The Early Years in RadioThe mid-1970's were a time for WAVM to learn and grow. The students of Maynard High School had just started a new venture, and it would take time to get used to these new trappings. They had to reach an understanding as to how much their world had suddenly expanded, and the impact they could have. For example, one student, Russ Arena, would drive around Maynard and the area towns to see how far the station's signal travelled. He remembers going as far as 9 Acre Corner in Sudbury before the signal faded.
WAVM started the 1974 school year with a full broadcast schedule of weekday shows, beginning at 7 a.m. and concluding at 9 p.m., and these broadcasting hours for the most part have never changed. Students, usually working in pairs, hold weekly shows that last an hour. Each show has its own style and format depending completely on the student, and there have been many types of shows to grace the airwaves. Some programs have been very general playing all types of jazz while others are more specific by airing only Hollywood Soundtracks. To no surprise, the most common programming of all has been "Pop Music."
Once word was out in 1974 that WAVM was up-and-running, the staff list steadily began to grow. Within a few years, the roster had climbed from twenty to over a hundred members where it has remained ever since. Upon these students rests the responsibility for operating the departments of the station, such as news, promotions, music and scheduling, which covers the broadcasting of radio shows.
As for conducting a radio show, a student's imagination of what to say or play next is primarily the toughest effort, and after some initial anxiety that anything you say will go out to the whole community, broadcasting becomes second nature. Over the summer or during the first couple weeks of school, students are trained. Novices are brought on air with experienced staff members, who teach the new students what or what not to say as well as how to operate the equipment.
For example, a broadcaster needs to bring up his own microphone when he or she speaks. Then the broadcaster needs to raise the levels on background music or sound effects, produced by, for example, the cart machine. After speaking for several moments, the broadcaster will then bring in the music from a CD player. All of this work takes some mental coordination and planning.
In addition to operating this equipment, the students maintain logs and playlists, some of which are required documention for the Federal Communications Commission. The logs document such actions as signal strength and whether or not the station is fulfilling its public service role, which is a deciding factor whenever WAVM needs to have their license renewed.
The Story of WAVM continues with Church Services