Student fosters community bonds through radio

Junior Andy Hogan is like many any other Geneseo students: hardworking, down-to-earth and eager to share his own unique voice and opinions with others. The difference between Hogan and many of his peers, however, is that this voice is able to extend past the barriers of face-to-face conversation. Hogan works for Geneseo’s student-run radio station WGSU and also has his own podcast: “What Was I Saying?”

WGSU is the first radio station Hogan has ever worked for. Hogan expressed his appreciation for WGSU faculty director and professor of communication Michael Saffran, who allows WGSU staff members to have creative control over their shows. 

Hogan explained that he first started out doing a segment called “Meet the Professors” on the Saturday morning “Geneseo Today” segment, conducting interviews in an attempt to humanize professors and to break the barriers of the student-teacher hierarchy. Hogan added that some interviews focused on the professors’ lives on campus, while others spotlighted the extensive research they might be doing and any work they may be doing away from school.

He attributed the original idea for this segment to his own struggles with learning in the classroom. Hogan said it was easier to learn when he could relate to the professor. “I think when you can make a human connection with your professor, it fosters better learning,” Hogan said.

His show on WGSU has since expanded to include other members of the Geneseo-Rochester community like Sponsored Research Associate and Geneseo Recognizing Excellence, Achievement and Talent Coordinator Patty Hamilton-Rodgers ‘85. Hogan added that he wants to focus on topics in and around the Geneseo-Rochester community, spotlighting the passionate and talented individuals in the area in order to foster a better connection with the people of the community.

“I get to talk to so many interesting people; it’s a platform that if I didn’t have, I’d be missing out on so many opportunities,” Hogan said.

When he’s not at WGSU, Hogan runs his podcast with co-host Paris Petters, working under a mission statement explaining that they are “two guys talking about life in their 20s and providing a platform for passionate people, one week at a time.” Hogan and Petters use the podcast as a platform to not only express their own unique perspectives, but also to interview exceptional individuals in the community as well.

“One day we might start talking about coffee and end on [a conversation about] ISIS,” Hogan said. They’ve had many guests on their show, from up and coming rap artist Midnight to NBC’s “The Voice” contestant and Rochester native Abby Celso.

Hogan noted that his activity in radio is a fairly recent development, but his initial interest in the field was influenced by Gregg “Opie” Hughes from “Opie and Anthony”—a radio talk show on Sirius Satellite Radio—and by Rochester radio show personality Alan Levin, also know as Brother Wease.

Hogan never thought he’d want to pursue a career in radio—Hogan actually came to Geneseo as an education major. Like many other students, however, he soon realized that it wasn’t the profession for him and after settling down with psychology, he realized his true passion for working on radio.

“Taking [psychology] classes has really made me aware that everyone is different,” he said. “Everyone is weird in their own respect—in a good way or bad way—and you’ve got to roll with the punches.” Hogan said. Hogan added that he strives to apply lessons such as this when working at WGSU and on his podcast.

It’s a hard task to balance WGSU, WWIS, schoolwork and other extracurricular activities, but Hogan is clearly dedicated, passionate and up for the task.

“If I can inspire or educate people through radio, that would be enough for me to say I did something that was worth it,” Hogan said.

Hogan added that he truly enjoys the work he does for the radio and podcast. “It’s been a really good opportunity capitalizing on something I’m passionate about,” he said.

While he recognized that making a career out of his extracurricular may be a hard task, Hogan emphasized that he ready and willing to take the risk in making it his life.

“If you’re not passionate in what you want to pursue, it’s not going to work out,” he said. “There [are] people who say, ‘I have my hobbies and I have my career.’ I want my hobbies and interests to be my career.”