Oxide was off the air for the last few days of Michaelmas as technical problems were compounded by the untidiness of the studio environment.
The student radio station faced severe equipment problems from Friday of 7th week until Monday of 8th but during this time there were concerns over how the studio, a small room within the OUSU building, was being treated. Reports of the room being found filled with rubbish (particularly empty alcohol bottles) added to fears that the expensive equipment was being treated carelessly. These concerns were heightened when the studio was further damaged on Wednesday and left completely unusable, leaving the Oxide managers with little option but to suspend the last two days of broadcasting.
Sara Pridgeon, who co-edits the Oxford Theatre Review and regularly produces content inside the Oxide studio, expressed her frustration with the actions of other presenters. She told Cherwell that the incident was not a one-off but a particularly bad example of a common problem, indicating that she was “never surprised” by the room’s condition upon arriving for her show, even when this included broken equipment or scattered rubbish. She added, “Everyone at Oxide needs to do a lot better – we can’t actually produce shows or be taken seriously if we don’t respect our studio.”
Tuesday night presenter Andrew Seaton commented that the events were a “real shame,” adding, “Oxide is poorly funded compared to a lot of other societies and [the radio station’s] committees have worked hard to balance the books while attempting to maintain a functioning student radio station.” He later indicated that “this [was] a real setback,” since “things seemed to be getting better – especially in the new OUSU building.” He pointed out that presenters were usually the only ones around during broadcasts so the studio upkeep was very much a matter of personal responsibility.
Oxide Programme Controller Maggie Lund supported the conclusion that the damage pointed towards the thoughtlessness of individual presenters rather than vandalism. She commented that the Oxide community were “all just sad that a minority of presenters seem to treat the studio so carelessly despite using it every week to put out their show that they work hard on and care a lot about.”