WWPT continues coverage during Coronavirus pandemic


Giselle Oldani ’22

Evan Trock ’22 (left) and Nick Sikorsky ’24 (right) prepare for a WWPT radio session. Students who are online can be broadcasted into this room using Zoom and can participate as usual.

On March 11, students excitedly made the journey home as the bomb that is the Coronavirus pandemic dropped. In the beginning, many were happy with the gift of a few days off from school; however, being trapped at home all day soon became boring. Everyone was forced to navigate the ups and downs of distance learning, the Staples radio station included. 

The station, almost completely run by students, covers a range of topics from sports, to music, to contemporary news and now even broadcasts productions of the Staples Players drama club. In addition to wide coverage, the radio station is live and unscripted.

Although appearing as a difficult change, this shift from in-school to at-home learning encouraged the radio station to use the available technology in the most efficient way possible. The techniques of the radio station are now more similar to those of ESPN and ABC News. 

“We started broadcasting from my house […] using google meets and zoom to basically send the signal,” Geno Heiter, Radio Production teacher, said. 

Although the class has gone through many changes, the drive and inspiration behind this award-winning radio station has been unwavering. 

 “We have goals to obviously improve as broadcasters ourselves, but what we really want to do is just help inform the Staples community and do our best to accurately report […] to the public,” Jake Gersh ’21, executive coordinator, said. 

At the start of class, Heiter, Radio Production teacher, holds a “think tank” where students brainstorm current events and discuss the angle that the station will talk about on air. Some ideas include the vice presidential debate and sport predictions. (Giselle Oldani ’22)

Even though the show is unscripted, preparation takes a lot of work.

“It can take anywhere from half hours to two hours [to prepare for a live sports game],” Cameron Manna ’21, executive coordinator,said. 

The station, amid new COVID-19 guidelines, will also be the only news source to broadcast sporting events. 

“[This] is the best way for games to be broadcasted, for everyone to see and be there in spirit,” Jessica Qi ’22 said. 

Some might find this to be a lot of pressure, but the radio station leadership is determined to keep up and ensure quality reporting.

“We’re going to keep working hard and keep preparing, as we usually do,” Gersh said. “I also think it gives us that extra push knowing that there’s going to be more people tuning in and more eyes on us.” 

The station can be heard on 90.3 FM or by going to WWPTFM.org.