For the first time since 1994, Harvard’s non-profit radio broadcasting station WHRB 95.3 FM filled the airwaves yesterday with 90 minutes of live coverage of the midterm elections.
Two WHRB correspondents reported live from the Cambridge headquarters of gubernatorial candidates Shannon P. O’Brien (D) and W. Mitt Romney (R), as well as from the headquarters of the Democratic and Republican National Committees in Washington, D.C.
According to Scott L. Jones ’05, co-anchor of WHRB, the special program is the most extensive election coverage since a similar undertaking by the station in 1994.
“This attempt to provide a broad, comprehensive account of the mid-term elections is something none of the current reporters or anchors have experienced. It was something we thought would be interesting to coordinate again,” Jones said.
While WHRB’s live correspondents told listeners of the charged atmosphere of the campaign headquarters on election night, the anchors remained in their studio in the basement of Pennypacker Hall.
Among their live interview subjects were former Boston City Councilor Lawrence DiCara and former presidential candidate Gary Hart. Representatives from the Harvard Democrat Club and the Harvard Republican Club were on hand to question the guests.
According to Leslie Bishop ’05, who was stationed at Romney’s Cambridge headquarters, the use of off-campus correspondents sought to convey to listeners the last-minute tensions experienced by intensely-watched, close campaigns.
“We wanted to give listeners a play-by-play of campaigns as election night came to a close—to disclose to them the feelings of each candidate’s supporters and the last minute rallying tactics being used,” Bishop said.
WHRB’s increased scope of its election night coverage was financed in part by a grant from the Kennedy School of Government’s Institute of Politics (IOP). Stationing a remote studio at the IOP last night, WHRB reporters spoke with panels of IOP guest political analysts about the election results, focusing on the local governor’s race.
Because of the extensiveness of the live election coverage, Jones and his co-anchor Raphael S.N. Nemes ’05 also conducted a broad advertising campaign on the air and with flyers posted in Cambridge and Boston.
Though he couldn’t give a definite estimate of the number of listeners who tuned in, Jones said the station has an estimated base listernership of 40,000.