Saturday, September 30, 2006

Radio, Radio

Some of you know I'm a DJ of sorts. Just not enough of one to catch myself a real break. That doesn't, however, mean I'm going to stop trying.

Years ago, a library co-worker of mine suggested I take a stab at being a deejay on KRCL, the local community radio station. We were keen on talking musicians with one another like some discuss old friends or even politics. Honestly, we could have been a "Talk Soup" for music fanatics. Anyway, I'd wanted to be a DJ as early as the 8th grade. I'd wanted to discover and share music with an audience and talk about music with them, too, so long as I could play my own collection. (Closely tied to that was my wanting to be an ice cream man if I could pump out my own tunes.) Since those who do shows on KRCL make up their own playlists, I was hooked.

It started with my pitching show ideas to 'em. I did that a lot. I'd wanted to do a Gospel program - spiritual revival sort of stuff. I could have done blues or rockabilly or All, Elvis All the Time! or, say, something that highlighted the Blaxploitation genre (because it really is its own beast). I think I did that for a year or more. I applied probably half a dozen times. At long last, I was contacted to train as volunteer.

The training came and went. I started to sit on with others on their shows for another year or more, volunteering to answer phones on pledge drives and creating commericals and such. I started to sub. I's something I still do. This means I never have a set time to throw a bunch of songs together and relish in the opportunity to unleash my taste upon a bleary-eyed audience. Adversely, I take what I can get. I've done morning "breakfast jam" shows, Saturday afternoon slots, late nights and eeeearly mornings. In that time, I've done a blues program, a Christmas program, jazz and, well, countless others. It's a lot of fun, but I'm still not satisfied. It's why I keep going back, I guess.

Three or four times now, I've tried out for various openings, failing to get every one. I'm starting to wonder how long it'll take. At least each time I receive a good nugget of constructive critcism to help round myself out. I recently tried out for a Tuesday morning slot (3:30 - 5:30 AM), but I didn't nab it. The criticism this time was that my on-air personality is "dry and lacks direction." I took issue with that, really, as I've always felt music steered its own course, that people would rather hear a unique blend of unexpected sounds, artists and eras than they would my blathering on and on about it. Nevertheless, if that's what it takes me to allow this to happen, then I'm going to go about gaining a personality.

This might mean my rewatching, oh, Good Morning, Vietnam, though that's fairly unlikely. If I were to pick one persona I'd want to emulate, it'd be Christian Slater's in Pump Up The Volume. Being likable is good, but making them think you're crazy is even better. What others are there out there? I'll watch 'em. In the meantime, I suppose I'll start talking about music more, since I just never can get enough of that. The question remains, though ... will people actually want to hear what I have to say? Time will tell.


bestsariah said...

I thought you sounded sleepy when I heard you on the radio. Yep...that's what I thought.

plainoldsarah said...

you have all the personality in your writing - now you just need to talk the way you write. i just figured that there's some nervousness involved in doing a show - i think with time you'll be totally comfortable. maybe you should pretend you are emailing all your closest music loving friends when you're on-air. or maybe you need to practice TALKING about music more instead of writing so much about it. i like the writing mind you - so don't get me wrong - just thinking of how you can be that dj person they want and you want.

Dainon said...

Maybe I could just read my writing on-air, yeah? Not likely. But I like where you're going with that idea. Music writer becomes music talker becomes BEST DEEJAY IN THE VALLEY! Well, maybe the best one at 3 A.M. Baby steps.

eped said...

I'm curious, who was it that said "dry and lacks direction"? this might not be very helpful but I think your approach, on-air personality(whatever) is fine. you're not obnoxious like rene & dawn, not crusty like iceman doug, and you don't just play a bunch of Steve Earl, Lucinda Williams and String Cheese Incident like everyone else. maybe you're just not cut out for aging hippie community radio. maybe you could like make fart noises and be more insulting on the air and get a paying job on comercial radio.

just kidding Dainon. I'm glad you're hanging in there. those punks (and we, your listerners) are lucky to have you. people always tell you to smile while you're talking because, even though listeners can't see, we recognize what a smile sounds like when you're talking. (cheesy but true) you could also try making more Dick Cheney jokes. KRCL listeners are total suckers for those.

illegitimus non carborundum

Dainon said...

Aha! It was the illustrious leader, even Ryan Tronier. He doesn't take to me very well. I guess he's one of those sorts that demands you're his friend before he lets you join his posse. And I'm not much for kissing on butts, if you get what I mean.

allexisz said...

Seriously try KCPW in Park City. They might be more your style. Very independent and open-minded.