By Nick Hawks
Every year, Cleveland Scene Magazine releases a “Best of” issue that ranks all the best things in Cleveland. For example, in 2020, the Best Sports Reporter was Jimmy Donovan of WKYC. The Best neighborhood was Ohio City. And the best college run radio station? Cleveland State University’s 89.3 WSCB.
Not only were they ranked as the best college radio station, but they placed fourth in overall radio stations, competing with powerhouses with household names such as 100.7 WMMS and 92.3 The Fan. They were the only college-ran radio station to place in the top five. To rank in the top five in Cleveland’s best radio stations, despite just being run by college kids who aren’t profiting from their work, shows the dedication put into it, according to WSCB General Manager Jeremy Biello.
“A great thing about our station, which you would not get at a commercial radio station, and you don’t get at every college station, is we have a program director who makes the schedule to decide what’s going where and to make sure everyone’s doing the show and all that,” Biello said. “But that’s all they do. Once the DJ walks into the DJ booth and the show starts, it’s their show for the next two hours. It’s their airwaves.”
The only requirement given to the DJs, other than abiding by FCC regulations, of course, is that they are not permitted to play any top-40 song currently on the airwaves.
“I know some stations that tell you what to play and are run more like corporate commercial radio stations,” Biello said. “We run very free form, and I think that’s the secret to our success right there. We’re not trying to cram down some kind of formula of what we think is best for the listener to hear.”
Not only does the station play music, but they have shows dedicated to public affairs, late-night talk show formats, and even a show that Biello, who is a senior journalism major at CSU, himself hosts that is “A Show About Nothing.”
With COVID hitting everybody in the entertainment field hard, including college media, producing a radio show has become even more of a challenge than it typically would be. It forces WSCB to pre-record everything from home, away from the confines of its studio on the CSU campus.
“Just about everybody involved with WSCB is there because they love it so much,” Biello said. “The reason we are functioning right now is because of volunteers.”