In the basement of Titchener Hall, SUNY Broome students are on the air with their playlists, providing a lively musical backdrop to campus life.
On Oct. 30, 2018, the college held a ribbon-cutting and grand opening for The Hive, the campus’ online-only radio station. You can listen to it from anywhere in the world by pointing your Internet browser to www.sunybroome.edu/thehive.
“This is a great addition to an already great Communications program,” said SUNY Broome President Kevin E. Drumm, noting that the station gives students the opportunity to experience all different types of media firsthand.
While the death of radio has been forecast ever since the advent of television, the medium is perhaps more robust than ever, noted Dr. Drumm, who always listens to local stations as he drives in his car. So too does Executive Vice President Francis Battisti, who noted that many media professionals, from broadcast to radio, had their start in SUNY Broome’s Communications & Media Arts (CMA) degree program.
The CMA department had worked for years to establish a station, noted Professor Tim Skinner, an alumnus of the program himself who fulfilled his own dream of working in radio, before returning to campus as a professor. “It’s my hope that this new facility on campus will help fulfill the dreams of others to come,” he said.
The station adheres to FCC guidelines and standards, along with college policy. It serves as a lab space for CMA students, who are studying commercial radio. Shows are currently pre-recorded and carefully monitored by class instructors, and all music is edited for radio broadcast.
“It gives them a real world experience,” said instructor Ray Scott, whose day job is on local radio. “Being on radio is actually a difficult thing to do, although people think it’s an easy thing to do. You have to learn how to talk to people without having a direct conversation.”
In his class, students must create a one-hour radio broadcast each week that their instructor and fellow classmates must listen to and critique. It can be a tough experience, but also a rewarding one.
“No one’s in the room with you, but it feels like a thousand people are watching you,” explained CMA major and sophomore Chaz Weir. “You get better over time.”
Like Chaz, sophomore and CMA major Kylie Gage tends to focus more on film and photography, but took the radio class to challenge herself and expand her horizons. Unlike many classroom assignments, which allow revisions, the radio students have one shot to get it right.
“You don’t get to start over and do it again when you’re live,” Kylie explained.
Without the class and the station, neither Kylie nor Chaz would likely have experimented with radio. It’s an opportunity they appreciate, they said.
“I’m not a very talkative person, so I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and sign up for something that would help me with that,” Kylie explained. “It allowed me to focus on a new form of media arts.”