Welcome back! Today marked the beginning of the first full week of classes for the spring semester (we started classes last Wednesday!. Here in Ithaca, we’re battling some brutally cold weather, but sophomore Charles stays warm working as a DJ on WVBR, “Ithaca’s Real Rock Radio.” Check out what he has to say about finding your niche outside of the classroom!
By: Charles Cotton ’19
When I arrived in Ithaca as a freshman, I immediately knew that I wanted to get involved with as many student organizations as I could. One of the greatest things about Cornell (up there with the beautiful campus and the delicious food) is just how many opportunities there are for students to pursue, no matter their interests and hobbies. Cornell has over 1,000 student clubs and organizations, and there truly is one for everyone – whether it’s the Bowling Club, the Rubik’s Cube Club or the Rock and Roll Club, just to name a few.
At the beginning of each semester, the university hosts an event called Clubfest – an all-day fair for organization leaders to promote their clubs and for students to find the ones that best align with their interests. These fairs are admittedly a bit hectic, and it’s not unusual for students to sign up for upwards of fifteen different dance groups, club sports teams, service organizations, and on and on. While most students won’t stay involved with every group they sign up for, they are usually involved with at least one or two that they really enjoy.
For me, the decision to join the Cornell Media Guild has been one of the best I’ve made since I arrived on campus. The Guild is composed of three separate groups: WVBR, an FM radio station; CornellRadio.com, a more freeform online radio station; and Electric Buffalo Records, Cornell’s first-ever student-run record label. While the Guild is independent from the university, each of its three groups are run exclusively by Cornell students.
Of the three, I am most involved with WVBR, serving as a late-night DJ on the station. Being a part of WVBR is truly one of the coolest things I think you can do at Cornell. The station is a rock station – its tagline is “Ithaca’s real rock radio” – and it is broadcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 93.5 FM and can be heard across much of central New York. We broadcast out of a brand new studio right in the heart of Collegetown, and it’s just a ten-or-so-minute walk from campus.
I host a show with a friend of mine from freshman year, and we are on every other Friday night at 11PM. We play some classic rock, some blues, and some soul, and we take requests from real life callers in and around Ithaca! Every time I’m on, my Cornell friends always make a point of tuning in, and friends and family back home often listen in via the station’s website as well. Having the opportunity to play the music that I love for two hours and talk to a live audience about it is really unique and something I didn’t want to pass up during my college years.
Getting involved is really easy as well. Once you sign up, you go through some quick training to familiarize yourself with the DJ software, the station’s equipment, and some FCC regulations, and you can be on the air within two or three weeks. Being a part of WVBR has also introduced me to some of my closest friends in my first year and half here.
Although Cornell has so many great clubs out there, joining the Cornell Media Guild – specifically WVBR – is something I can’t imagine anyone regretting.