If you live in the greater New Haven area, you probably know about WPKN 98.5FM, the legendary community radio station broadcasting out of the University of Bridgeport. Every month WPKN airs an Arts Council show called ARTS ON AIR, and this past Monday was my first one as Communications Manager for the Arts Council (as well as my first time on the radio). I was also joined by David Brensilver, editor of The Arts Paper.
General Manager Steve DiCostanza was on hand to give me a crash course in handling the studio controls. One of the most basic aspect in broadcasting is wearing headphones, and hearing your voice through them as you speak into the microphone. It takes some getting used to.
My guests were from the Listen Here reading series, which happens at the Institute Library in New Haven. New Haven Review publisher Bennett Lovett-Graff chooses short stories which are read by members of the New Haven Theater Company. (You can read up on the last Listen Here event here) This time, Steve Scarpa was on hand to ready Bennett’s selection for the show, Araby, by James Joyce.
Afterwards I asked Steve what the challenges of reading on the radio were, versus at the Institute Library. He said the sensitive feedback (from the mic to the headphones) amplified every syllable and breath. More striking though, was the effect of an audience. He said audience cues let him know when he’s connecting, and when he’s not, and lets him adjust his performance and timing. On the radio, he was just winging it. I could relate!
You can listen to a stream of this show here, and tune in next month on January 19th at 12 Noon for the next ARTS ON AIR. I’ll keep you posted when I have my next guest confirmed.