Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Silly Adventure in College Radio

Just now, I was listening to a webcast of a radio show hosted by some current students of my college alma mater, William Woods University. Both of the hosts are current members of my old fraternity, Phi Gamma Delta, and I called the station using my silly Bugs Bunny impression to request a song. They played it. I called again admitting my identity, and shared a story with them that they relayed, and that I’d like to share with everyone else.

The year was 2006. I had already done the WWU radio class 2 years prior, with my own “Mighty Matt Show” and my contributions to the “C.P. and Flauaus” comedy show. We were all accused of a “Fiji takeover agenda”, we all got busted for being too edgy, but in the end, we all got an “A” in the class, and the shows are still fondly remembered.

My ’06 revival of “Mighty Matt” was a hit with friends on campus, but not so well-received by the then-current radio professor, and my inability to sell sponsorship for it lead me to a grade so bad I had to take a dance class to graduate. The less said about that, the better.

Grades aside, though, one aspect of my 2006 re-entry into college radio worked quite well. Perhaps not for my grade, but for show quality. I was an art major and always toiling away on some drawing, graphic design or painting project after hours anyway, so when my friend asked me to join her on her late-night radio show in the same building that imprisoned me, I jumped at the chance. She was dating my recently-graduated fraternity Brother at the time, was hysterically funny, and a huge music fan. We were (and still are) good friends, so the chemistry worked. To this day, I wish I had even a single recording of it. Her show differed a bit from my own, though, because she liked to play songs by jam bands that often exceeded 11 minutes.

11-minute songs worked fine for us, because halfway through an hour-long radio show, we wanted a break. So we’d pop in a lengthy song by a band called Widespread Panic and sneak out the back door of the arts building to engage in a conversation, a smoke and/or some caffeine. I’d wedge my wallet in the door so we wouldn’t get locked out.

One night, this routine ran into a problem: the wallet slipped out of the door. Fearing the worst, (dead air on the radio and ruined photography class prints) we had to flag down a security guard to let us back into the building.

After some begging and pleading, the day was saved. The punch line? When we finally got back to the studio, fearing the worst (dead air), the song was STILL PLAYING. On top of that, my photos had developed just fine.

These days, everyone in this story is forgotten, married, or involved in something awesome that doesn’t involve college radio or art. But I’ll never forget it. WWU radio, both times I did it, was fun…and through it, in many ways, I found my voice.

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