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May 10, 2013

SUCO staff radio station says farewell

By Mark Boshnack Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — ONEONTA — SUNY Oneonta’s staff-operated radio station, WUOW, signed off for the last time Thursday morning.

The cessation of broadcasting completes the phase-out of the station, which was announced in 2011, according to a release from college spokesman Hall Legg. The student-run station WONY, at 90.9 FM, will not be affected.

“It was a great operation,” WUOW general manager Gary Wickham said. “It provided something to the community they didn’t have.”

When it was established in 2006, the idea was to have diverse music and conversation and a variety of programming, he said, and “we succeeded at doing that.”

The college announced in November 2011 plans to close the station at 91.3 FM.

“That continued investment in WUOW was not aligned with SUNY Oneonta’s strategic plan, which directs resources toward student-centered learning, teaching and scholarship,” according to Legg.

The station had a goal of being “cost-neutral,” something it fell short of reaching. Typical annual expenses of roughly $180,000 — with underwriting funding about $26,000 and state funding supporting the balance — had previously been stated by a college official.

After seven years at the station, Wickham said he turned the station off at 10 a.m. Thursday. He was the only employee still employed at the station when it closed. He will continue to teach mass communications, including writing for radio and television, at the college.

One of the high points for him was presenting former college President Alan Donovan’s “Kitchen Table Conversations” — oral histories with a variety of area people, including political and business leaders and local artists.

Wickham said he also enjoyed bringing music to people that they may not find on other radio stations.

“It was a great experience,” he said. “I’m glad I had the chance to do it.”