‘High Noon Friday’ celebrates reaching the big 4-0

Roger Coda
The “High Noon Friday” crew (from left):  Isabella Inzinna, Hunter Halterman, Chloe Kowalyk

The “High Noon Friday” crew (from left):  Isabella Inzinna, Hunter Halterman and Chloe Kowalyk.

With the media landscape changing at an ever-increasing rate, it’s remarkable when a radio program stays on the air long enough to mark a 40th anniversary. 

Such an achievement is a rarity in both college radio and commercial radio, but that’s exactly what will take place this week as Fredonia Radio Systems (FRS) celebrates the 40th anniversary of “High Noon Friday.” 

At the helm of this year’s edition of FRS’s longest-running variety program are Hunter Halterman (general manager of FRS), Chloe Kowalyk (station manager) and Isabella “Izzie” Inzinna (assistant to the station’s program and production directors). Mr. Halterman and Ms. Kowalyk, both seniors, are executive producers of “High Noon Friday” (HNF) and co-hosts. Ms. Inzinna, a sophomore, carries out board operating duties.

“When we considered a mid-day program, the word ‘noon’ summoned up the memory of the 1952 movie ‘High Noon.’ So, when the day of the week is added, you've got a nice internal rhyme in the phrase ‘High Noon Friday.’” – Professor Emeritus Dan Berggren

How does HNF stay relevant?

“I would say that ‘High Noon Friday’ has managed to thrive after 40 years because of all of the creative and new ideas both ourselves, as producers, bring to the show, but also all of the new ideas students who are members of FRS bring to us,” explained Kowalyk. She is majoring in Communication: Journalism and Psychology with minors in English and Political Science, and is from Buffalo, NY.

“We often have students and community members ask to be guests on ‘High Noon Friday’ for interviews, or they contribute some really unique segments. I think that the amount of creativity and teamwork involved in the show depicts how passionate people are about keeping the legacy of ‘High Noon Friday’ going for years to come,” Kowalyk said.

It’s really a community-made show, adds Halterman, who is majoring in Communication: Audio/Radio and Communication: Video, with a minor in Business Administration, and is from Salamanca, NY. “There are a lot of hands in it.” 

As a member of the Communication department, Professor Emeritus Dan Berggren was affiliated with FRS throughout his SUNY Fredonia tenure, from 1977 to 2006. He recognized the potential of the variety program as a real-world experience for students, and he made it a part of his teaching. As the station’s faculty advisor and executive director of HNF, he selected the show’s producers each semester and gave them guidance, support and valuable feedback. 

“I'd like to think that since I retired, not only did subsequent audio/radio faculty also see that potential, but that the students themselves saw older students learning, doing, enjoying the program – and wanted to be part of that the next semester, the next year,” said Mr. Berggren.

“They can be a part of something bigger than themselves – something that was going on before they came and continues after they graduate, just like the station itself,” he added.

So how did “High Noon Friday” get its name?

“When we considered a mid-day program, the word ‘noon’ summoned up the memory of the 1952 movie ‘High Noon.’ So, when the day of the week is added, you've got a nice internal rhyme in the phrase ‘High Noon Friday,’” explained Berggren, who’s also a songwriter and enjoys wordplay and rhyme.

From the very beginning, the program’s goals were to provide the community at large with public service programming; provide all students with opportunities for experience in producing an on-going magazine format program and all that entails; and to provide faculty and administrators with a voice for their interests and concerns.

With the exception of the COVID pandemic, HNF has always aired live. Segments of shows were prerecorded, often elsewhere, during COVID, but the full program still aired every week.

To mark HNF’s anniversary, the team will host an appropriately themed “Rock ʼn Skate” in the Steele Hall Ice Arena on Friday, Feb. 23, from 7 to 9 p.m.

“This year is special because High Noon Friday started in the ’80s, so we are hosting the event as a High Noon Friday event with an ’80s theme to commemorate the anniversary,” said Inzinna, who is majoring in Communication: Audio/Radio and Communication: Journalism, with  and a minor in Creative Writing. She is from Massapequa Park, NY.

Students are invited to dress in the ʼ80s theme. There’ll be ice skating, of course, along with a variety of activities outside of the rink, with music, CD sales and a light show.

The HNF crew will air highlights of a recent interview they had with Berggren on the Friday, Feb. 23 show. The full interview can be heard on the Fredonia Radio Systems’ YouTube channel.

HNF’s format covers all the bases: campus news by Halterman and Kowalyk; local news by Lee Pye; national and international by Josh Ribakove, who also does a unique “Word of the Week” feature devoted to seldom heard words; sports by Matt Volz; and a weather forecast by Sara Lodespoto.

There are also individual segments, compiled by students in audio production classes or FRS staff. Another feature, “A Little Lo-Down,” presents brief clips of long-form interviews with local artists that can be heard on “The Local Lo-Down,” a showcase of the local and western New York music scenes.

The HNF team concludes each show by engaging in a lively round of trivia.

“Just the Facts,” a comedy talk show that featured a different topic each week, completed its three-year run in 2023, following the graduation of Alex Erwin, who shared hosting duties with Halterman and Kowalyk and now works in promotions for WBAB 102.3 and WBLI 106.1, part of a media group on Long Island, NY.

One of the more unusual HNF segments was a remote broadcast of a tree planting ceremony for Arbor Day in 1986, recalled Inzinna. Then-President Donald A. MacPhee had the honor of raising the first shovel of dirt, Halterman noted, and a microphone had been placed in the bottom of the hole. FRS studios were in nearby Gregory Hall at that time.

The HNF trio points to Kenny Haller, a SUNY Fredonia graduate who’s become a popular social media personality and a TikTok content creator best known for his self-titled account, as the biggest celebrity ever interviewed on the show. Another noteworthy interview was Athanasia Landis, a former mayor of the Village of Fredonia.

Kowalyk said she’s “honored to be part of “High Noon Friday.’”

“I’m looking forward to see where it goes in the future,” Halterman added.
Inzinna, is “just happy to be able to be involved with the radio stations, especially High Noon Friday, and I’m excited to continue to be a part of it.”

You May Also Like

FRS delivers Rockin’ the Commons funds to Roswell Park

Marketing and Communications staff

Fredonia Radio Systems’ eboard took a very important road trip to Buffalo, NY, to deliver a $1,445 check, representing proceeds raised at this year’s Rockin’ the Commons, to Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.