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.

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Here are the future Cornellradio.com studios.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.