What the Air-Waves Taught Me/And Continue to Teach Me

*Picture Credits to Kenny Olchowksi*

 

Being on the radio has been a dream of mine since I was a little kid falling asleep to Delilah. While her show was rather cliché, I enjoyed the way she connected with her listeners – exploring their woes in love and connecting a song to their story. One of the most touching moments I can remember from her radio show was when she talked to a military wife who was missing her husband. Delilah played a song by Lonestar called “I’m Already There,” which featured different “messages from home.” These messages were different military family members and children talking about how much they missed their soldiers deployed. I can recall being all of six years old and crying my eyes out at how touching that song was, and could only imagine the emotion of the military wife who had phoned in to hear a special song that would touch her heart. 

 

That moment has stuck with me ever since. When I was searching for colleges, I was adamant of finding a school that had a radio program that would allow me to start building my brand immediately. I found just that with MCLA. My freshman year I was offered a time slot on Thursdays from 6-8pm and called my show “Tasty Thursdays.” (I know, looking back it was a really weird name.) Now, I host “The Aidan Show” on Tuesdays from 6-8pm on 91.1FM WJJW. However, those first few months on the air taught me SO much. 

 

One; It’s Okay to Make Mistakes 

Mistakes are what make us learn – aside from lectures and textbooks, making a few mistakes will quickly teach you how to operate under pressure. Whether it’s accidently letting a song start playing, or saying something over the air that makes no sense, there’s always room to learn and grow from the mistakes you make. 

 

Two; Be Yourself 

No one wants to hear a fake radio show where the DJ isn’t being authentic – and it’s easy to pick up on. I learned very quickly that my natural speaking voice was much more pleasant on the ears than trying to sound like something I’m not. And believe me, as my dad always says, I can “talk the shoes off a goat.”  

 

Three; Play Music That Means Something to You 

While Delilah played music that touched the hearts of her callers and listeners, she also felt a genuine connection to each song she played, explaining the artist and the message behind the song when she played it. That’s something I’ve tried to emulate on The Aidan Show – I am always searching out the most up to date, fresh music that’s hot off the press. For example, I was very quick to start playing Ariana Grande’s “thank u next” album, because I felt a genuine connection to the album as a whole. It makes it super easy to talk about over the air, and introduces my listeners to fresh new music they may not find for a few weeks or until it hits the Top 40 Charts. 

At the end of the day, I am still learning everyday how the radio station can build and grow my brand. This year, I started working on The Beacon Briefs, which are a short 2-5 minute long prerecorded news briefing. These news briefings, though short, take a lot of time and effort. Every Wednesday, I stop by The Beacon office to see the paper before it’s published on Thursday. I take the top news stories and have to condense them down to 2-3 sentences so they can be put on air. Then, I make my way to the production studio to write up the briefs, making sure to include any scores from recent MCLA athletic teams, as well as the North Adams weather. After recording the briefs, I then edit them so that every breath and screw up I make isn’t kept on the recording. Next thing you know, they’re sent over to the station computer and aired at the top of every hour.  

 

WJJW has allowed me to not only begin building my brand from the day I stepped foot on campus, but it’s given me an opportunity to grow as an individual, and meet people I otherwise wouldn’t have met. Our station President, Jake Vitali, has incredible experience with not only WJJW, but also worked over the summer on 103.3 AMP Radio in Boston. Jake’s experience, kind personality, and incredible pedagogical skills have taught me so much about producing and branding my radio show. Without him, and the opportunities at MCLA, I’m not sure I ever would have been able to live out my dreams of being a radio DJ. 

 

If you would like to tune it to “The Aidan Show,” you can listen via 91.1 FM (if you’re in the North Adams area) or you can stream the show via mcla.edu/wjjw on Tuesday nights from 6-8pm.