Curry College Radio Station Gets State-of-the-Art Renovation

By RYAN RANDALL //

Thanks to a generous donation from a Curry College alumnus, the campus radio station, WMLN-FM 91.5, was able to install the latest and greatest studio equipment money can buy.

“Everything is new–everything!” said Professor Alan Frank, director of the Curry College radio department and station. “There are new monitors, speakers…even the carpet is brand new. The only thing we’re still working on is getting a new chair.”

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New monitors and microphones on display in the WMLN Studio. Photo by Ryan Randall ’18

 

Joe Kaminkow of the Curry College class of 1983 donated $50,000 to the station from both him and his wife Benita. When he was a student in Milton, he was very active in the radio department.

“Joe was there when the radio station was not that developed and not that popular,” Frank said. He also included that when Kaminkow was there, the radio station underwent its first power increase, going from only 10 to 100 watts.

When he was a student, Kaminkow told Frank that he would later donate back to the studio. After he graduated, he stayed in close contact with Professor Frank and has since held up his end of the bargain twice!

Back in 2003, Kaminkow first donated $125,000 to the radio station. Now, years later, he again made a very generous donation to the department, where they now have what many have said is one of the best radio studios in the area.

“Joe has done very well for himself outside of Curry, and the fact that he has donated some of that success to us is really amazing,” said Frank.

Also spending some time in his former stomping grounds, Matt Fitzgerald of the class of 2013 was also hanging around the new radio station. When he was there he served as the manager of the studio for his final two years.

“I think the new studio is fantastic for the current and incoming students who will be working there,” Fitzgerald said. “I really wish it was built when I was still going there though.”

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More of what new radio students will see when they step in the brand new studio. Photo by Ryan Randall ’18

 

Professor Frank also said that the new renovation is going to encourage more incoming students to get involved with the radio station.

“Joe was telling me how radio isn’t doing well in the real world, but here at Curry it’s enormously popular, and the students love it,” said Frank.

In addition, Frank also mentioned that many students who have recently done radio internships outside of Curry have told him that this new radio station on campus is better than the ones they worked at.

Some might also say that the new radio station equipment came at the perfect time.

Professor Frank recently celebrated his 40th year of teaching at Curry and what better way to celebrate an illustrious career than to revamp the studio to continue teaching the next generation of on-air talent.

There have been a lot of new, exciting developments happening on campus – including the new Starbucks in the Hafer Café and the soon-to-be new addition to the science building.

With the newly modernized radio studio, the campus is starting to gain a fresh new look with wonderful campus amenities.

Only On WMLN, 91.5

BY JAMES BONNEAU // OCT. 19, 2015 // 

WMLN-FM is an important asset on campus that offers much more than just music. WMLN airs breaking news, covers Curry and professional sports teams and hosts 17 unique specialty shows.

Specialty shows offer students the opportunity to take their radio shifts into their own hands. A student with a specialty show must be enrolled in Radio Practicum and earn approval for their show.

Show themes range from sports coverage to talk radio to variety. In the past, there was even specialty show that exclusively played polka music to a surprisingly large audience.

Specialty shows are something radio students work hard for. These shows give hosts the freedom to explore and play outside of a scheduled format. Unlike having a shift with a scheduled format, hosts aren’t restricted to playing only the Oldies or only Death Metal music.

MOLLY FANIKOS AND JAMES BONNEAU. // PHOTO COURTESY OF WMLN-FM.
MOLLY FANIKOS AND JAMES BONNEAU. // PHOTO COURTESY OF WMLN-FM.

Sophomore Sal Lopez uses this freedom to go above and beyond the standard format. After graduating, Lopez aspires to work in radio as an on-air personality. Lopez hopes to use his specialty show, Paco’s Picks, as a launching platform.

Paco’s Picks, which broadcasts 1-4 p.m. on Tuesdays, is jam packed with different segments. Lopez plays a variety of music and covers the news, weather and local traffic. No other WMLN DJ covers the local traffic and it’s something that makes his show stand out from the others.

Lopez enjoys playing around with his music segments, “There is Hot Riser which is where I play an upcoming song, Throwback Tuesday and Double Play Tuesday, which is where I plays two songs back to back with the same title.”

Lopez prepares for each show with a great amount of love and dedication.

“I have 18 liners and a 14 page script for my show,” said Lopez.

Paco’s Picks isn’t all serious. Lopez keeps things fun and interesting by giving listeners a monthly prize; in September, Lopez gave away a Little Cesar’s gift card.

Lopez earned his show by working hard and being present in the station. As a freshman, he covered many people’s on-air shifts and helped at events like Accepted Students Day and Late Night Breakfast.

Even if a student is not concentrating in Radio Broadcasting, he or she can still pursue a specialty show.

Juniors Shelbi Chandler and Matt Simonelli are Communication majors concentrating in film. Their specialty show, the Amibros Show, airs Tuesdays 7-9 p.m.

Matt Simonelli and Shelbi Chandler. // PHOTO COURTESY OF EMMA SULLIVAN
Matt Simonelli and Shelbi Chandler. // PHOTO COURTESY OF EMMA SULLIVAN

The Amibros Show is a variety show, so there is something new every week. As second semester freshmen, the co-hosts started the show to air their radio drama series, Detective Obvious. Detective Obvious is on hiatus, but previously aired episodes are available on iTunes.

This semester, the Amibros Show has weekly themes that range from playing concept albums and rock operas to talking about online trends.

The Amibros had their five seconds of fame last semester when they were featured on the popular social media site, Yik Yak, for playing music from SpongeBob SquarePants.

Chandler said, “We try to keep our awkward personas… we like going in not knowing what to talk about.”

Here is a list of other specialty shows and their times. Make sure to listen to them, only on WMLN 91.5.

B&B (Mondays 1-4 p.m.) – Brandon Enroth and Brendon Wedekind

Latin Late Night (Mondays 7-9 p.m.) – Mayilee Mercedes

Tech Corner (Mondays 9-11 p.m.) – Paul Finn and Jack Iten

Paco’s Picks (Tuesdays 1-4 p.m.) – Sal Lopez

The Amibos Show (Tuesdays 7-9 p.m.) – Shelbi Chandler and Matt Simonelli

The Rant (Tuesdays 9-11 p.m.) – Allan Plaunt and Skyler Wack

The Indie 500 (Wednesdays 5-7 p.m) – Jimmy Bonneau and Molly Fanikos

Sports Corner (Wednesdays 7-9 p.m.) – Sports Department

Jazz Hands (Wednesdays 9-11 p.m.) – Justin Paolino

Just Tryin to Jam (Thursdays (1-4 p.m.) – Chris Montesi

Dance.Dub.Jamz (Thursdays 4-7 p.m.) – Jamie Casagrande

SamC Underground (Thursdays 7-9 p.m.) – Samantha Castro

The Setlist (Thursdays 9-11 p.m.) – Kendall Graham

The Rush Hour (Fridays 4-7 p.m) – Andrew Trofimow

Friday Night Flava (Fridays 7-9 p.m.) – Derrell Wyche

SEES Today (Saturdays 7-9 p.m.) – Joe Capozzo

Table Talk (Sundays 7-9 p.m.) – Brittany Berg and Lindsey Mason

Party! WMLN Celebrates 40th Anniversary

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misreported that the Alumni House event Friday evening will be open to students. 

BY CHRISTIANNA CASALETTO // APRIL 14, 2015 //

The Curry College radio station will be on the air this Friday, as it is every day throughout the calendar year. That means someone will be missing out on a killer party.

This Friday, April 17, the college is hosting an alumni event in honor of the 40th anniversary of WMLN-FM 91.5. The event begins at 1:30 p.m. in the Hafer Parent’s Lounge with a meet-and-greet for radio practicum students and Curry alumni. Other events include an Alumni committee panel at 4:30, open to all students, and a faculty, admin and alumni event from 6-8 p.m. in the Alumni House. The station will also be open throughout the day for tours and viewings.

Signs of a promising future for WMLN began with its licensing in 1975, transitioning from an AM to an FM station with a capability of reaching listeners up to a 30-mile radius. The station launched in 1970 as an AM operation, WVAC 640. Four years later, it moved into a new building—which remains its current home.

PHOTO FROM 1976 CURRY YEARBOOK, CURRYER.
PHOTO FROM 1976 CURRY YEARBOOK, CURRYER.

In 1977, Professor Alan Frank was hired as the director of radio, a position he has held ever since.

“I came [to Curry] and I was hired to restructure and build the program and eventually make it co-curricular,” says Frank. “Whatever you find out in real-world radio, you find here.”

WMLN, which is also live-streamed online, has won 40 Associated Press awards between 1988 and 2014. Most notable of the awards is the title “New England College Station of the Year,” in 1992.

“We had stiff competition, and here we are, little Curry College, winning all these awards,” says Frank. “That speaks not just to the program but to the quality of kids we have had over the years.”

“I think winning the Massachusetts Associated Press Award for best college radio station was a great honor,” says Gavin Spittle, a 1993 Curry graduate who is now vice president of News/Talk/Sports for CBS Radio in Dallas/Fort Worth. “My news station…still wins AP awards and I still have that same feeling.”

Even before there was WMLN 40 years ago, Curry had a robust student-run radio station, albeit AM. // PHOTO FROM 1973 CURRY YEARBOOK
Even before there was WMLN 40 years ago, Curry had a robust student-run radio station, albeit AM. // PHOTO FROM 1973 CURRY YEARBOOK

Students and alumni of WMLN say the hands-on nature of the station is what makes it so great.

“All those programs helped me understand many sides of radio,” says Dan Mazella, a 2009 graduate who was station manager his final two years on campus. He now works as a traffic reporter for iHeart Media, and also is on-air for Rock 101 in New Hampshire. “From music to cohosting to producing…it guided me when I started working in commercial radio because there were many times I had to wear many hats. When you go to intern or even work in the field, you already have an idea of how things can go.”

Many students involved with Curry radio are enjoying careers in the field, including 2013 graduate Matt Fitzgerald, who now works as a news anchor for Boston Herald Radio, and Sydney Lowe, a 1998 Curry graduate and the senior manager of on-air promotion scheduling at MLB Network in Secaucus, N.J.

“You don’t know what the future will bring,” says Lowe, “but you just keep doing what you love and hope that it pays off in the end—both literally and figuratively.”

Alumni say one of the great values of the station, which is almost entirely student-run—from management and operations to on-air programming—is the opportunity to work with other students from around the campus.

The student-produced and operated radio station features both music and talk. Junior communication major Chris Haskell works the mic during an afternoon session. // PHOTO BY NICK IRONSIDE
The student-produced and operated radio station features both music and talk. Chris Haskell, now an alumnus, works the mic during an afternoon session two years ago. // PHOTO BY NICK IRONSIDE

“WMLN not only helped me prepare for my radio career, but also helped me understand how to work with people in radio,” says Mazella. “You are working with a lot of creative minds and you need to be able to adapt and base your ideas off theirs.”

“I think the other aspect that is underrated is the camaraderie that you build with fellow students,” says Spittle. “I loved that I was able to get my hands dirty at the radio station during my freshman year. I needed as many reps as I could get. Other colleges didn’t offer that and that’s why I chose Curry. I got to pursue my dream, met some lifelong friends, and got to play tennis at the collegiate level. WMLN is a lab and I needed to be a ‘lab rat’ to become what I am today.”

Sophomore communication major Shelbi Chandler, host of “The Amibros” radio show Tuesday evenings from 9-11, agrees. “We are encouraged to do and figure things out for our own, but [Professor Frank] is always around to help.”

As for what’s in store for the future, Frank is nothing but optimistic. “[WMLN] has sustained itself for the last 40 years, and I am delighted.”

Rolling With It

BY ERIN POWERS // MAY 3, 2012 // 

Underneath a black Red Sox cap, Alex Danahy smiled from ear to ear as he talked about his plans to attend the 2012 home opener at Fenway Park.

“I’ve always loved the sport, since back when I played T-ball,” said Danahy, a native of Hopkinton, Mass., who has his own sports talk program on Curry’s student-run radio station, WMLN.

Alex Danahy was born with spina bifida and has undergone 24 surgeries in his life. But little seems to slow down the junior communication major, who hosts his own sports talk program on Curry’s WMLN. // PHOTO BY ERIN POWERS

However, his time on the diamond was short lived. Danahy was born with spina bifida, a birth defect that causes the spinal cord to not develop properly. In Danahy’s case, it greatly impaired his ability to walk, so he has used a wheelchair for most of his life.

Around campus, Danahy, a junior communication major, is lovingly known as “Wheelz.” He said he first got the nickname at age 12 after an argument with a friend. To his chagrin, it stuck. But Danahy has decided to own it, to make it his. His wheelchair is his reality, and there’s no avoiding it. At age 19, Danahy got a tattoo with the words “Life Rolls On” stretching from one shoulder blade to the other.

“I like it now,” said Danahy, 24, of his nickname. “Even some of my teachers would call me it.”

He has undergone 24 major surgeries over the course of his life, and is preparing for yet another one this June. The procedure will remove a shunt in Danahy’s back that essentially “shut down” years ago and has since been an unnecessary, and often painful, piece of hardware in his body.

The surgery will leave Danahy bed-ridden for six weeks, but that’s nothing new. He said his youth and high school years were nothing short of a horizontal uphill climb due to numerous surgeries and rehabilitation periods. During his sophomore year of high school, Danahy was tutored from home for three months and was allowed to attend only half days for the first two months of his junior year.

“There used to be a foam couch that followed me from class to class,” said Danahy with a roll of his eyes. “They even made me use it at my prom!”

He is quick to give credit to family, friends and sports for getting him through his darkest hours. He also an active member of the Michael Carter Lisnow Respite Center, located in Hopkinton, a nonprofit that provides families with disabled children emotional and physical support. Danahy got a job at the Center at age 14 and continues his involvement today. He’s currently a member of the group’s Boston Marathon committee and was recently dubbed captain of the wheelchair division.

Despite Danahy’s consistent medical struggles, he routinely maintains a positive attitude and his sense of humor. He can often be found on campus sporting a T-shirt that reads “I’m in it for the parking.” Danahy owns a specially designed car that enables him to drive using various hand controls for acceleration and breaking. But Danahy is quick to point out that he wasn’t always this easy going.

At age 15, “I was the most miserable kid you would have ever met,” he said. “Even my friends would tell me how much my attitude sucked. Eventually, I started making light of situations. The more I did that, the better I felt. I decided I needed to be less of an asshole and more of a smart-ass.”

That perspective has won him the admiration of students throughout campus.

“Wheelz is hilarious, and his life-rolls-on attitude is awesome,” said Tiffany Renert, a senior communication major. “He’s known around campus for a reason: he’s a great guy.”

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