I used to hate the radio.
True, the D.C.-metro area is notorious for broadcasting some of the worst programs (example A: Hot 99.5) in the country, so my dislike the radio wasn’t so far-fetched. Since I got my first iPod and the world of iTunes, (and later limewire and bitorrents and youtube and spotify) opened my ears up to the seemingly never-ending plethora of music, music has helped me form my own identity and make a place for myself.
There’s nothing scarier than not liking what everyone else likes when you’re a girl between the ages of 11-17. I have a distinct memory from sixth grade of sitting on the bus going to school one morning, listening to my metallic blue iPod mini and once the bus pulled in front of the school, I quickly rolled my finger around that ubiquitous white wheel to find Kanye’s “Gold Digger,” easily the most popular song at Robert Frost Middle School in 2006. The music I was listening to before was a part of my identity as an 11-year-old, but I wasn’t necessarily ready to share that with everyone else, lest i be ~different~ The irony is, that today, Kanye’s music is probably a larger part of my music identity than whatever whiney emo-ish song I was listening to on the bus that morning.
By the time I reached high school, I was beginning to accept my “weird” (i.e. not Top 40) taste in music. Not too many girls on the 2011 JV field hockey team got pumped up to play (sit on the bench) by listening to Death Cab For Cutie, Something Corporate and whatever else I listened to in my waning days of emo/pop punk, but I did. These were the days of avoiding my honors U.S. history homework, and instead browsing Limewire to find some variation of Punk Goes Pop Volume IV. I didn’t do as well in school as I should have but at least I snatched that copy of Yellowcard covering “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.”
In an interview with Buzzfeed, Andrew McMahon of Something Corporate, Jack’s Mannequin and as of most recently, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness (I’m not embarrassed to say that he’s been my favorite artist since about 2007), said “who loves music more than high school kids?”
For the most part this is true. For most of us at WIUX, we have a song or an album that instantly takes us back to a moment in high school, and most of us truly fell in love with music during those years in hell (high school). I remember when Death Cab’s Codes and Keys came out in May 2011. I was so excited to finally listen to the album that I drove to Target after school to buy the CD. I mean I had a blackberry at the time and I didn’t have any way to play music from my iPod in my car so I guess it made sense that I bought a CD. But still, it was 2011 and I bought a CD, I really wanted to listen to this album. After popping the CD into the CD player in the car, I rolled down my windows and blasted Ben Gibbard’s voice through my absolutely terrible car speakers, just as any other 16-year-old would do. It was a beautiful, sunny, warm May afternoon that I will never forget.
I still hated the radio, but I loved music. Eventually though, that changed. Obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t be here, in the station, writing this.
So yeah, spoiler alert, I no longer hate radio. I love radio. I love talking on the radio, I love telling the weather, I love blasting music and spinning around in the spinny chairs by myself. I love interviewing bands on the phone, I love bands coming in for in studio performances, I love making the perfect playlist.
I love college radio because it encompasses everything I am so passionate. It encourages me to continue to figure out who I am. I’m constantly surrounded by people who have also found themselves through music; people that don’t make me feel like a loser for not listening to “Gold Digger.”
Happy college radio day WIUX!