Feb. 6, 2013

Keith Olbermann '79 helps WVBR move to new digs

The student-run independent radio station WVBR-FM will have a bigger, more functional home this fall, helped by a gift from one of its best-known alumni, Keith Olbermann ’79.

Substantial support from the political commentator and sportscaster to the Cornell Media Guild, the independent entity that owns and operates WVBR and Cornellradio.com, has aided in the purchase of 604 E. Buffalo St. WVBR’s current home near East Hill Plaza, a mile from campus, is difficult for students to access and too small for their needs.

The newly purchased building in the Collegetown area is twice the size of their current headquarters, which they have rented from the New York Holstein Association since 2000, said Drew Endick ’14, general manager of WVBR and president of the Cornell Media Guild.

“We will really utilize this space to expand into multimedia capabilities that most radio stations are using today,” Endick said. Furthermore, Cornellradio.com, the station’s Internet operation, will now have its own dedicated studio instead of just a curtain and a desk, Endick said. Among other amenities: two modern, professional, soundproof studios for live broadcasts; a multifunctional space for broadcasting and recording live performances; and audio and video production editing suites.

The new headquarters will be called Olbermann-Corneliess Studios, named for Olbermann’s late father, Theodore Olbermann, and for Keith Olbermann’s friend and former colleague at WVBR, Glenn Corneliess ‘79, who died in 1996 at the age of 39.

“Everything I have began at WVBR, and I’m honored to help future generations of broadcasters who’ll be able to gratefully say the same thing,” said Olbermann, who presented the gift at a Jan. 10 dinner in New York. “It’s also an honor to again be able to pay tribute to my late friend Glenn Corneliess.”

The students, who are in the midst of a $935,000 capital campaign, plan to move to the new building in the fall. Endick said many alumni besides Olbermann have been active in helping them raise funds, for which the students are also extremely grateful.

“There is also a lot of support coming from the entire alumni base,” Endick said.

Olbermann, whose campus visits usually include a trip to WVBR, continues to serve as a role model for students who want to go into broadcasting, Endick said. “He’s proof you can go into a successful career stemming from WVBR.”