Small, independent, fiercely so: tales from WSRN


Good things come to those who listen. If you tune in to WSRN 91.5 FM, expect to hear original ideas, rare music and awesome personalities. Forty years into the game, Swat’s entirely student-run radio station shows no signs of letting up anytime soon. You don’t have to take my word for it. The “radio heads” of WSRN can speak for themselves.

“Themed, miscellaneous, friendly,” is how Ned Weitzman ’15 describes his show, “65 Gigabytes.” Weitzman reminds listeners of the organic sociability essential to Radio’s roots. Co-hosted with his girlfriend, Julia Aversa ’15, “65 Gigabytes” provides a variety of themed music hours ranging from acoustic covers to soundtracks, all coming from hand-picked selections. For Weitzman, the key is “[introducing people] to new things while not exposing them to music so weird it turns people off.”

As DJs, Aversa and Weitzman bring more than cheerful vibes to the studio. They also provide listeners with a seasoned hand into the world of musical discovery. Listening to the show establishes trust that the DJs will broaden the way you love your music (or in this case, theirs). “[As a listener], I want to see what happens, and have someone else show you what’s going on out there”, affirms Weitzman.

“Spreading science literacy,” says Karl Palmquist ’17 of “Not Public Radio” when asked about his goals for his show. He views talk radio as the key ingredient to the show’s unique blend of listening and learning. Created last fall with co-host Victor Gomes ’17, “Not Public Radio” interviews Swat faculty and staff with emphasis on matters in philosophy, psychology and the natural sciences. Listeners gain all the richness of lab experiments and scientific studies with no painstaking labor required. (Gomes is a Phoenix editor. He was uninvolved in the production of this piece.)

Hosting the show has impacted Palmquist’s ambitions and creative drive. Part of this comes from the necessity of imagination. “Radio really enhances your imagination because you have to picture what’s going on. You don’t see things on a television screen,” Palmquist notes. “Not Public Radio” does a great job of inviting a variety of exposures and experiences to the conversation. Each individual listener has an opportunity to grow, contribute and spread the love of knowledge so entrenched in the Swarthmore way. To the lucky listeners of NPR, you get as much as your intellectual curiosity can muster. “Anyone who could listen to it would get a lot out of it.

For station manager Martin Froger-Silva ’16, the road to WSRN’s next big move has been short and sweet. This does not stop him from keeping the station at the forefront of student independence here at Swat. As a DJ earlier this spring, he “had one day a week where [he] could forget about the world and just play fun music.” Because of his administrative work alongside co-manager Axel Kodat ’15, everyone gets to experience the fun and joy of WSRN any time they want, wherever they are. To all who enjoy radio, from DJs to listeners, Swat’s “fiercely independent radio” will always bring the flare, live and direct.

“65 Gigabytes” airs on Wednesdays from 5 to 6pm. “Not Public Radio” airs on Fridays from 6 to 8pm. For all of Swat’s radio goodness, listen to WSRN 91.5 FM or log on to live streams at www.wsrnfm.org.


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