Critical to the evolution and success of WAVM has been the Faculty Advisor, a part-time teacher who is ultimately responsible for all aspects of the station. From the opening of the station’s doors to when the transmitter is turned off, the Faculty Advisor is in charge, but historically, there’s been a tradition of letting the students make many of the decisions and complete the work.
With the Faculty Advisor acting as the Commander in Chief, the students are organized into departments headed by directors and managers. It’s these students who truly run the show. As Joe Magno once wrote, the “faculty advisor is Chairman of the Board of Directors, whose role it is to make certain that decisions will benefit everyone.” On the shoulders of the students rests all real responsibility.
Joseph P. Magno was the first Faculty Advisor, assisting John Boothroyd and Richard Hurd in the realization of the studio, and he had a major hand in building the station from the ground up. At the time, there were no models for Magno and the students to follow, so they had to experiment as they went. Due to this situation, Joe Magno had the opportunity to form a long-lasting system of educational goals for the organization, and as each class of students graduated, Magno was there to carry these lessons over to the next year, continuing the station’s mission.
“My major objective with WAVM,” Magno once said, “has been to build a school within a school where the students get the opportunity to learn a lot of life skills.” On one hand, Magno was teaching the technical aspects of communications, but even more importantly the students were learning respect, honesty, and responsibility among other character lessons. The program was more than just a place for the students to hang out, have fun, and broadcast, WAVM was intent on building character.
In 1983, Joe Magno commonly referred to as “Mags,” intended to retire from the Maynard Public Schools, but Peter Delmonico, who was at the time Superintendent of the schools, talked him out of it. However, in 1989, the wear and tear of the job finally got to Mags, and he did retire to work in the private sector. For the time being, he was getting away from the role of an educator, which he had held for twenty-six years.
Beginning with the 1989-’90 school season, the new Faculty Advisor was Jeff Loeb, who worked previously as a Media Specialist in the Newton Public Schools. He also operated a freelance audio production business as a composer and narrator for broadcast and non-broadcast projects.
1989 proved to be a tough year of transition for WAVM, mainly because several teenagers were deeply devoted to Mags. They wished that he didn’t retire. Mags’ strong personality was indeed a difficult act for anyone to follow. Jeff happened to be that “anyone” who had an unenviable task of taking over the program. He did the best he could.
Regarding Jeff’s approach to WAVM, he says, “I was only somewhat familiar with the station when I took the job, so I spent much of my time listening to students and parents about how the station had been run in prior years. Aside from the TV production classes which I taught, in which I used some of the materials I had developed in Newton on a more advanced level, I found myself in the role of carrying on Joe’s work, rather than trying to establish a whole new operating procedure. I sensed a great need on the part of the students to continue the station operations much as they had in previous years.”
In 1990, Danielle Dentino became the Faculty Advisor. Quite noteworthy, Danielle was a former WAVM member, having graduated from M.H.S. in 1984. She could bring both a teenager and professional’s perspective to operating the station.
In the Summer of 1993, there was another transition. After 3-years at M.H.S. as the Faculty Advisor, Danielle Dentino moved on to another teaching job, and, again, there was a missing role to fill. Joe Magno, who had helped the WAVM on special events during his retirement but kept out of the station’s operations, decided that he’d like to try his hand at WAVM one more time, and he was given the job. Of course, when one former-member found out that Magno was back at the station, he remarked, “He’s still alive?!” Yes, Joe Magno is still alive and, to the present date, can be found at the station, continuing the critical role of the Faculty Advisor.
The Story of WAVM continues with The Early Years in Radio