Owen Stiftar shares personal account of running 88.9

Senior credits Bob Long, experience in station, with acceptance into OU’s sports broadcasting program


Photo by Amanda Ruffo

Senior Owen Stiftar works as operations manager in the school’s radio station, 88.9, The Alternation.

For the last two years, I’ve been the operations manager at 88.9 The Alternation. Unfortunately for me, with college just months away, my time is almost up. I got accepted into Ohio University as a first-generation college student for sports broadcasting.

I moved from Cleveland to Streetsboro early in my academic career and let’s just say it’s been more than I could’ve asked for. I am beyond thankful for my time here, especially in the radio station we have here at Streetsboro High School. Not every school has a radio station so I definitely got lucky there, but it has helped me pursue my dream of becoming a professional sports broadcaster. Attending Ohio University will — without a doubt — help me achieve that. 

But being the person I am, believing everything happens for a reason, who knows? If Streetsboro didn’t have this radio station, where would I be today? Regardless, I’m beyond blessed to break the trend in my family’s name of not attending college, and more so, excited for what the future holds.

The studios of 88.9, The Alternation, have been a home to senior Owen Stiftar while he has been a student here at SHS. Stiftar credits station manager and broadcasting teacher Bob Long with his growth and success in radio. “Long has opened multiple doors and helped unlock some potential in me I didn’t even know I had, which is saying a lot,” he said. (Photo by Amanda Ruffo)

Nevertheless, my role as operations manager has taught me a lot. The main thing is the skill of pondering, asking myself three questions each and every night: 

What went right today?

What went wrong?  

How can I get better? 

These three questions, believe it or not,  helped me become a better leader as I’ve strived to become just one percent better each and every day. I’ve learned to have the mind of a creator, playing this four-dimensional game that we call “life,” the right way. 

I felt that getting right with my faith, relationships, energy, and economics would not only help me become a better person, but a better leader at that. 

I was beyond excited to be chosen for the position just about two years ago, and what made it even better was being personally selected by the general manager himself, Bob Long. 

Long has opened multiple doors and helped unlock some potential in me I didn’t even know I had, which is saying a lot. 

My position required two traits out of me: strategy and patience. I’ve had to make the on-air schedules, but at the same time work around all the staffers’ individual schedules as best I could. Especially in the summer, it can be difficult to reach staffers, but I learned to be patient and continue to work with them. Few things ever go as planned, so a great strategy with multiple backup plans was necessary for the station to run efficiently. 

The absolute worst thing I could’ve done in a position like this is to become stressed out or panic, especially when 20 staffers and 25,000 listeners are depending on me. So by remaining patient and developing a strong plan, I feel I was able to excel in the position of operations manager.

A couple of other quick things the position requires is to represent the station in/out of school. Being in the highest position of power, I am aware that my actions reflect on the station, so I’m always trying my best to represent the station to the best of my ability. Now, as a station, we hold two monthly staff meetings, the regular one that every staffer attends, and one with ExCom. ExCom is composed of the seven leadership positions that help run the station, of course headed by myself, but we all have unique tasks that help the station progress in a certain way.

If anyone reading this is wondering how to join radio, it’s very simple. Pass the class Broadcast I to get your name into a pool of others with the same intentions to join radio. ExCom will then go through a selection process to determine who is best fit to fill the open positions.

It may sound cliche, but there’s nothing like the radio station. The camaraderie and culture within the station is unmatched, which is truly why I’ve enjoyed it so much. I highly encourage any/all to join because I’ve been here for two years and I don’t regret a single moment of it. 

This will be hard to let go of in May, but I know the next group of staffers will continue on and make not only Bob proud, but me as well. I guess it’s only right to finish this the same way I finish every show: “Keep persevering, keep pushing for your goals. This is DJ OT signing off right here on 88.9 The Alternation.”