Coming to college there was really only one thing I wanted to do, and that was be on the radio. I’m originally from Larchmont, NY, a small suburb 30 minutes outside of New York City, the largest media market in the United States. I grew up immersed in the amazing radio stations I had access to and the DJ’s that filled the stations airwaves. From the sounds of New York’s Classic Rock on Q104.3 to World Class Rock on 107.1 the Peak to WFAN the Fan 660 AM, I was constantly amazed by how articulately the jocks could talk about music or sports, and how comforted I felt being able to lose myself to someone else’s playlist for however long I was in my car for. That’s why when I got to Indiana University, I knew the first thing I wanted to do was to find the college radio station, get involved, and hopefully, start creating that same feeling I had felt while listening to the radio at home to our listeners.
The night of the WIUX call-out meeting was the same night my dog was being put down. Unfortunately, this was an occasion that I could not fly home for, so I sulked in my classes and shed a few tears before my night class, Introduction to Sports Marketing. I remembered that the WIUX call-out was that night and luckily, it was in the same room as my night class. So, as my fellow classmates started to file out of Woodburn 100, I read the newspaper and patiently awaited an event that would change my life forever.
The WIUX board of 2011-2012 stood up in front of a two-thirds crowded room at Woodburn, all of them in a huddled row under the projector, as they individually spoke about their committees and laughed at each other’s jokes. Being a freshman, I thought they were the coolest group of people I had ever seen. They were all so tight with each other, witty, and most of all, passionate about what they did. I thought if I could ever be half as cool as they were, then I’d be happy. Then the kicker to the presentation happened. Andrew Olanoff, the Station Manager at the time, pulled up a picture of corgis and said, “Stop by the station, we have corgis.” The Board snickered up at the front at the picture of the adorable dogs, I, on the other hand literally thought there were corgis at the station. It wasn’t until the next year that I had figured out that every board has their own spirit animal (don’t ask me what ours is yet, I still don’t even know), and the corgi just happened to be this Board’s. After the meeting, I called my parents in excitement and told them everything, including the part about the dogs. I couldn’t remember the last time I left a meeting so excited and ready to get involved.
That weekend I probably spent a total of four collective hours on my DJ application (most likely because I had to fill it out twice because my computer erased it, but whatever). If you looked at my playlist from that first application, you would probably laugh, I know I would. I threw in some Destiny’s Child just to make sure I was being as hip as humanely possible. Really, who doesn’t love some old school jamz? Later that week, I received the unfortunate news that I had not gotten a show. I was crushed. But, as they say, “when one door closes, another one opens.” A few days later, I received an email from Tyler Stanage, the Programming Director at the time, that said people had dropped out of their shows and asked if I wanted any of the available times. I looked at the list, and thought, “Wow, 4 a.m. on a Friday. I only have one class that day, I’ll take it.” I emailed Tyler back and I was officially on the WIUX roster. I was one step closer to taking over the airwaves.
That Friday, I went to my first radio show at 4 a.m. I left Read at 3:10 a.m and biked over to 815 E. 8th Street, a building that would come to be a home for me throughout my collegiate years. I made it to the station by 3:30 and Tyler was there waiting for me, ready to train me on how to work all of the equipment. Obviously, I was nervous, but I was excited that I was finally going to get to debut a show that I thought had really great potential. My show has been “What’s The Word” since that first Friday morning broadcast. It’s inspired by Q104.3’s the 3 at 3 with Jim Kerr. Each week I pick a different word and play songs with that word in it. Tyler seemed amused enough by the idea, and I started my show. That first show was probably not the best anyone has ever heard. I took an air break after every song (a rookie mistake). Each week, I got better and felt more comfortable on-air. I was on my way to becoming like the jocks I admired from back home.
Throughout my first year as a DJ and a committee member on News and Sales and in my later years as the Social Media Director and Sales Manager, I gained skills that I never thought I would have. I learned how to conduct an interview properly, edit audio through Audition, how to make a sale, what goes into pricing a sponsorship, how to lead a group of sales representatives and have all of them make a sale, and more about the FCC than I would ever care to know. More importantly, than any of those tangible skills, I really learned what being a part of WIUX is all about.
WIUX is about the community that you create in a station of your peers (over 300 of them for this semester) that help you find your voice to speak on controversial issues impacting your fellow students. WIUX is about the creative freedom to speak on and play whatever you want (just no Top 40). WIUX is about working with your peers to solve problems because there are no adults present. WIUX is about finding what you are passionate about and pursuing it. But, most importantly, WIUX is about creating friendships with your fellow DJ’s and committee members. I’ve been fortunate enough to make some of my best friends because of WIUX. These people have served as a support system for me throughout my collegiate career and I am forever thankful for them.
Personally, a lot has changed for me at the station since that first 4 a.m. Friday morning show in September 2011. The two things that haven’t changed though, are the excitement I get every time I’m about to go on-air and the sense of community that can be found between the walls of one college radio station. So, thank you WIUX. I know I wouldn’t be who I am today without you.