Radio Days

WSLCDuring its Golden Age—before television swept the nation in the 1950s—radio was America’s go-to source for scripted entertainment. As early as 1939, Sarah Lawrence students were working as scriptwriters for WFAS in White Plains. WSLC, the College’s own student-run FM radio station, first went on the air in 1946. On January 30 of that year, the student newspaper reported, “Station W-SLC officials today announced a first nighter schedule which includes an address by President Harold Taylor and half hour programs sponsored by Chesterfield’s, Macy’s and Mademoiselle Magazine.” Now broadcasting over the Internet, WSLC has operated from a few locations on campus, including Bates Assembly Hall (now the Faculty/Staff Dining Room) and Robinson House. The next move for the station will be to the Barbara Walters Campus Center.

Even with all the competition from an assortment of old and new media, radio is still going strong. In fact, some consider this to be the Golden Age of Narrative Radio. Just ask writing faculty member Ann Heppermann, whose seminar “How Does This American Life Do What They Do?” examines narrative writing for radio today. The course explores how narrative structure affects nonfiction storytelling, whether it matters who tells the story, and how narrative-driven radio programs deal with ethical missteps. Heppermann recently founded The Sarah Lawrence College International Audio Fiction Awards, a.k.a. The Sarahs, celebrating the best audio fiction currently being made around the world.