By Ellie Houghtaling
It’s a Sunday afternoon when a few members of the new WPSR staff pile onto an old sofa crammed into the back of their studio. They have spent countless hours in the last few weeks devoted to moving from the old space, in the basement of D-Hall, to their new station upstairs in Room 111.
Among the many items hoisted up the staircase include the very couch they are currently huddled on. It’s dirty and short, maybe a few inches off the ground, forcing the staff’s knees to pop up over the edge. Like many of the items that belong to WPSR, it was purchased by long graduated students. While getting comfortable, they muse about how they prefer it without the legs they left downstairs – a DIY charm that emanates from everything else they have touched in their studio. The new crew consists of five positions that were created by Lauren Ruggerio, the old general manager, in an attempt to organize the station late last year. George Witnauer serves as the director, Alec Giorgio is the webmaster, Jenn Buchner handles graphic design, Rosie Evans is the new general manager, and Declan Levy is the technician. Prior to the change, all these jobs were solely Ruggerio’s responsibility.
Despite the physical separation, the new staff intermingle their responses like one mind, often finishing each other’s thoughts. “It doesn’t feel like WPSR yet up here but...” Giorgio trails off when Buchner chimes in, “it’s a blank canvas which is fun.” “It’s like exciting that it’s empty and it’s ours, but it wasn’t when we didn’t know what we were doing,” Giorgio said. As it turns out, the team only figured out what they were “doing” in the last few weeks. “[The old] space definitely fit Purchase really well, but number one it’s not accessible to students and two it's a safety hazard to have everyone down there. Two days before we moved in, [the PSGA] were like ‘we moved you upstairs!’” Buchner said. “None of us really know anything about tech, so we had to find people to help us out. It’s 30 years of tangled wires.” The rest of WPSR’s old skin still features posters for the studio and its concerts which date back to the early 1980’s, such as an old Macintosh Classic, a diagram of a tongue made-pillow, and bumper stickers promoting old college radio stations. The sanctity of the space spoiled by boxes of chef’s hats forces the mind to return to the future: upstairs.
And the future is bright. The team is planning to collaborate more than the station used to. “The organizations are working together this year on collaborations as opposed to being separate. It’s often been like everyone has been against each other,” Buchner said. “Everyone has always hated WPSR, but now with the new people running it, we’re all trying to work together to cultivate nice spaces for people.” “With the Stood, we’ll probably book some shows where the artist costs a little more money or they’re a little more sought-after,” Witnauer said. “We probably won’t do shows in here. We’re planning on doing shows in other places.” “Last year they did weekly WPSR shows in the space downstairs and it ate up a lot of our budget and it was really hard to constantly be booking bands,” Buchner said. “We’re trying to not do it weekly. If we want to have shows we’re going to try to collaborate with the Free Store and the Stood and the Art Forum... We’d like to combine all the mediums of art together for a larger experience.”