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May 20, 2024

WJHU shares plans to connect Hopkins community through music

By LAURA WADSTEN | November 3, 2022



WJHU radio hopes to connect the Hopkins community with the vibrant Baltimore arts scene through radio. 

When Julien Fenouil wanted to join the student radio station as a freshman in 2018, an upperclassman told him it wasn’t worth it. WJHU radio was dying, and Fenouil was busy adjusting to college life, so he put it off. The following year, the club had only one active member. 

Fenouil explained how he and his friend Amanda Fernandes crafted a plan last year to revive WJHU radio in an interview with The News-Letter. 

“We became presidents and used last year to bring the club back, to do events on campus like the spring show during Spring Fair, get a base of shows going, get people in the room again and get the club's name out there again,” he said. 

This year’s Co-Presidents Jasper Adams and Biz Stahl are running with the same momentum and have their sights set high. Both expressed gratitude to their predecessors in an interview with The News-Letter

Stahl highlighted the club’s Spring Fair concert, which featured student musicians, as a high point. 

“There is this big desire on the Homewood campus for student music or music events in general, and the Spring Show really taught us that,” they said.

Fostering a community around music and arts is one of Adams and Stahl’s many goals for the year. Stahl explained how the duo hopes that the WJHU radio can be a place for students to decompress and share their passions. 

“The most exciting thing is when you see other Hopkins students interested in what you're interested in, and it makes it feel a lot less lonely,” they said. “This can be a really fun campus when given the opportunity to be and that shouldn't just be reserved for one weekend in the spring.”

Infusing campus with a sense of leisure was one reason Fenouil committed to reviving the station. Given the fact that many student organizations have a professional or academic focus, he saw the need for a club whose main purpose would be having fun. 

In addition to events like the Spring Show, WJHU hosts radio shows created by students on Spotify. Their current lineup includes “Pretend You’re Driving” hosted by Ema Nakayama and Arantza Garcia, which features playlists curated for specific activities like driving home or taking a hike, and “Greatest Podcast in America,” named after the slogan on benches around Baltimore city. 

In an interview with The News-Letter, Finance Director Ema Nakayama described how hosting a show for WJHU has pushed her out of her comfort zone and led to personal growth. 

“Both my co-host and I were pretty introverted — sometimes we're awkward at speaking and so the first time we recorded we were in the recording group for four hours and we got 10 minutes of usable talking,” she said. “Both of us realize how trying to record the shows has helped us feel more confident speaking and being more spontaneous.”

Adams described how WJHU provides creative liberty to members who want to produce content for the station. 

“In general, for the shows that we put out there's not really any set criteria,” she said. “The members who want a podcast, or want to host a show, do playlist curation or mixing... have all the freedom to do that.”

Beyond their own radio shows, WJHU hopes to connect Hopkins students with the greater Baltimore arts community. Adams and Stahl have already established a relationship with local venue Soundstage to review concerts.

“We've done three shows so far with [Soundstage],“ she said. “We're really excited to see where the connection goes.” 

One of the group’s long-term goals is to bring WJHU back to the airwaves, which will be an expensive and logistically challenging process. Stahl and Adams explained that the group has many ideas and is hoping to expand to fulfill them.

Programming Director Carlos Tenreiro-Braschi explained that this period of rebirth and growth is the best time to get involved in the club in an interview with The News-Letter. 

“It's a very quickly evolving club, and I think that's part of the fun,” he said. “The new members have been defining what they want to do with it.”

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