By Maheen Ahmed
Naomi Arenberg has been teaching radio broadcasting courses at Cape Cod Community College (4Cs) since the fall of 2012 and has been the general manager of the on-campus radio station, WKKL (90.7 FM), for over two years.
“As General Manager, I make this place a safe place for students to get to know each other and to come to talk to me,” said Arenberg. “I think that’s a critical component on any campus, in particular a community college, where people come and go.”
Arenberg grew up in a rural town in southeastern Massachusetts where she joked that “allegedly there were more cows than people.”
Her passion for radio began at the age of 13 when she was involved in a serious car accident that caused her to be thrown out of the car’s windshield. This event limited her to bedrest, and she was instructed not to use her eyes. Instead, Arenberg took her father’s radio and stayed in bed, listening to it for hours until she was no longer bedridden.
“The radio was my closest companion,” Arenberg said. “I was already involved in vocal music; the whole world of sound was interesting to me. I was a total devotee of radio after that experience.”
She imagines that if it had not been for that accident, she wouldn’t be involved with music today.
“What I should have gone into was journalism, because that gives you the license to explore, depending on where you are, everything,” Arenberg said. “And I am interested in almost everything, but I didn’t think of that until way after college.”
Arenberg graduated from Harvard University, having spent three years in the linguistic department. In her last year, she designed her own major, a degree in special concentrations.
“What I studied was the parallels in the acquisition of music skills and language skills, and how that can be applied through various therapies, like music and speech therapy,” Arenberg explained.
Arenberg also has a master’s degree in education, from when she had decided to explore her desire to teach high school biology.
Arenberg has had a range of different careers throughout her life.
“I was in the coffee specialty business for a while,” she said. “I was torn between a number of career paths, including medicine, teaching high school biology, and music. I am a singer.”
Arenberg was supporting her husband and herself, working as a waitress and a figure model, two or three jobs a day and rehearsals at night until she decided she had enough and wanted just one full-time job.
“In the fields of journalism and radio, you are judged according to what you can do. You are expected to have a high school diploma or a college diploma, but beyond that, you are judged on what you can do,” Arenberg explained. “When a teaching job became available, I was probably the only one who knocked on the door with credentials, experience in the field and a master’s degree in education.”
Dominic Fucile is one Arenberg’s students here at 4Cs. He appreciates her both as a professor as well as a mentor.
“She is absolutely one of my inspirations as a student here at 4Cs,” said Fucile. “She’s helped direct me in so many of the things I’ve been doing. I’ve taken more or less all of the classes that she offers here. She’s just always given me great advice whenever I need it.”
The News Director for WKKL, Eileen Preston described their relationship as “lovely” and explained how Arenberg is always trying to make the station better, which in turn helps Preston become better in her position.
In the past, Preston had taken her radio production course, “which was rather technical, but [Arenberg] made it very understandable.”
With this newfound knowledge surrounding radio production, Preston found herself having more confidence in the broadcasts she was producing, whether on her own or as a part of a team.
Both Preston and Fucile recommend taking a class with Naomi Arenberg. Not only is it said to be fun, but it also offers the opportunity to learn from a woman with a strong educational and professional background.
“Naomi’s radio experience has made her a champion listener,” expressed Preston. “Which translates into not just a great teacher, but a great person.”