WYCE Programmer Hall of Fame: Oscar Zuniga

posted by Matt Jarrells on 02/06/2017

2017 marks the 30th Anniversary of WYCE! In celebration of the hundreds of volunteer programmers who make it all possible, we are establishing the WYCE Programmer Hall of Fame. Join us at Jammies XVIII as we honor our first four inductees.

Oscar Zuniga:

Many may know that Oscar’s was the first voice broadcast on WYCE in its current format under the Community Media Center's Friends of WYCE committee in 1987. However, when asked how he came to Community Media Center's radio station WYCE, it turns out he was already here.  According to the man himself, his tenure extends back through the chain of broadcast outlets administered by Wyoming Public Schools and Wyoming Community Education as far as January of 1979. Though he had previously broadcast on other stations, including WMIX and WKJR, WYCE and it’s precedents were his first non commercial gig.

While Oscar doesn’t espouse a particular philosophy with regard to his programming, according to his son Richard, “He just thinks it’s a good idea to be kind to people, because it all comes back around, you know?”  In addition, his work ethic speaks for itself, since he did seven days a week for many years.  While he is on three days a week these days, having handed four days off to his protegees over the last few years, he intends to continue as long as his health permits.  Pretty good for a guy pushing 90!

Asked to recall some particularly memorable events from his time at WYCE, he mentioned a time when accompanied by Dirk Koning, he interviewed Governor Granholm and another time when an I.C.E. officer named Strong came in to discuss the federal immigration amnesty.  Who knew Oscar did public affairs reporting and interviews?

Show preparation is less about worrying about the details and more about trusting his experience.  It is as he says, “All out of the old pumpkin.”  He also described his manner of speaking as, “Not so precise, because I’m a real person.”

When asked if there is anything else he’d like us to know, Oscar reports that he receives calls from Mexico, as well as Grand Rapids transplants from all over, including California.

In 30 years the primary change in Oscar’s show is, as one might guess, in the way the audience participates.  These days there are fewer phone calls, replaced presumably by electronic communication.  Some things however, never change.  Don’t tune in for political talk and don’t call for legal advice.  You won’t get either.

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