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Why I Love Being a WTSR DJ

On Thursday nights, at around 9:35 pm., while most students are heading back to their dorms after late classes or labs, or perhaps heading downstairs to T-Dubs for an even later dinner, I head out to Kendall Hall, where hidden in the depths of the basement is our college’s radio station, WTSR. Here is where I spend my Thursday nights this semester and where I have spent my Friday afternoons for the two semesters before this. I like being able to say that I am a radio show co-host and a college radio DJ. I love being part of WTSR.

WTSR 91.3 FM, formerly known as Trenton State Radio, now stands for The College of New Jersey Student Radio, although it features a bunch of shows that are hosted by alumni and other community volunteers. For the past two semesters, my housemate and I co-hosted a Dayside show on Friday afternoons, and it was the best way to end the week. Dayside programming has a strict format, but it was awesome getting to play music that people actually listened to on their ride home. I’m serious—someone once asked me if it was my voice that she was hearing on the radio one afternoon. It was exciting because it meant that someone actually listened to our show.

We also had the New Music Hour when our show was on Friday afternoons, the New Music Hour being every weekday at 4:00 p.m. It restricted what we could play even more than the regular dayside format, but it allowed us to get to know the station’s high and low rotation shelves better.  It also allowed us get to know the new music better. Being a WTSR DJ has opened my mind to so much more music than I would have listened to before joining the station, which is great because that’s the station’s slogan—Open your mind!

This semester, as I mentioned before, we host a show on Thursday nights at 10:00 p.m. It’s a specialty show, and our theme is movie soundtracks, so we play everything from [500] Days of Summer to Les Miserables (which I cannot pronounce for the life of me, though it has a beautiful soundtrack). 

A few times last semester I helped at Local Noise recordings by taking pictures or assisting bands in bringing their stuff in and out. Local Noise is a show that airs on Saturdays from noon to 2:00 p.m. and spotlights local bands. They do an interview, record some songs, and it airs at a later date.  It’s awesome to be around for, because honestly, I got to hang out with the bands and it was a fantastic afternoon. They were awesome bands, too.

Even though sometimes I say—“Oh no, my radio show doesn’t end until 5:00 p.m. so Dad can’t pick me up until after that!” or “I can’t play bridge tonight because I have my show tonight!” (completely legitimate thing that I would say) or “I can’t go to your thing, I have a thing at the station,” I love having things at the station. I love any reason to go down to the haunted Kendall basement and just be in the studio. Even if our show gets stressful because we can’t play the entire soundtrack or I said something stupid on the air—which happens a lot, by the way—I love our show, and I love being a WTSR DJ. I love being able to say that I do college radio. I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world.

Rachel Chlebowski is an alumna of The College of New Jersey, where she sang with I-Tunes A Cappella, created props for TCNJ Musical Theater, spread literary cheer through Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society, and wrote for Her Campus TCNJ. She enjoys reading novels and watching Netflix when she isn't editing manuscripts and media.
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