Next year marks the first time since the 2004-05 school year that there will be a female general manager of WHRW. Taylor Mileski, a junior double-majoring in graphic design and sociology, was elected to serve as the 51st general manager of the station for the 2018-19 year.
This year, Mileski served as the station’s programming director, a role that will also be held by a woman next year, Mika Itkin-Weinstein. A junior double-majoring in English and history, Itkin-Weinstein is the current world director. She said that older women in the station inspired her early in her radio career.
“My first DJs inspired me a lot, which [were] Allie Young and Charlotte Crinnin,” Itkin-Weinstein said. “They were the people I was assigned to and they got me hooked on radio, so just knowing them — and also Taylor, 100 percent. Coming in, I was really intimidated by WHRW, but seeing Taylor, you know, be one of the head honchos, was such an awesome thing to see, and knowing that I could do that, too.”
Mileski has been involved with the station since her first semester freshman year and, like Itkin-Weinstein, said that WHRW has helped her become more confident.
“I was a completely different person when I joined for sure, like I would not talk to anyone,” Mileski said. “I was really nervous all the time, especially in social situations, so I would just go to my show and then do my little set and leave immediately after. That definitely changed when I became friends with the DJ I was paired with and … she really made me feel comfortable in the station.”
Mileski said that Carly Klein, ‘17, a former music director for WHRW, mentored and encouraged her to pursue station leadership. According to Mileski, even recently, the presence of women on the executive board has been increasing, accompanying a culture shift in the station that has fostered the involvement of younger female station members.
Itkin-Weinstein echoed this, saying that there are challenges facing women in the music industry, but that she is beginning to see the representation of women increase in the station and wants to extend that inclusion to other members of Binghamton University.
“It’s hard to enter new communities and I want WHRW to be a welcoming and accepting community and awesome safe space, which it definitely is, but I think it could be more open,” Itkin-Weinstein said. “It’s the best, most vibrant community I’ve been a part of at [BU]. They’re so accepting and so awesome and I just want to make that obvious to new members and make it as welcoming as possible.”
In recent years, women have been serving in more leadership positions in the station. In fall 2016, female members of WHRW created the “Women of WHRW” Facebook group in an effort to encourage women to seek some of the highest roles in the station. The description of the group reads, “Not sure what this group will be, but let’s figure out how to get women into leadership positions in WHRW. I can’t remember the last time there was a woman [programming director], [general manager] or [technical director] in WHRW, but we’re here and we’re qualified. Let’s figure it out, ladies.” The group, which is not officially a part of the station, has organized different networking and meetup events, which Itkin-Weinstein said she hopes to bring back next year.
Julia Carmel, a junior majoring in English, is the news director for WHRW, which falls under the station’s public affairs department.
“When I joined WHRW my freshman year, [general manager], [programming director] and [business manager] were all guys, and I remember most of the e-board being guys,” she said. “Isabella Castiglioni was really the only girl I remembered from the 2015-16 e-board and she was by far the most welcoming person on it. She would always invite apprentices to parties and events … I think the femme energy for next year is going to help WHRW create a more inclusive dynamic and bring in new people, which I’m super excited about.”