At 530 AM, WDOT radio dials up diverse programming

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Josh White

Junior Matt Kramer broadcasts one of the many shows that WDOT offers. In Sports Talk for Dummies, Kramer talks about up-to-the-date sports news.

Emilia Charno and Ilana Hill

How often do you listen to the school’s radio station? Although it is not often recognized by the Schreiber community, Schreiber has its very own radio station: WDOT.

Whether it be through broadcasting current events, popular culture, or sports, WDOT allows students to become more involved in the world around them, from the comfort of the smallest room in the entire school.

WDOT can be found on the frequency 530 AM or on portradio.org where they keep recorded versions of every show put on during the school year. In addition, the website features a full archive of each of the shows from 2005 onward.

Each show is 28 minutes long and includes a station identification as WDOT is certified by the  Federal Communications Commission.

The program began in 2005 and has since been co-funded by the Port Washington Education Foundation as well as WDOT’s own fundraising efforts.

The primary donors to the radio program were Schreiber alumni Ed and Dot Slade; Dot, of course lends her name to the program. These fundraising efforts include two 24-hour Radiothons, from which radio was able to raise enough money to put the television in the lobby.

In addition to Ed and Dot Slade, the students have social studies teacher Mr. Klaff to thank for the radio station. Klaff serves as the ringleader of events on radio by instructing students on how to properly run radio programs.

Running a radio program is as daunting a task as it might appear, requiring a tactful combination of public speaking skills, improvisation, and creativity. All of which are taught in the radio class itself.

“Mr. Klaff is always helping and encouraging students to become better radio broadcasters,” said junior Josh White.  “He’s always teaching students different speaking techniques.  For example, he might devote a day to talking for extended periods of time without saying ‘um,’ ‘like,’ or other crutch words.”

In addition to the basics of radio, students in the class are taught about the history of radio. For example, students might learn who invented the radio and when it began being commercialized.  The class is offered to all sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

Due to the lack of publicity that WDOT receives, many students are surprised to find it on their list of electives before sophomore year.  Those who do take the class jump at the opportunity to send their opinions across the airwaves.

“I became interested in radio when I was picking electives last year,” said junior Matt Kramer.  “I have always been interested in public speaking and thought that it would be a great class to take, and I was right, I really like the class.”

Despite this lack of recognition, the program has only become more impressive since 2005, at one time having guests like NFL player Anthony Fasano and NBC sports announcer Len Berman.

The interesting and eclectic shows transmitted by WDOT are reflective of the variety of students who host it.  Students of different ages, grade levels, interests, and experience levels come together to run the radio station.

After perusing the collection of radio shows on WDOT, it becomes clear that there is a large variety of shows focusing on a wide range of topics.  These radio shows include Take Me Out to the White House, Dirty Mike and the Boys, and Electric Super Snails.  Despite centering around the same subject, each show takes a different approach to its commentary.  Some focus on certain sports over others, some talk about sports ethics,  and some try to explain sports. But there is one feature that unifies them all: they are all entertaining.

WDOT is truly an independent program; it is based primarily on student choice.  The students decide whether they feel comfortable branching out to different subjects or staying with one, creating a script for their show or just plain winging it.

“I wish I could say that I actually plan what I do on the radio but that would be a lie,” said junior Evan Gilmore.  “I usually just go on air and spout whatever random bibblysquash comes to mind.  Sometimes I’ll have a random idea and bring a friend on the air to talk to them about it and see how they react.”

After speaking to the WDOT team and listening to the shows, we believe that the club should be more recognized throughout the school.  Hopefully WDOT will turn up the volume in the future.