OSWEGO — A new monthly Oswego Alumni Podcast, a partnership between SUNY Oswego’s Alumni Association and student-run WNYO radio, collects stories and recollections from alumni spanning the decades.
The debut May episode looked back a half-century to the first Earth Day and related topics, with 1970 graduate Ken Froebig and 1972 graduate Greg Loan.
The June episode featured May graduate Mike Russo, a former chief of the Student Association Volunteer Ambulance Corps who is now a Long Island emergency medical technician.
The new July episode features an alumni couple in 2005 graduate Gabriel Almanzar, supervising art director for “CBS This Morning,” and 2006 graduate Aida Morales-Almanzar, president at Eastern School of Acupuncture and Traditional Medicine.
The Oswego Alumni Podcast is hosted by SUNY Oswego May graduate Carl Neff, the former general manager of WNYO, who speaks with alumni from a diverse range of backgrounds, spanning across several decades, career fields and interests to discuss their experiences at Oswego and life after graduation.
Stephanie Lamb, Oswego Alumni Association senior associate alumni director, said the idea of a podcast featuring Oswego alumni is something the Alumni and Development team has discussed in recent years but the need for new and innovative ways to stay connected with the alumni community -- and finding willing partners in WNYO -- made the timing right.
“I had suggested that we connect with WNYO to see if they might be interested in partnering on something,” Lamb said. “We thought that they might have a much better handle on what it would take to pull this off given their experience in broadcasting and radio, and that from our end, we could really play a key role in bringing the alumni to the table to participate.”
Planning sessions with Neff and Jenn Robilotto, who is taking over the GM role, proved very productive.
“Jenn and I thought this was a great idea that could grow into something so much more,” Neff said. “I then accepted the offer and worked on building the foundations of the podcast before we went right into interviews. The goal of the podcast is to connect alumni back with Oswego, as well as make current and future students feel more connected to the alumni too.”
Lamb has been recruiting alumni for the podcast, although anybody who wants to nominate an alum or volunteer to be a future guest can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I feel once the podcast grows, more alumni will just be reaching out to us and we will have tons of interviews to do,” Neff said.
The podcast debuted in May, about a week after the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day, with Froebig and Loan chatting about their time at Oswego, including burying of a DeSoto on that first Earth Day to protest environmental pollution, their experiences as college students during the Vietnam War era and other recollections.
For the June edition, Russo discussed “how his time as chief of SAVAC at Oswego prepared him as a first responder during a global pandemic, as well as what it’s been like to graduate during this unprecedented time,” Lamb said.
“Our alumni have truly done so many amazing things and it’s our honor to be able to provide this additional opportunity for them to tell their stories,” Lamb noted. “My favorite part is by far hearing from our alumni as they each share their unique experiences as students and as post-grads. It is an honor to be able to bring their stories to a larger audience of alumni, students and friends and to highlight the incredible alumni at Oswego.”
Producing the podcast — from pre-interviews and preparation to the interview to editing and post-production — is a lot of work, but Neff thinks connecting with alumni has made it a worthy project.
“Though we all may come from different places and are heading down different roads, we are all alumni from Oswego,” Neff said. “Whether we graduated in the ‘70s or just recently, as soon as you graduate you are now alumni of Oswego. And that is something that has not only made me passionate about this podcast, but even more so about being an alum of Oswego. Everyone is different and unique in their own way, but what brings everyone surrounding this podcast together is SUNY Oswego. And that is a wonderful feeling.”
The hard work of the WNYO team, which also includes May graduate Giovany Brice doing voiceovers, has impressed Lamb and everybody else working on the project.
“Carl and Jenn, as representatives of WNYO, have truly been amazing partners in the project, and they have worked very hard in helping us to turn this idea into reality,” Lamb said. “Their level of professionalism and expertise through the process has been so impressive and it’s always a great opportunity when we can work with our students and student organizations on campus.”
To hear existing podcasts on Anchor, visit https://anchor.fm/oswego-alumni-podcast. The podcast is available on Spotify as well.