A talk with the WMUA programmer and general manager for 2017-2018

By Andrew Cunningham

WMUA is the student radio station at UMass Amherst. Many of you reading this may be familiar with our news team, but there’s so much more that goes on at the college radio station. This past month, the general body elected Josh McCawley as the new general manager and re-elected Misha Damsky as programmer.

“It’s a tremendous honor. I can remember reaching out to Andrew DesRochers, who was our general manager two years ago, and saying ‘I want your job one day,’” says McCawley. The general manager and programmer serve the executive committee (ECOMM) at WMUA along with an advisor. Our current interim advisor is Lloyd Henley, the UMass associate director of student activities, until a replacement is found.

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“It’s a tremendous honor. I can remember reaching out to [the general manager two years ago] and saying ‘I want your job one day.'” Photo courtesy of Josh McCawley. 
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“I definitely see myself more as a partner. I think it’s the DJs more than anything that do the outreach and talk to students.” Courtesy of Misha Damsky.

Together, the general manager and programmer work to ensure compliance with all Federal Communication Commission (FCC) rules and regulations, and Student Government Association (SGA) Registered Student Organization (RSO) regulations and practices. Every week the general manager and programmer lead meetings with the department directors. And every other week, the ECOMM leads general body meetings with student and community member DJs.

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WMUA general body meeting in 2013. Photo from WMUA 91.1 on Facebook

“I definitely want to build on rolling admissions,” says Damsky whose role as programmer is to ensure best programming practices among DJs. Damsky started rolling admissions this past semester, which means that any student or community member who has passed DJ training can apply for an empty time slot – even if it’s the middle of the semester. In the past, DJs could only apply once throughout the semester for a specific time slot.

McCawley, who still contributes to WMUA Sports and was the former finance director, wants to set up a second on-air stream. For those of you who are WMUA DJs, you might be familiar with how news or sports programming may sometimes take over your music block to broadcast a time sensitive events – with the second on-air stream, that pre-emption will no longer happen. McCawley has worked a lot with administration and local businesses and plans to make sure that WMUA 91.1 FM plays as much as possible throughout campus and the Pioneer Valley.

“I definitely want to change the way we fundraise and the way we do community outreach,” says McCawley whose role as general manager requires him to make final decisions on the budget and network with administration and other college radio stations.

Overall, both Damsky and McCawley agree that WMUA’s DJs make up the face of the station.

“I definitely see myself more as a partner. I think it’s the DJs more than anything that do the outreach and talk to students,” says Damsky.

“Our DJs are definitely the face of WMUA. I may be the business figure head, so to speak. But our DJs are the front porch of WMUA. They are the greatest recruiting asset,” says McCawley.

Music Review: Vundabar

gawk

The three person band Vundabar is on tour now performing “Gawk” their most recent album, released in 2015.

Rolling and crashing drums, lilting vocals, punchy guitar and dreamy bass combine in Gawk in a way that sounds more mature and calculated than their older hits. This is all the more impressive considering their admittedly young age! These college-aged kids are relatable, and easy to root for.

The instant hit “Oulala” has helped land Vundabar features with Vice, Sound of Boston, and Spin Magazine. This four and a half minute track is accessible punk that’s treading into pop territory. If you love the Pixies, you should give Vundabar a shot. They have perfected the loud-soft-then loud again style, combining signature angry sound with mellower hooks.

2017 SGA Debate live stream

WMUA News brings you a live stream of the SGA candidates for President, Vice President, and Student Trustee for the 2017-2018 school year. The event was hosted Sunday evening at the Commonwealth Honors College from 6-8pm.

Current President Anthony Vitale and Vice President Lily Wallace are running for reelection. Lily Wallace recently took over the Vice Presidential position when Vitale’s former VP resigned.

Two Senators from the class of 2020 are running against the incumbents.  Presidential candidate Nathalie Amazan and her running mate Timmy Sullivan serve as undersecretaries of sustainability. Amazan sits on the social justice and empowerment committee of SGA.

Lincoln Quang Duong is also running for the position of President, who currently serves as a member of the finance committee. He is a solo candidate, but has told WMUA News that his first executive priority is to appoint a Vice President.

Candidates answered questions from moderator Dan Mahoney and from the audience on the topics of diversity, sustainability, accessibility, and transparency.

The SGA elections will take place March 6, 7, and 8 through Campus Pulse. Listen to our exclusive interviews with the candidates on this site.

Photo Courtesy of Lucy Martirosyan

Engineering by Lucy Martirosyan, Katie Donegan, and Josh McCawley

Hosting by Lisa Robinson and Katie Donegan

Music by Tycho

How the travel ban affects Iranian graduate students at UMass Amherst

The travel ban left Iranian students and others from the six temporarily banned countries stuck.

President Trump’s executive order banned people from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from traveling to and from the United States for 90 days. It also banned refugees from coming into the states for 120 days.

Since then, the order has been reversed by a federal judge in Washington on Saturday February 4.

“Just imagine, if you’re a PhD student, if you’re a master’s student, if you have worked hard for your degree. And just think about it, at the moment you get a phone call, there’s an emergency back home. Something may have happened to your mom, something may have happened to your dad. Maybe for other members of our community, the first thing on their mind is to get back home as soon as possible. But for Iranian students and other students from the other six countries, the first thing though, will be, ‘What do I do?'” says Mohammad, a PhD student at UMass Amherst who has lived in the United States for six years.

Many Iranian graduate students are set to graduate as soon as this February. Trump’s executive order halted immigrant application processes, like the OPT – Optional Practical Training – which would allow foreign students with F1 visas to work for 12 months under a US employer.

“I [will] graduate this February. I cannot work on campus. I have no income. I have to pay rent. I have medication that I have to take everyday. This is not fair for us. We came here for the best, not for this. This is not the America I came to. If it’s changing this much, I’m going to go back [to Iran,]” says one PhD student who studied computer science at UMass Amherst.

Free Kesha

 

CW: The following pieces contain mentions of sexual assault and abuse.

UMass students talked about their differing thoughts and opinions regarding the ongoing Supreme Court trial involving Kesha and her producer Dr. Luke, whom she claims sexually assaulted her and inflicted “emotional distress, gender-based hate crimes and employment discrimination” upon her.

Reporting: Troy Kowalchuk and Maria Manning

Producing: Troy Kowalchuk and Maria Manning

Kick off farmers stand

The Kick Off Famers Stand featured UMass Student Farmer’s MarketUMass Amherst Permaculture  and various other vendors at the Cape Cod Lounge in the UMass Student Union Wednesday April 7, 2016. At future farm stands, the Farmers Stand is seeking to recruit more vendors to show case their art and work.

Reporting: Troy Kowalchuk

Producing: Troy Kowalchuk, Lucy Martirosyan