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Imagine you were given an opportunity to express yourself through music with your very own radio show premiering every single week where you were in total control of the music you played. Imagine you were part of a student-run coalition that gave you the freedom to learn about the importance of communication and radio through the experience of being a student DJ.  

Fortunately, this was a scenario that I was lucky to experience through the work of WLOY and the experience of being a student radio DJ! 

WLOY Loyola Radio, also known as just WLOY, is a student-run college radio station and organization on Loyola Maryland’s campus that premiers free radio programming and music for students both on and off campus as well as the Baltimore community. Students have the opportunity to become radio DJ’s if they are interested and can record their own shows to be played live through the station. 

I found out about WLOY through their club table in Fall 2021 at a sophomore event and was instantly hooked. The idea of being able to play some of my favorite songs for an audience and take talking breaks about things I was interested in sounded like a dream. I knew I had to take this opportunity and get involved as soon as I could. 

I knew I wanted to do a show but couldn’t imagine doing it by myself. Luckily, WLOY allows students to host a two person show, and I knew my roommate Nez was someone I would love to co-host a show with. We both share the same passion and love for music (and even have a 90% music taste match on Spotify), and I knew that we could bounce ideas off each other during the talking breaks. Doing a co-hosted show with Nez was perfect. We talked to WLOY and got to training as soon as we heard back from the station! 

Training for the radio and learning how the studio worked was an amazing experience. It was eye-opening to the world of radio recording and how to properly manage the soundboard for how we would control our music. We had to be mindful of audio levels, fading between songs, and switching CDs in a timely manner. While it was difficult to manage at first, we quickly adapted a rhythm that allowed our recording sessions to go smoothly. 

However, one of the hardest things for us to come up with was our show name. We knew it had to be something that we both loved that also represented our vibe for the show we wanted to put on for our audience. We went back and forth for days on a name, until one day it clicked. Funny enough, it came from Nez’s keys stabbing them through their pants pocket, which were hooked on a lanyard that was printed with a pattern of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” painting. Nez and I looked at each other, and in that moment, decided The Starry Night Show was perfect. It was a combination of music and arts, something we both love, and a chill vibe that went along with our theme. It could not have been more perfect (minus the key stabbing Nez in the leg, though it’s a great story to tell). 

The Starry Night Show allows us to share music with an audience and speak on things we are interested in. We get to pick all our music, which means we throw in our personal favorites and jam out during studio recording sessions. Recording for the radio is the highlight of my week, and I look forward to telling friends and family about our upcoming sets before they air live.  

Being a radio DJ for WLOY has been a formative experience during my college career and something I wouldn’t trade for the world. It has allowed me to become confident and comfortable with speaking on air and the opportunity to learn how to properly work radio equipment that I might encounter in a future job. It has allowed me to express myself through music and share a show with someone I am close with. It allows me to wind down after a long day and just relax in the studio with some of my favorite songs. I am so thankful for WLOY and the experience they have given me with being a radio DJ. 

If you’re interested in college radio and possibly having your own show, I have one piece of advice—go for it! It’s so worth it. 

(You can tune into Nez and my’s show every single Saturday from 8-9PM here! You can also follow us on our Instagram for more updates and sneak peeks on our sets!) 

Sophie LaBella is a junior at Loyola University Maryland studying writing and communications. When she isn't studying or working on one of her many unfinished poems, you can find her recording for her radio show at WLOY, embroidering her jeans, dancing, or spending time with her best friends!