Ashley Shamblin, 3rd year English and Politics Major, is a co-host of a weekly radio show on WTJU featuring music from the likes of The National, Vampire Weekend, and Tallest Man on Earth. She hosts the show with fellow DJ’s Sophie Korchek and Erica Loftin. I spoke with Ashley to learn more about her show.
Hometown: Tuscaloosa, AL
Other activities around Grounds: RUF, Pi Phi, Abundant Life tutoring
What has been the most rewarding moment / experience for you during your time at UVa? Probably just getting to meet and hang out with such amazing people in such a beautiful place every day
Best way to spend a Friday night in Charlottesville: Mmmm… Eating something delicious for dinner- The Local, Maya, Belmont BBQ. Going downtown for a concert at the Pavilion. Coming home to hang out with my friends and drink some wine. Yeah, sounds about perfect.
How did you get the idea for this radio show?
The idea for this radio show was really born when Sophie and I were studying abroad in London this summer. We both realized really quickly that we love listening to music and talking about it together. In the spring of last year, Sophie started working as a DJ for WTJU, Charlottesville’s local music station, and discussing news. She liked it so much that she wanted to expand into music as well. I still remember when she asked me if I wanted to have a weekly music radio show with her and her friend Erica. I was so unbelievably excited that I was going to get to hang out with my friends for two hours every week, listening to music and talking about it. Last semester, WTJU launched their student-only branch, WTJX, so the timing was perfect for us to jump on board with our own show. We basically filled out applications and were handed a time spot on Saturday afternoons from 4-6 (which I like to say is a perfect low opportunity cost time).
Can you give some examples of the kinds of artists you like to feature?
Sophie, Erica, and I like a lot of the same music- The National, Vampire Weekend, and Tallest Man on Earth are played a lot on our show- but we definitely also have a fair amount of variety in the bands we like. I would say that my music taste tends more toward folk and acoustic kind of stuff, Sophie’s tends more toward R&B, and Erica brings in a little country mix. I think the variety makes for a good mix during the two hours we have our show together every week. We also all have a proclivity for oldies, which is suggested by our show’s name, Kokomo (named after a Beach Boys song). We also all listen to fairly chill, relaxing music, so one of the biggest challenges for all of us is making sure that we throw in some upbeat music as well and get our dancing on a little bit.
What’s the best part about hosting a radio show?
I absolutely love DJing. It’s honestly one of the highlights of my week. The studio is this intimate little room that basically fits the three of us just right and we get to hang out and talk about music with each other. Honestly, for a music lover, I’m living the dream. I would say I probably give concert reviews more frequently than anything else, but we also end up talking about random topics like Harriet Tubman or NCIS or whatever else comes to mind. When you’re DJing live, you kind of have no idea exactly what you’re going to say, so sometimes some bizarre things come out but thankfully, you have your friends there with you in the studio to laugh at you and help bail you out if you say something really stupid. The first time I DJed, I was incredibly nervous. Now, it’s just something really fun, a way for me to get to play music and hopefully share some new tunes with my listeners. Another great thing about DJing is that it pushes me to look for new music because I want to make sure that I’m still playing new artists and tracks and exposing myself and other people to different stuff. I am so, so appreciative of my friends who take the time to listen to my show and request a song or give me feedback, such as, “Love this song, DJ Shamwow!” Whenever I get positive comments like that, it definitely makes my day.