Back in early March, when the Presidential Task Force, reacting to the COVID-19 outbreak, issued CDC guidelines recommending no gatherings and staying at home (when possible), Harvard like other major colleges across the nation, sent the students home. Whether this made sense is a topic for another time, but that expulsion included almost all of the staff of WHRB, except for a few who are living in the area, and valiantly keeping the station on the air 24/7. I have been remiss in not bringing blog readers up-to-date, but here (belatedly) is the notice from current WHRB President Allison Pao and General Manager Emily Spector on March 16th:
To the listeners of Harvard Radio Broadcasting, Inc. (WHRB):
We would like to provide you with an update on WHRB programming in light of recent events related to COVID-19. In response to the risks of COVID-19, on Tuesday, March 10th, all Harvard undergraduates were asked to vacate campus dorms by 5pm, Sunday, March 15th.
WHRB will continue to stay on the air 24/7, uninterrupted. Because most of our students will be away from campus, much of that air will be comprised of pre-recorded shows. Nonetheless, we will continue our live broadcasts of Harvard Memorial Church’s Sunday Services, the Metropolitan Opera, and Hillbilly at Harvard. Please note that pre-recorded classical music programming will temporarily replace some feature shows (including Special Concerts, New Releases, Historic Performances, and Sunday Night at the Opera). Sunday News and Sports Shows (As We Know It and Sports Talk) will broadcast periodically but no longer on a weekly basis, and there will be no live Sports broadcasts at this time.
WHRB-FM has a duty to the Harvard and Greater Boston communities. As our mission states, we “offer musical, cultural, educational, informational, and other programs and materials for the entertainment and profit of the public.” Particularly during this difficult time when people are being asked to stay at home, we believe that the medium of radio can serve as an important source of information, community, and enjoyment for everyone. For that reason, we are committed to continuing to provide high-quality broadcasts to our listeners.
We thank you for your continued support at this time, and we welcome any feedback or questions you may have. If you want to learn more about how you can support us, please visit whrb.org/support. The fastest way to reach us is via email (email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org), but you can also leave us a voicemail at (617) 495-9472 and we will do our best to get back to you soon.
Allison Pao ’21, President of WHRB
Emily Spector ’21, General Manager of WHRB
Harvard Radio Broadcasting, Inc.
389 Harvard St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
I am still coming in on Saturday to produce HAH live, and barring any problems will continue to do so. If for some reason I can’t come in, a pre-recorded show will air, as on previous occasions when I’ve been out of town or otherwise unavailable.
For me, it’s something like summer at WHRB, as most of the programming is pre-recorded, and there are few people around. There’s nothing on the Country Calendar, and I have had to tell some guests not to come in, for fear of ‘social distancing’ guidelines. It is a little spooky coming in Saturday mornings, with no traffic on the roads, and only a few people in Harvard Square, some with masks.
However, with the President and Task Force relaxing the guidelines for individual states today, I am hopeful that within a month or so the spookiness will dissipate. But we’ll see. In the meantime, feel free to post comments, suggestions, requests, and observations on the Paper and Pen Page. You can also email me: CousinLynn953@Yahoo.com /CL