Broadcasting During a Pandemic

By: Ellie Hooey 

About a year ago, we all left Vanderbilt’s campus excited to start spring break. Some of us went to tropical places, some were in Europe visiting friends abroad, and some went home to see family. The underlying factor to all of these trips, though, was the looming pandemic. All of us heard on the news about a new virus that was wreaking havoc on people’s respiratory systems. I personally assumed it was all going to go away within months. We all soon learned, though, that this was not the case. COVID-19 came to Vandy’s campus and we were all forced home and had to adapt to online instruction for the remainder of the semester.

During the last few months of the spring 2020 semester, people learned the renegade, how to make whipped coffee and slowly adapted to the “new normal.” Here at VandyRadio, our student staff and advisors worked tirelessly to get the station back on the air. By May, we had a return to campus plan ensuring we would all be back on the air by the start of the fall 2020 semester.

Vanderbilt Student Communications (VSC) provided remote radio equipment to everyone who wanted a show. We were able to get the music back on the air for everyone across Vanderbilt’s campus – whether they were in Nashville or studying remotely. Our staff and hosts seamlessly learned how to utilize the remote equipment and continue making incredible content. Last month, we even had a Valentine’s Day Broadcast. Although we missed our typically booth in Sarratt, we were still able to play requested songs and spread the love on Valentine’s Day. Not only did the new equipment allow us to return to the air, but it also provided unique opportunities. Over winter break, I brought my equipment home and was able to have family members guest star on the show they enjoyed listening to so much (see below). Other hosts utilized Zoom to connect with their hosts, other guests and more.

All in all, although the pandemic has been really tough for all of us, VSC helped VandyRadio to continue as close to normalcy as possible and we can’t wait for the rest of the semester.

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