My tenure as a college-radio DJ was foreshadowed early on: I've collected music since the first grade and used to record other radio shows in grade school with an old cassette deck. When I began attending UC Irvine, I discovered the campus station, KUCI, and sat in on several shows to learn the ropes (big up to former host El Dopa). After taking the training class, I began broadcasting my Innamissions show in 2001, and I have been on air weekly ever since. I spin a broad range of music that includes funk, soul, jazz, hip-hop, reggae and world beat. Bottom line: I play music I love, and it's an honor to be able to share it with a global audience.
After six years in the game, I can confidently state that these are the best and worst aspects of hosting a college-radio program.
-Our station's freeform approach to programming. No preprogrammed, regurgitated crap will be found here.
-College radio, in general, is a great place for listeners to hear new cutting-edge artists—and important old artists, too.
-The personal approach—being able to interact with listeners, as well as interacting with other DJs at the station and sharing knowledge.
-Having access to hundreds of thousands of pieces of music (CD and vinyl) presents an obvious kid-in-a-candy-store feeling for music fanatics.
-Perks! Free tickets to shows, music and OC Weekly press bits.
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-Money—or the lack thereof. Because we're 100 percent listener-supported, it's a constant struggle to raise funds for better equipment. (Our biggest priority is obtaining a new transmitter, so we can reach a larger audience.)
-When I started at KUCI, I had a graveyard shift (3-6 a.m.), and I received a fair amount of prank/strange calls. It's safe to say that any early-morning DJ will get prank/drunk callers. But over the past few years in my current time slot, I haven't received any prank calls. Some listeners will call up and just wanna talk my ear off about music. Which is cool, in a sense, but not when I have a show I'm trying to do at the same time.
-Time wasted sorting through boring music that is sent to the station. It takes serious effort to find gems amid the garbage. But that extra toil makes the true finds that much more rewarding.