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I have now been a KUGS Music of the Masses DJ for eight weeks (huzzah!) and am beginning to feel more comfortable behind the microphone and console.

In regards to my self-determined “Areas of Improvement” list, I think I am making sound progress.  I have finally learned how to use an LP/record player (though unfortunately my show does not usually allow me to play any records – as most of my show comes from The Wall and in CD format – unless requested) and I am beginning to feel more confident speaking to a large audience.  I still find this to be my greatest challenge, however, because sometimes I find myself just listing off the songs and artists I played (“At the top of the hour you heard blah, blah and blah…”), which is a little boring.  I’d like to challenge myself to come prepared with interesting information about the artists or albums I play on my show and this will be my main goal for my show this upcoming Tuesday (March 6, 2007).

I will pat myself on the back for diversifying my playlist and going outside of my own personal taste.  I’ve been playing hip-hop, reggae, and folk outside of just the “Specialty” requirement and asking my friends with different musical taste for recommendations.  I want to live up to the eclectic mix of music all M4TM shows are suppose to provide (a “taste of the rainbow” as the promo says) and hopefully I can continue to venture into genres I’ve never ventured into before.  Interestingly enough, I have found some artists outside of my usual realm of indie-rock/proto-punk/glam/mod that I really like, so it is a win-win situation for everyone.

Oh, and can I just say I am really appalled by the lack of musical knowledge from the general public?  Every show I have to do a giveaway, which is decided by a music trivia question. Rarely does anyone get my trivia questions right (I usually have to give a hint), which I feel are  actually pretty easy and common knowledge.  For example, I asked one week for people to name the two MCs of Public Enemy (Flavor Flav and Chuck D)  and of the 10 callers, only one person got both names.  Then I asked what “The Day The Music Died” is in reference to, and I got several callers who thought it marked the day Elvis died.  The week of the Grammys I asked who has recieved the most Grammy nominations with 77 (Quincy Jones), and two people called and said Michael Jackson, three The Beatles, and one for Ray Charles.  Even when I gave the hint the name started with a Q did no one get it right.  What are our children learning in school?!

Next quarter I decided to not do a specialty show, though I partially regret this decision.  I really like hosting a M4TM show because it helps me stay atop of new artists and albums, which is what I would be doing with my free time anyways.  Originally I thought I would apply for a “Wes Anderson soundtrack-ish” show, if that means anything to you.  Wes Anderson movie soundtracks (think Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, etc.) usually are an eclectic mix themselves of proto-punk (The Velvet Underground, The Stooges), contemporary instrumental (Mark Mothersbaugh), and whimsical songs of the 60s and 70s (Joan Baez, The Creation, The Faces, etc.).  I thought it would be interesting to create a show around the same format and highlight some of my favorite artists (namely Bowie, The Velvet Underground, The Who, Nico, etc.) which fit perfectly, in my opinion.  But alas, I did not know how responsive listeners would be and I really like M4TM, so I am sure next quarter will be just as educational and fun as this one now.

Anyways, I just wanted to take an opportunity to reflect on my experiences from the past few weeks.

Goals for the last three weeks of the quarter:

1.  Research artists and albums ahead of time; try to find one or two interesting facts for 10-15 artists I will play on my show Tuesday

2.  Ask for more requests (sometimes I forget to announce I take requests)

3.   Play the new Explosions in the Sky, even though all the songs are 5 – 7 minutes long

4.  Continue to work on song transitions and diversifying the playlist

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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 http://www.kugs.org and I will update again about my hopeful progress then.

November 2017
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