I Am A DJ

In cleaning up our storage locker, I came across some old cassettes I made of my short-lived career as a radio DJ. In 1992, I attended Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to get my teacher certification, and I decided to get as involved as I could, so I worked as a copy editor on the newspaper and DJ’ed a two-hour slot each week on WCAL, the campus radio station.

If I recall correctly, it was only a cable broadcast, so I might have had 20 listeners on a good night, but I taped my shows for posterity anyway. Listening to my inane banter now is downright embarrassing, but I am still proud of the music I played. I hope I might have succeeded in raising the bar musically for at least a few of the mostly-conservative students. I’m sure that my show was the only place you could have heard Sloan in Western Michigan at that time. And though I didn’t particularly like them, the Goo Goo Dolls were strictly a regional act at that time, and I played one of their songs to promote an upcoming show. I also mixed in things like poetry readings (Dylan Thomas, Rainer Maria Rilke) and even a “Backwards Masking Satanic Message of the Week” contest!

For anyone whose musical memory stretches back that far, whatever happened to bands like Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Daisy Chainsaw, Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine, The Darling Buds, and Chapterhouse?

By the way, my show was called “Where the Wild Things Are” (after the classic Maurice Sendak children’s book), and I began each week by playing a record of someone reading the story. The lead-in to my first track was always when the guy read: “And now, cried Max, Let the wild rumpus start…”

Obviously, I’d love to do this all again…