May 16, 2024

WOAS 2023-24 Awards

WOAS-FM Awards for 2023-24 

     Student volunteers from the Ontonagon Area Schools were recently recognized for their contributions to WOAS-FM 88.5.  The radio station is owned by the school district and operates from the studios located in the K-12 school library.  Some of the service awards bear the names of past WOAS-FM managers in honor of the faculty members who have overseen the station’s operations since it went on the air in December of 1978.  The station’s current general manager, Ken Raisanen, has been at the helm since 1997.  Raisanen has continued volunteering to manage the station since his retirement in 2018 with on site assistance from Library Aide Betsy Guilbault.  Following are the awards the student volunteers earned for the 2023-24 school broadcast year: 

Senior DJs:  Matt Immonen – S4SD / DbD9 Team Member – Jim Bradley ‘Mr Reliable’ Award (Matt has been responsible for getting us on the air each day for the past two years) – Mike ‘Zenith’ Bennett Senior Service Award

Hunter Badgero – S4SD / DbD9 Team Member – Thomas G. Lee Volunteer of the Year Award – Mike ‘Zenith’ Bennett Senior Service Award

Adam Immonen – S4SD / DbD9 Team Member – WOAS-FM Student Manager – Thomas G. Lee Volunteer of the Year Ward – Mike ‘Zenith’ Bennett Senior Service Award

Darius Manos – S4SD / DbD9 Team Member – Thomas G. Lee Volunteer of the Year Award – Mike ‘Zenith’ Bennett Senior Service Award.

     All of our morning DJs would qualify as our ‘Most Improved DJs of the Year’ winners because they all began the year as rookies.  They learned and improved steadily and were always available when jobs needed to be done (thus the multiple Volunteer of the Year’ awards).

     A new Communications class appeared on the OASD schedule this year and instructor Tim Nelson offered to have his students get involved with WOAS-FM.  Dubbed the ‘NelComms’, these students took a little longer to learn the ropes as they had to rotate their scheduled hour so  all could get studio time.  Two of these students, Jack Nelson and Violet Amos, were introduced to running the studio and they in turn trained the rest of the NelComms.  By the second semester, all were performing their DJ duties with ease and learning to communicate with their audience both on the air and via the station website,  It has been a real pleasure to watch them grow into the DJ gig and develop ‘on the air’ personalities..

     All of the NelComm DJs will be given awards acknowledging them as NelComm DJs and as S4SD – DbD9 Team Members.  The NelComm DJs this year were:  Abi Pestka, Jack Nelson, Tim Kniprath, Violet Amos, Jackie Cahill, Craig Sullivan, Jacob Burrows, Julia Manos.

Many thanks go out to instructors Tim Nelson and Betsy Guilbault for their efforts keeping this year’s WOAS dayshift on track.

     Two special events took place this year and bear mentioning here.  The first was a result of our fundraising efforts to purchase a new transmitter for WOAS-FM.  A team from the NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt visited the school in October 2023 to do a feature on the station.  Even though they were only weeks into their training as NelComms, Jack Nelson and Violet Amos were pressed into service as spokespersons for WOAS FM.  With the four senior DJs unavailable, Jack and Violet stepped up and did a great job representing both the station and the school district.  NBC reporter Maggie Vespa had nothing but praise for the poise they showed in front of the cameras.  Violet and Jack were again pressed into service when sports reporter Jake Durrant came to interview Jack and Violet for WJMN TV3 from Marquette.

     The second event was the ninth annual safe driving campaign locally known as Don’t be Distracted.  Students are told at the beginning of the year that working at WOAS-FM meant they were automatically signed up to volunteer for this student run program funded by a grant from the Ford Motor Company and the State of Michigan.  Two non-DJs volunteered to help create artwork for the elementary coloring contests that were part of the DbD9 campaign.  AJ Rowley and Kylee Uotila were recruited by art aide Betsy Guilbault to create this year’s coloring contest pages.     

     WOAS-FM 88.5 thanks all our student volunteers for their efforts and we wish our departing seniors nothing but the best in the years to come.  

Top Piece Video:  We will let Three Dog Night help us CELEBRATE our fantastic student volunteers!