By Matthew Beinart
Maryland’s campus radio station, WMUC 88.1 FM, recently ushered in a new class of DJs, including one student who uses his Israeli background to host the first ever all-Hebrew show.
Ofir Buchnik, a math and integrated education major originally from Tel Aviv, hosts “She Brew Hebrew” every Friday at 11 a.m.
“As long as it’s in Hebrew or in some Hebrew it can be played on the show,” said Buchnik, who has spent the better part of 10 years bouncing around the United States before settling at the University of Maryland.
Buchnik originally came to the United States as a tourist, and ended up living in Richmond, Va., for two years. He then moved to Minneapolis for a job for another year, soon heading to Los Angeles for a short while before returning to the east coast, and eventually settling at Maryland.
“Friends were like my family,” Buchnik said when discussing his decision to settle in the U.S. after leaving Israel for the last time. “I knew that if I didn’t take this possibility it would be an opportunity lost.”
At the beginning of this semester, Bunchnik attended StampFest, a showcase of different student activities on campus, where he stumbled upon the WMUC desk and met Operations Manager and Mechanical Engineering major Inna Lempert.
“I had no intention to start a show,” Buchnik said, who discovered the opportunity after taking a tour of the station with Lempert, and saying “why not?”
Settling on a common theme of Hebrew music, Bunchnik mentions that he chose “language over religion” while focusing on the unique culture of Israeli music.
“Ofir’s show…for instance, appeals to the large Jewish population at UMD and promotes Israeli music among the student body,” Lempert said.
While WMUC showcases all genres of music, up until now there hasn’t been an Israeli-centric show, let alone one entirely in Hebrew.
“If you have a deep knowledge of foreign music and would like to represent a unique cultural background, join WMUC and work on promoting diversity with us,” Lempert said, who emphasized the inclusive nature of the channel’s programming.
Bunchnik, who is easing into his newfound role as a radio DJ says he’s getting more and more and comfortable behind the board on each show.
“Efrat Gosh, Arik Einstein, Rona Kenan,” Buchnik mentions as possible Israeli artists the audience can expect when tuning, but if anyone listening has suggestions he’s willing to play them all.