Stony Brook University’s radio station, WUSB, celebrates 40 years of broadcasting. (Photo by Mikayla Fils-Aime)

By Sarah Graziano
Saint John the Baptist Diocesan High School
and Maia Noah
Harborfields High School

WUSB 90.1 FM has marked its fourth decade of service by moving into a new location.

The Stony Brook University campus station began shifting operations to a new location in January. After being in the same space—the Student Union—since its founding, WUSB is now broadcasting from above West Side Dining. The move was precipitated by the renovation of the union building.

“Before we were working with 50-year-old equipment,” Assistant Director for Student Media Isobel Breheny-Schafer said. “The new studio is going to open up many opportunities for the station and the community.”

The ongoing transfer is a tedious process. The old studio had wall-to-wall CDs and records. Every one of those 50,000 CDs and 10,000 records had to be transferred to the new headquarters.

“It was a long, hard moving process,” said Breheny-Schafer, who recently was selected as a 2017 Distinguished Four-Year Broadcast Advisor by the College Media Association. “We had some trucks given by the university but a lot of volunteers, such as alumni, had to help.”

The new space is a lot more spacious. While there is more room for the staff, Breheny-Schafer said the bigger area was also a disadvantage. In the old room, all the equipment was stacked on top of each other. Now it is all spread out. She said it was much easier for the host to run the show with the equipment all in one spot.

They’re albums! Twelve-inch vinyl records played on a turntable. (Photo by Mikayla Fils-Aime)

Regardless from where the non-commercial station broadcasts from, WUSB 90.1 FM is still thriving in a world where the radio may not be everyone’s go-to place for music.

BestColleges.com named the station one of the best in the country. The reason: WUSB honors the past, but always plays something fresh.

The mix of the past and the fresh ranges across diverse genres from classical to rock-and-roll, from reggae to polka. However, “no Ariana Grande or Justin Bieber,” said community volunteer DJ and studio production trainer Bob Longman.

WUSB 90.1 is a way for “Stony Brook to show its colors,” said Norman Prusslin, who has been a faculty advisor/station manager since the station’s origin. Running the radio station 24/7 has been a team effort by student volunteers and alumni.

“Right now, we have about 30 to 40 students who are involved,” Breheny-Schafer said. “About 20 of them are on air. Some help with our fundraisers, behind the scenes with making flyers and graphics, and we also have interns from the journalism school.”

Besides the staff and students, running a station also requires dollars. WUSB obtains its funding from the community and undergraduate and graduate student governments. The budget for this year is $125,000.

A DJ at WUSB, Stony Brook University’s student radio station. (Photo by Mikayla Fils-Aime)

With this continued financial support, Prusslin said, WUSB will be able to keep up with the latest technological advancements. “Radio is nimble enough to find new ways to provide service to the public,” he said.

“People listen to radio at home, in the car and even online nowadays,” Breheny-Schafer added, “so there is a bright future for radio.”

WUSB celebrates 40 years on the airwaves in new space
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