Editor’s note: Interviews for this story were conducted in fall 2020.
When Shippensburg University moved classes online due to the COVID-19 coronavirus last spring, many on-campus groups lost access to offices and had to cancel events.
Members of WSYC (We Serve Your Community) 88.7 FM, the student-run radio station, lost access to their station in the Ceddia Union Building (CUB). The station’s general manager, adviser and other officials could not gain access to the studio.
“It was just the same thing for hours and hours,” WSYC general manager Leah Fuoco, a senior communication/journalism major, said of the loop of music that played at the end of the spring 2020 semester. “That was a struggle because as a radio station you’re doing the same thing over and over.”
WSYC also had to cancel its annual, “Up All Night” event, which is held every spring. During “Up All Night” WSYC members are on air for 24 hours giving away prizes including concert tickets, restaurant gift cards and more to callers during shows.
“Last semester [spring 2020] was the hardest when we shut down,” Fuoco said. WSYC members expected to return after spring break to continue broadcasting. “Everything stopped.”
A year later, WSYC is back in action and held the student-favorite “Up All Night” from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. on April 10. DJs gave away gift cards, Airpods, Squishmallows and more.
But the road back into the studio was bumpy at times.
As students returned to SU in the fall, they had to adapt to meet new rules and guidelines to keep everyone safe and healthy. For WSYC, this meant wearing masks off-air, social distancing, plexiglass dividers and lots of cleaning and sanitation. There were also limits to how many people could be in each room in the studio. The studio continues to follow these guidelines during the spring 2021 semester.
The equipment in the studio is labeled with cleaning instructions along with bottles of disinfectants. For Fuoco, one of her biggest challenges as general manager is making sure everyone is keeping up with the new cleaning and distancing guidelines.
However, there have been some unexpected benefits to the new routines. Fuoco said she thinks the extra cleaning is an added benefit and hopes that they will continue the practice long after the masks and social distancing are no longer needed.
“It was hard, but we learned to overcome and adapt,” Fuoco said. “We’re just glad that we can do shows again and be on air.”
WSYC held its general interest meeting during the fall semester and gathered a lot of inquiries about becoming members of the station. The station ran about 30 shows during the fall semester, according to Fuoco.
According to WSYC’s website, students are volunteers and any major is free to join the organization.
Listeners can hear music, talk shows, news and more over the airwaves between Carlisle and Chambersburg, and also listen anytime online at wsyc-fm.squarespace.com.