcampaign. You can join our capital campaign by making a tax-deductible donation by mail or online via Paypal. If you have any questions, please email us at capitalcampaign@wvbr.com.

Stay tuned for an upcoming virtual tour of our new facilities, and thank you again for your support!

The WVBR Spirit – Paying It Forward

“I’m Peter Schacknow for WVBR News…” (1978, WVBR archives)

In August of 1974, I stepped through the front door of WVBR for the very first time, in what would turn out to be one of the most significant acts of my life. That door led me to a career, a lifetime of good friends, and an unforgettable four years of great memories in what was then a brand new facility on Linden Avenue.

I was lucky enough to become part of something special: a living, breathing entity that became more successful as time went on, fueled by the enthusiasm of the students who ran it.

That enthusiasm has kept the station going through some difficult times: an economic downturn, the loss of our Linden Avenue building, a very different era for radio, and the use of a less than adequate space far from campus that nonetheless continued attract enough dedicated students to keep that spirit alive.

Now, through hard work and good fortune, we have the opportunity to create a magical experience for a whole new generation. We’re buying a new building close to campus at 604 E. Buffalo Street, and we officially kicked off a capital campaign to help build a full fledged multimedia center.

We’re already a significant portion of the way towards our $935,000 goal. With your help, we can get all the way there and beyond, and recreate the magic that you were fortunate enough to enjoy.

We’ll keep you up to date on how we’re doing and how you can be a part of the ongoing process. Please check this space often for updates and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have.

The 604 Blog – Who’s Who?

As you might suspect, there is an army of volunteer students and alumni working behind-the-scenes to make sure WVBR’s move to 604 East Buffalo Street is a success. We have recruited the top project leadership from the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors to produce and moderate The 604 Blog. Since you’ll be hearing quite a bit from us over the coming weeks and months, we figured a formal introduction to the team is in order!

Student Staff / Executive Committee
Drew Endick ’14
President & General Manager

Drew, a junior History major, serves as the President and General Manager. Drew joined the news department in the fall of 2010 and became News Director in 2011. During his sophomore year, Drew focused on expanding the station’s multimedia presence. Drew, with the help of many staff members, pushed for increased video creation and founded a second audio stream in CornellRadio.com programmed for student-aged listeners. Drew has interned for a Washington D.C. morning radio show and would like to continue working in talk radio after graduating.
Julia Buffinton ’14
Vice President

Julia, a junior Linguistics major, began her time at the Cornell Radio Guild as a member of the Promotions department in the fall of 2010, and since then has served as Promotions Director and Communications Director before taking on her current position as VP & Assistant General Manager in the spring of 2012. In addition to her station duties, she is a member of the Cornell Big Red Marching Band and the historian for the Big Red Pep Band, as well as an Orientation Supervisor.
Maria Donnini ’13
WVBR Alumni Affairs Director

Maria has been working at WVBR since September 2010, when she joined the station as a newscaster. She currently serves as Alumni Relations Director and served as Corporate Secretary last year. In addition to her work in alumni relations, Maria is a co-host of The Sunday Forum, a weekend specialty show. A Government major at Cornell, Maria is a sports announcer for Cornell Athletics, a Resident Advisor in a first-year dormitory building, a student ambassador, and a Law Intern for the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Alumni / Board of Directors
Dan Zarrow ’06
Chairman, Board of Directors

Dan graduated from Cornell with a degree in Atmospheric Science, and currently works for the Office of the New Jersey State Climatologist at Rutgers University, and also does freelance on-air weather for News 12 New Jersey. As a student, Dan worked in numerous positions throughout WVBR including President, Vice President of Staff & Facilities, and Treasurer. He was elected to the WVBR Board of Directors in 2006 and has served as Chair since 2010.
Peter Schacknow ’78
Chair, Alumni Affairs Committee, Board of Directors

Peter graduated from Cornell with a degree in Communications, and also holds an MBA in accounting from Hofstra University. He currently works as a senior producer at CNBC and is also a part time anchor for CNBC Radio. Peter was News Director during his years at WVBR, and has served on the Board of Directors since 2007.
Larry Epstein ’76 MBA ’78
Chair, Facilities Committee, Board of Directors

Larry holds an MBA from Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management and a BS from Cornell’s College of Engineering. He is a former General Manager of WVBR-FM and has served on the Board of Directors since 1999. Following a successful career in local and network television and new media management, Larry now teaches Entertainment & Arts Management at Drexel University and currently serves as Interim Department Chair of Drexel’s department of Arts & Entertainment Enterprise.

If you have any questions, comments, or stories to share, we’d love to hear from you! Please e-mail us at capitalcampaign@wvbr.com.