Wanna be a DJ?

John Hult

John Hult

If you hear a familiar voice on your radio, do not be surprised. SDSU students are making their mark on the Brookings airwaves at 107.1.

“X-107.1,” as students and area residents know it, has employed several students over the years and provides future radio professionals the chance to test their jockey mettle.

With many stations to choose from in the area and no commercial station geared specifically towards the college audience, a familiar voice or energetic delivery can make the difference in catching extra listeners.

“My sister listens to 107 because of the DJs, and she’s in Watertown.” junior journalism major Jessica Hollat said.

Mike Ehlers, known to the listening public as Big Daddy Love, has been laying his distinctive tone on the city for over two years while attending SDSU full time as a music merchandising major. Ehlers has gained valuable experience in the music-merchandising field at X107.1 where marketing and advertising plays a role in the music programming decisions that are made. He thinks that Brookings is a great proving ground for students interested in a career in radio.

“I think Brookings is a unique situation because while it has a large college population, the community is stable enough to support itself,” Ehlers said. “At nighttime, we go for the more cutting edge stuff, and during the day we play more of the adult contemporary music; your parents may even listen to it.”

Junior radio, TV and film major Heath Isaacson tried his hand at professional disc jockeying at X107.1 last fall. But like most modern DJs, he did not get to decide on the content.

“The programming is already done for you,” Isaacson said. “Basically, you just have to record your voice track, and the computer will put it in order for you.”

Both Isaacson and Ehlers pointed out that students’ perceptions of radio and the reality of the job are sometimes quite different.

“That’s one of the first things I realized about the radio business; you kind of have to leave your personal taste at the door because you want to try and reach as many people as possible,’ Ehlers said.

Isaacson agreed.

“They play a lot of hair bands and 80s, so I didn’t like that too much” Isaacson said.

Although they work with music, there is much more involved in radio. Students interested in a career in radio ought to find out as much as they can before making the choice, Ehlers said.

“If you get an opportunity to, simply calling up to see if you can come in and just observe. I think it would really help you feel at ease.” Ehlers said.

However, there is one qualification that preparation may not necessarily be able to give you.

“You have to have a high tolerance to hear the same music every day,” Ehlers said. “You’re kind of a walking music library after a while.”