Reflections on KSDJ making big changes

Todd Vanderwerff

Todd Vanderwerff

When I first entered the hallowed halls of this institution, I had but three goals: meet hot girls, make friends and get a radio show.

Getting the radio show proved to be far easier than the other two tasks. A friend and I went to the first radio meeting and applied to be DJs. We were readily accepted.

While having a radio show didn’t make friends for me or meet hot girls for me, it certainly wasn’t a hindrance. I met a lot of fascinating people thanks to KSDJ.

Last year, I turned off the microphone, dismayed by the fact that I had very little time to commit to what was, admittedly, a very different concept for a college radio show.

My girlfriend and I had decided to play one classic album in its entirety every week and stop between tracks to comment on what the album was about and allow for listener response.

The response was largely positive (despite some talks with station management about the direction we were going with this program) and we enjoyed doing the show, but there was far too little time to indulge in the program.

And now I see that KSDJ is attempting some radical changes of its own.

Unfortunately, in the process of making these changes, new station manager Ashley Allen seems to have angered the people who could have helped him make the change smoothly: former DJs.

To be fair to Allen, former DJs are what made his changes necessary. Too often, I would turn on KSDJ and find that the DJs were blathering on about what they did that weekend or playing a Boyz II Men retrospective in a weak attempt at irony.

While, to be fair, I contributed a fair share of the blathering, my show was billed as talk radio in the station schedule. People could turn off the radio if they didn’t like it and return in a few hours for another show.

KSDJ should have been a place to discover fresh new music before it hit the mainstream. Students gradually drifted away from playing college rock and into playing whatever they wanted to play. Since whatever they wanted to play was often amelodic obscure music from Tibet, listeners quickly turned to mainstream stations, opting for bad music over even worse music.

Allen hangs in a precarious position right now. He freely admits that he knows mainstream music quite well, but doesn’t know the alternative scene as well. Unfortunately, those who do know the alternative scene are mad at Allen for removing their rights to play goat-herding music from Switzerland.

I’m not saying that I want to turn on KSDJ and hear Lenny Kravitz or Third Eye Blind or the Dave Matthews Band. If I ever am highly feverish and want to hear those acts, I can always turn on one of the many other radio stations that play them.

However, if I want to hear acoustical masterpieces from the likes of Chappaquiddick Skyline, local groups like Billy Music, British imports like the Doves or even our Arts and Entertainment editor’s beloved Government Mule, I should have a place to turn. That place could be KSDJ if former DJs will work with Allen to create a place on the radio dial to hear the best that college rock has to offer. They could still offer specialty shows and talk shows, but those shows would be more highly focused.

I’m not saying they all have to hug or anything. I’m just saying cooperation is the one thing that will make KSDJ all that it could be.

Todd VanDerWerff loves yodel above all else. Write to him at [email protected]