Collyn Robinson, Staff Photographer

Stacks of CDs spilling out of bathtubs and album cover posters plastered on walls beckon students into the WYBC building, the home of Yale’s only radio station.

WYBCx is Yale’s student-run radio station: an 24/7 online platform that streams music, broadcast shows, podcasts and live concerts performed by students and local New Haven musicians. WYBC is the larger organization that used to operate an FM and AM station. Rather than receiving funding from the University, the station has been making money by leasing out its FM station to Cox Radio since 1994 and, more recently, its AM station to Sacred Heart University’s WSHU radio. The station also rents out the first floor of its four-story building to Junzi Kitchen. 

“The main appeal of being in WYBC is being able to have a platform to broadcast your voice,” said General Board Member AJ Wylie ’26. “Granted, it’s dubious that [more] than 10 people will be listening to my show, right? But I think having that outlet and just being in front of a mic with headphones on and the soundboard in front of you is a very quintessential college experience.” 

Because WYBC has a steady source of income from renting its property and leasing its FM and AM stations, the online station does not need to generate funds, according to WYBC board members. Instead of striving to increase the number of listeners, the over 400 members across the radio’s 11 departments are free to focus on its original aims of “providing a voice” for students, per the WYBC handbook. 

This year, General Manager Madelyn Dawson ’25 and the rest of the WYBC executive and extended boards have several goals for improving the station’s programming.

One main project, which Dawson said she anticipates will be complete by the end of October, is a new and improved website, designed by the station’s web department and former WYBC member Chia Amisola ’22. Dawson said that the new website will feature an archive of broadcast shows, online zine editions and a calendar of WYBC and New Haven music events.

“The [current] website has this really DIY, nostalgic, old radio station feel, which is great, but it also isn’t always the most functional, and it’s sometimes difficult to navigate,” Dawson said. 

WYBC’s zine is also undergoing significant changes this year. 

The zine was previously called “Relatively Dark Blue Neither Purple Nor Green,” a title inspired by former Yale President Kingman Brewster’s ’41 description of the distinct Yale Blue color. It featured poetry, illustrations and other art forms. 

This year, the zine department has pivoted to producing a tri-annual music publication, filled with essays about niche genres, album reviews and reporting on the New Haven music scene. The zine has also been rebranded as “AM640.”

“They used to run physical wires from the station into each residential college and then people would tune in on their radios, so it was literally [connecting] all of campus, and the station that you tuned into was AM640,” River Abedon ’24, the zine’s executive editor, told the News. “We’re going back into our cable history [with] that name.”

Dawson and Office Manager Joanna Ruiz ’25 also noted their plans to help revamp the podcasts department. Ruiz said that the podcasts department was “pretty inactive” last year; the program lacked structure and many students did not have experience using podcast recording equipment.

Dawson added that the new heads of the podcast department are addressing this issue by creating a guide to podcasting and hosting training sessions on how to record and edit podcasts with the station’s equipment. 

“We have someone who wants to do an episode talking to the people who run the Grove Street Cemetery,” Dawson said. “I have a friend who’s interested in interviewing local scientists about their research. We have people who are going to talk about music … We just want to [give] people the structure and guidance that they need to create something that they care about.”

Ruiz highlighted their Teen Takeover program, which WYBC launched last year. As part of the program, members taught local New Haven high school students the basics of radio and gave them an hour-long slot to host their own shows on the website each Friday afternoon. 

She said that WYBC is expanding Teen Takeover to become a biweekly program and will invite students from three local high schools to participate. Dawson said she hopes that the program will encourage students to pursue radio.

In addition to these expanded programs, the station will continue to stream broadcast shows between noon and 2 a.m. each day. 

Several students plan on creating shows, including Wylie, who will be co-hosting the brand-new “Couples Therapy” show with Larry Dunn ’25 from 1 to 2 p.m on Sundays.

Wylie and Dunn plan to interview a different couple each week, asking the couple to describe each other and their relationship using songs. 

“It does have a little bit of that juicy tabloid appeal,” Wylie said. “You can play with that aesthetic and narrative in fun and interesting ways, especially when you’re incorporating music.”

Another weekly show set to air will discuss Yale’s Sustainable Food Program and will be co-hosted by Fafa Van Ha, a Lazarus Fellow in food and agriculture, and Farm Manager Kavya Jain ’25. 

Their show will invite people involved in the program and from New Haven to discuss topics such as food education, “broadening the scope of perspectives and people [in WYBCx],” Dawson said. 

Over 100 prospective WYBCx members will complete their training at the end of October, and many of those members will then begin hosting their own weekly shows.

The four WYBC members the News spoke with all said that what makes WYBC different from other large, long-standing student organizations at Yale is its accessibility to all students.

“As long as you put in the time and went through the process of joining, you would be able to join,” Dawson said. “I was able to have a show the first semester of my first year, which was really exciting to me, especially being somewhere where [extracurriculars were] super scary and elitist and selective.”

The WYBC building is located at 21 Broadway.