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WONB celebrates 20 years on the air

WONB-FM, the broadcast voice of Ohio Northern University, is celebrating its 20th birthday on Tuesday, Oct. 18.

Throughout its 20 years, the station’s general manager has been Richard Gainey. Gainey also serves as the head of the electronic media and broadcasting program at ONU. While Gainey’s presence has been a constant at WONB, the student staff is constantly changing. From 1991 through today, hundreds of ONU student voices have been heard on WONB.

Not only have the voices of WONB changed throughout the years, but the station has also gone through various programming and technological changes and upgrades. This frequent evolution of the station is necessary in order to continue fulfilling the needs of the students using the station as a learning laboratory and the needs of the ONU and West Central Ohio communities using the station as a source of information and entertainment.

Starting with its first broadcast in 1991, and continuing to this day, the station is housed in the Freed Center for the Performing Arts on the ONU campus. The 3,000-watt station is professionally managed, while student operated. Students are trained using modern audio recording, editing and playback equipment in the station’s on-air and production studios.

WONB, The Beat, broadcasts all day, everyday. The station gives listeners three ways to listen. Those in Ada and the surrounding area can tune in via the traditional method at 94.9FM. While listeners anywhere, can log on to www.wonb.net, where two live Internet streaming options are available. Internet listeners can choose to listen, while simultaneously viewing the studio web cam, or listen via an online media player and view a text display of the song title and artist with every song played.

The WONB student staff is comprised of students from all of ONU’s undergraduate colleges. Weekly, over 30 students assist in the operation of the station. Student deejays play music, provide weather forecasts and pass along community announcements. Other students write and report the news as part of WONB’s Newswatch programs airing live four times per day every Monday through Friday. Additionally, WONB airs Community Clips, a weekly 30-minute public affairs interview program as well as Weekly Sports Conversation a 30-minute sports interview and week-in-review show. WONB also airs Northern Notebook, which is a weekday program featuring events happening at ONU, and Career Connections, which is a partnership between WONB and the ONU Office of Career Services. Career Connections features tips on topics such as resume writing, interviewing skills and job and internship searches. All of these programs are student hosted and produced. The weekly service of the Ada First United Methodist Church is also heard every Sunday on WONB.

WONB also provides coverage of various ONU and Ada High School sports throughout the year. Student sportscasters deliver live play-by-play and color commentary of all ONU and Ada football games. A handful of ONU volleyball, ONU men’s and women’s basketball, Ada boy’s and girl’s basketball and ONU baseball and softball games are also heard on The Beat.

WONB’s musical formats are designed to provide listening enjoyment to a variety of listeners. Weekdays from 5 a.m. until 6 p.m., WONB caters mainly to the non-student community by playing The Oldies – music from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. Switching gears at 6 p.m. and all day Saturday, The Beat, targets the ONU student body with the Top 40s music of today. On Sundays, listeners wake to the sounds of Smooth Jazz, fill their afternoons with the This Day gospel program and roundout the weekend with the Sunday Night Oldies program.

Due to the educational nature of the station, WONB holds a non-commercial license. Instead of airing commercials, WONB airs public service announcements, over 30,000 annually. The majority of these are written and produced by ONU students. Also, to educate listeners, besides the locally produced Newswatch programs, WONB airs CNN news and sports broadcasts daily.

As new technology emerges, WONB is committed to progressing along with it just as it has done throughout its 20-year history. Student staff members will continue to receive the hands-on education they deserve and listeners around Ada and across the globe will continue to be entertained and informed by listening to 94.9FM or wonb.net.