Student DJs Host Weekly Shows on WUMB
October 31, 2011
This semester, students at UMass Boston got a chance to earn their own radio show on WUMB 91.9FM by competing for the votes of judges comprised of UMass Boston faculty and staff. In a contest styled after popular reality shows like “American Idol” or “The Voice,” students capitalized on the mentorship provided by UMass Boston staff members, and found their own voices in the process.
“I love music and I've always secretly thought of being a DJ, so when I saw WUMB was looking for student announcers, I thought I'd give it a shot,” says junior Aran Gilmore, an art major.
“I love public radio so my heart skipped a beat when I heard that I could compete to be on the radio,” adds senior Eleanor Marks, a psychology major.
Marks, Gilmore, and more than 40 other students auditioned for a DJ role in mid-September. WUMB announcer Albert Oram, or Albert O as he is known on the air, mentored nine finalists in the Talent Quest competition. For about a month, he taught the students WUMB’s mission, policy, and procedures; gave them a brief history of radio and radio terminology; and then got them comfortable behind the microphone.
“Finding your own voice is always a process,” says junior Miguel Fana, a music major. “Albert O really helped out in training everybody on how to be more personable on air.”
“We started out reading prewritten scripts, recording them and learning about editing the audio,” says sophomore Jared Ward, a psychology and social behavior major. “Eventually we moved on to writing our own ‘breaks’ and promotions. That's when it became easier, because we were able to add in our own personality to the readings.”
After that, the students recorded demo reels and UMass Boston students were invited to pick their favorites. The following students were selected to host the WUMB Music Mix from 10 p.m. to midnight:
Mondays: Aran Gilmore
Tuesdays: Eleanor Marks
Wednesdays: Miguel Fana
Thursdays: Jared Ward
Gilmore was the first of the students to be on the air, on October 17.
“It's been a blast, and hearing my own voice on the radio is seriously cool,” Gilmore says.
Each of the students brings their own personality to their shows. For example, Marks likes to combine fun information about the artists he plays with personal anecdotes, while Fana hopes listeners will feel that he’s only speaking to them.
“Hopefully that will make it a more genuine experience for the listener,” Fana says.
These four student voices aren’t the only ones you can hear on WUMB FM: the station was able to fit all of the Talent Quest finalists into the schedule.
Senior music major Colin Briggs, junior English major Brittany Fernandes, history major John Hunt, senior criminal justice major Jimmy Smith, and freshman music and Chinese major Felicia Zhao will rotate as hosts of a blues show that airs Sunday mornings from 2 to 6 a.m.
Oram says he’s glad there was room on the schedule for everyone.
“We mutually agreed that all of the participants were worthy of airtime,” he says.
Ward says growing up, his grandmother always joked that he should be on the radio, but as a psychology and social behavior major, he never thought he’d have this opportunity.
“I am extremely thankful for the opportunity I have been given at WUMB,” Ward says. “Hearing myself on the radio last week was crazy and exciting.”
“I wish I was going to be here longer so that I could take full advantage of this experience,” says Marks, a senior, “but I consider myself incredibly lucky just to walk around the station.”