WHWS is a broadcast collaboration between the Smith Center for the Arts (parent organization of the Smith Opera House in downtown Geneva) and Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

Take a tour of our studios
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Check out a photo tour of the WHWS studios, co-located with our sister station, WEOS!

The station is operated by HWS at the behest of, and according to the wishes of, the SCFTA. While professional staff are on-hand to provide guidance, training, and to help "fill in the gaps" during winter/summer breaks, WHWS is largely student managed and operated to provide a "hands-on" learning environment for HWS students.

Students have roles at WHWS in:
  • Programming / DJ Management
  • Music Reviewing / Management
  • Promotions
  • Sportscasting
  • Live Event Engineering / Operations
  • ...and, of course, as live DeeJays on the air!
To learn about how you can become involved at WHWS, or learn more about the people who work/volunteer at the station, check out the VOLUNTEER page.

WHWS has a three-fold mission to serve to residents of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, the residents of Geneva, New York, and the residents of the surrounding cities and towns in Ontario and Seneca counties.

First: to provide a broadcast service to the Hobart and William Smith community. Including increased availability for HWS Students to host an on-air show, a rock/alternative/eclectic format aimed at students during non-live DJ times, and additional newscasts and related special programming aimed at the HWS campus and community.  This includes outlets for live coverage of Hobart and William Smith sports events.

Second: to provide a Spanish-language program service, with music, news and information, relevant to the Latino community in and around Geneva.

Third: to provide a local news, music and information service of interest to the local Geneva community as a whole, and the surrounding communities as possible and appropriate.


Who owns/runs WHWS?
The actual FCC license is owned by the Smith Center for the Arts (formerly known as the Finger Lakes Regional Arts Council), the same entity that owns The Smith Opera House.  Hobart and William Smith Colleges has a management agreement with SCFTA: in exchange for providing the transmitter/tower and studios, and for a commitment to regular programming to reach an underserved audience, SCFTA gives HWS wide latitude in the operation of the station.
While there are professional, full-time managers at WHWS, the day-to-day operation of the station is handled by HWS students.  DJ management, newscasts, promotions, and music management are all handled by students.  

I want to join WHWS, are there any rules or prerequisites? 
If you are a HWS student in good standing, you are eligible to try out for WHWS.  You'll need to schedule a time to be trained by our professional staff, and then training takes about an hour.  Afterwards, you'll be given a copy of our Student Handbook and a short "take home test".  To pass the test, you need only read the Handbook; the answers are easy to find.  Then, while it's not required, we recommend you come in to do an hour or two in the studio, but not on the air, as a "practice show".  Around this same time, the Program Director will assign you an airshift based on your preferred times (balanced against what airshifts are available).  Then you're off to the races, with your very own airshift every week.   Depending on how motivated you are, you can be on the air in about a week or two.  Contrast that to many nearby college stations that require at least a full semester before you can get an airshift!

I'm not an HWS student, can I still join?
WHWS has very, very limited openings for community volunteers or students at other colleges.  Currently all those openings are filled and we don't anticipate that changing in the near future - if it does we will post notice regarding it.

I'm an HWS alum, does that matter?
Yes, recent HWS graduates may apply for airshifts, but be advised that first priority will be given to current students.

I'm interested in WHWS, but I'm not all that interested in being a DJ or having an airshift...what else can I do at WHWS?
We have several off-air roles, a few of which are paid positions, at WHWS. See above for a partial list.  We do not have any part-time or full-time job openings for non-students.

If I'm a DJ, will I be required to play Spanish music or speak Spanish?
You are NOT required to speak any particular language, although you certainly can do your show in a foreign language if you want.   Speaking in a foreign language does not exempt you from all the same content and FCC/indecency rules that apply in English, though.  It's the same regardless of the language.

WHWS broadcasts Radio Bilingue only during specific, reserved times. During live DJ shifts, we do encourage all DJ's to follow a Triple-A / Alternative / Alt-Rock format...playing music from the heavy rotation library.  And all DJ's are expected to play at least two tracks per hour from the heavy rotation or featured music libraries.  But if you want to do a show in some other format, that's perfectly good, too!

How much artistic freedom do I have as a DJ? 
While any DJ's playlists are subject to review by WHWS management, or HWS administrators, we generally do not require any prior review of what a DJ plays on the air.  We also require that DJ's play at least two tracks from the "Heavy Rotation" shelves per hour.  Beyond that, though, you can play pretty much whatever you like.  We do ask that you try and keep your music to a rock/alternative genres to have a consistent sound, but speciality shows are allowed.  Contact the Program Director for details.

What about obscene/indecent programming?
As an FCC-licensed station, we are prohibited from obscene programming at any time of the day or night. There is the concept of "Safe Harbor" from 10pm to 6am when indecent programming is allowed by the FCC...however, by WHWS internal policy, we do not air indecent programming at any time. That means no songs with any swear words or explicitly-sexual or violent lyrics. If you have further questions, please consult the Student Handbook or contact the Program Director.

I want a talk show - can we do that?
Beginning in the spring 2011 semester, WHWS is allowing student talk shows under certain conditions:
  • Talk shows must be scheduled on weekdays (Mon - Fri) between 2pm - 5pm or 10pm - 12mid.
  • Phone calls are not allowed on-air.  (FCC liability issues)   Use the "Shoutbox" on the website to take listener comments.
  • Talk shows may be on any topic, but we encourage you to have a consistent theme as it generally makes for better radio.   That theme can be "news of the week", of course.   
  • WHWS has a weekly sports show: the HWS SportsHour.  We encourage getting involved with that show if you're into sports talk, but if you want to start up your own sports talk show, that's fine, too.
  • We highly encourage students to seek out a HWS professor / employee / coach to join them on the show...either as a co-host or a one-time guest.  If you need help arranging such guests, please contact Greg.
Additionally, we have a "talk show"-like program called Fridays at the Scandling Cafe - our live remote broadcast from the Scandling Student Center every Friday from 11am to 1pm.  DJ's on that shift are strongly encouraged to interview campus notables (professors, administrators, coaches, etc) and to interact with fellow students in the Cafe.   If you love to ham it up in front of a crowd, then being a FATSC DJ might be just for you!  Contact the Program Director to volunteer.

I'm an independent producer and I'd love it if you aired my show, does WHWS do that?
Except for VERY specific exceptions...such as the Radio Bilingue satellite feed...WHWS does not broadcast shows that are not produced by "in-house" staff.  Our sister station, WEOS, does air a great deal of independently-produced shows, although there is currently no additional room for music shows on WEOS, and all news/talk shows must conform to the National Public Radio standards for journalism and technical quality.

Okay, I passed the test and I'm on the air...how many airshifts can I have?
Initially DJ's are assigned one to three shifts per week, depending on their preference. Shifts may be one to three hours long, depending on the time of day.  There's a fair amount of flexibility, and you can take as many shifts as you feel comfortable with.  However, experience has taught us that three hours per week is usually the maximum without risking burnout.

Shifts can be at any time between 11am and midnight, although certain shifts are discouraged because they'll be frequently pre-empted for sports or other live events. If you want more airshifts and you've demonstrated you can handle them (and it won't affect your studies) then WHWS may assign more airshifts on a case-by-case basis.

Pre-empted for sports? What's that?
WHWS broadcasts live coverage of many HWS sports - over 100 games per year! (not including playoffs)  The exact dates and times vary from year to year and sport to sport...check the sports page for more info. Anytime one of these sports broadcasts occurs, they will override any other scheduled programming...so don't pick a timeslot that routinely has a sports game in it!

I love sports - can I do play-by-play?
Yes! We are ALWAYS looking for more sportscasters to do play-by-play and color commentary. We do have some professionals that do sportscasting for some sports, but room for students is always available at these games, too. We broadcast Hobart football, ice hockey, lacrosse, basketball and soccer, and William Smith lacrosse, basketball and soccer. Football and lacrosse are both home and away games (free trips!), the other sports are mostly home games.  A running schedule of games is HERE.

Why the mix of Radio Bilingue and college music?
WHWS is legally owned by the Smith Center for the Arts.  Hobart and William Smith Colleges provides the transmitter/tower space and studios, and operates the station at SCFTA's direction.  In exchange for a commitment to substantial programming geared towards underserved audiences, the station is given wide leeway to also operate as a student activity for HWS students.  By mutual agreement we chose Spanish-language programming as there's no other Spanish-language station in the area.

Why The Takeaway in the mornings?
The co-host of The Takeaway, John Hockenberry, came to HWS to speak as part of the HWS President's Forum on April 7, 2011.  In honor of his coming, and because we had access to the public radio satellite downlink necessary to receive the show (via our sister station, WEOS), Public Radio International allowed WHWS to air the show for a few months for free, leading up to John's arrival.  Afterwards, PRI offered to allow WHWS to continue airing the show for free, and reviews had been positive, so we made it a permanent addition to the daily WHWS lineup.

I'm a label rep or band and I want to send you music for airplay, how do I do that?
All music submissions should be on regular audio CD and sent via US Mail.  Please don't try to deliver it in person, that's very creepy.  If you want to send us music electronically, contact the Music Director.   

I was listening on Orientation Day and heard this loop of schedule information instead of music, what WAS that???
On special days, WHWS may radically shift its format.  For example, on Orientation Day in late August / early September, WHWS may air an updating-loop of traffic, schedule and parking info for incoming first-year HWS students and their parents.  Similarly, we have special broadcasts for William Smith "Moving Up Day", and HWS Commencement in May.  We also have several community-focused broadcasts.