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Today was my fourth Music for the Masses show and being in the studio is starting to feel much more comfortable to me. My first show back in the start of this quarter was nerve-wracking and challenged my ability to multi-task: in a short three minute period of time, I had to load up the next song, answer the phone to take a request, run to the music library to try to find said requested song, enter in the artist and album information into the web playlist, and cue up the next public service announcement. Certainly being a radio DJ has given me a whole new awareness of how fast time is, really. Two hours sitting in a classroom is tormenting; two hours in the studio a flash.

I have narrowed down a list of areas I would like to improve on in the next few days:

1. Speaking on the air! During my two hour show, I only talk to say the legal ID (KUGS FM Bellingham), read the required PSAs and list off the concert calendar. I want to be able to adlib, talk about new artists, and have an on-air personality. If I have a regular weekly show, I want audience members to feel like they know me from the other Music for the Masses DJs

Action Plan:

a. My action plan is to start researching artists ahead of time to find interesting facts or short bios to share with listeners

b. Find a few topics or talking points related to music ahead of time to mention on air in case I can’t think of anything on the spot to say (for example, “This morning it was announced The Police will be reuniting to perform at The Grammy Awards on Feb. 11, inciting more speculation that they will soon announce a reunion tour across North America and Europe”)

c. Make attempts to get out of my comfort zone by speaking after every 3-4 songs (“You just heard “Sisters O Sisters” from Yoko Ono’s new album Yes, I am a Witch. Ono teamed up with Le Tigre and many other artists for this album…” or whatever)

d. Practice in the production studio to avoid the “p” explosion sound and to rehearse song introductions, how to pronounce artist names, and generally become more comfortable transitioning between tracks and the microphone

2. Diversifying my playlist. “The Wall” (see Terminology) selection has not changed drastically in the past few weeks and I find myself playing certain songs every week. I want to try to mix up my playlist, listen to new artists or new songs off a particular album, and try to select songs from genres I do not have a lot of knowledge in. I tend to choose from albums or artists described as “indie rock,” “glam”, “indie pop”, etc. and somewhat ignore rap, folk, soul, and local artists on the wall. Those who listen to Music for the Masses expect an eclectic array of artists and genres and so I would like to challenge myself to explore new styles and not to judge an album by its label or cover.

Action plan:

a) In addition to the required one hour of preparation before a show, I will spend some more time tracking artists I am unfamiliar with, previewing tracks from artists of different genres, and commit myself to including 4-5 songs a show to these new forms and styles.

b) Ask friends with different musical taste for suggestions and recommendations

c) Make an effort to ask for requests on air from listeners (“If you have any requests, call 650-KUGS”)

d) Examine College Music Journal charts for rising artists that I might have overlooked

3. Learn to use the LP Player. Shames of all shames, I have never used a record LP player before. I know, I know! Please do not tell anyone! The KUGS music library only has albums on CDs from 1992-ish and on (unless reissued or re-released) so if I want to play something released prior to the 1990s, I have to play them on vinyl. But because I have no idea how to play a record, I cannot access literally hundreds of albums.

Action plan:

a) Ask Jamie Hoover, the KUGS Program Manager or KUGS Director Cory Watkins to teach me how to use the LP player and hope they do not ridicule me for my ignorance

b) Practice in the production studio selecting tracks and handling records

These are my goals for next week’s show on Tuesday morning from 10 – 12 p.m. on 89.3 FM Bellingham or and I will update again about my hopeful progress then.


AM (Amplitude Modulation) Broadcasting: Radio broadcasting using Amplitude Modulation. Because of its susceptibility to atmospheric interference and generally lower-fidelity sound, AM broadcasting is better suited to talk radio and news programming, while music radio and public radio mostly shifted to FM broadcasting in the late 1960s.

Carrier Current: A method of low power AM broadcasting that is generally not licensed in the United States, but is allowed on the campus of any school. This is one method used for college and high school radio, particularly if the signal is only intended to be picked up in a small area. Carrier current stations generally only have an effective radiated power of a few watts. Many established college radio stations originally began as carrier current stations. While the technology is still used by a number of student-run stations today, the popularity declined beginning in the 1980s, as popular music radio formats quickly migrated to the FM band. The popularity of streaming audio over the Internet has hastened this decline.

Commercial broadcasting is the practice of broadcasting for profit. This is normally achieved by interrupting normal programming to air advertisements, also commonly called “commercials” in this context. This is the dominant type of broadcasting in the United States and a handful of other countries such as most of Latin America. It is also common elsewhere, but usually exists alongside public broadcasting where programming is largely funded by broadcast receiver licences, public donations, or government grants. 

FM (Frequency modulation) Broadcasting: A broadcast technology that uses Frequency Modulation (FM) to provide high-fidelity sound over broadcast radio.

Freeform Radio Format: Freeform, or freeform radio, is a radio station programming format in which the disc jockey is given total control over what music to play, regardless of music genre or commercial interests. Freeform radio stands in contrast to most commercial radio stations, in which DJs have little or no influence over programming structure or playlists. In the United States, freeform DJs are still bound by Federal Communications Commission regulations.

Radio Disc Jockey: A disc jockey (also called DJ) is an individual who selects and plays prerecorded music for an intended audience. A radio disc jockey plays music that is broadcast across radio waves, AM and FM bands or worldwide on shortwave radio stations. Radio DJs are notable for their personalities. Often due to terrestrial radio using program directors/music directors to generate the playlist, present-day radio DJs do not typically pick the music to play at stations. Emceeing is their primary duty.

All definitions provided by, unless otherwise noted.

Welcome to Radio Cure, dedicated the exploring the history of independent and college radio in the United States.

Here you will find information, articles, and research on the development of non-commercial radio, including community public radio, college radio, and non-corporate radio stations, different radio models, the College Music Journal charts, and online radio webcasts.

January 2007
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