“Hi, this is WMUC-Digital College Park, it is around 45 degrees outside, March 30th, and you are tuning into The Zozone. I’m DJ Hannah…”
WMUC, a student-run, non-commercial radio station on campus, allows students of all experiences to apply to host their own radio shows on a weekly basis, providing a creative outlet for students to share, inform and express.
“The Zozone,” one of WMUC’s new radio shows this semester, aired its first episode two months ago with host Hannah Zozobrado, a sophomore journalism and Spanish double major and Asian American studies minor.
Zozobrado’s desire to represent artists of Asian descent led her to exclusively feature such artists on “The Zozone” – answering the one question she asked herself when planning her show: “What is one thing that I can have that I feel like I would enjoy doing?”
She chooses a different theme each week for her playlist. The theme of her first show was “some color to your palette” – with ‘palette’ inspired by a painter’s palette.
“Your taste, your flavor, like your life, kind of – I thought it’d be really cool to play off that. Also, palette can be like a painter's palette,” Zozobrado said. “If you know me, you know I’m big on wordplay, and puns, and stuff like that.” Like Zozobrado, sophomore computer science and immersive media design double major Elaine Gao has her own show, “slow fever,” that features indie-rock music from mostly East Asian bands, often from Taiwanese or Chinese artists.
“I came up with this idea because I really love [the] music style,” Gao said. “I hoped to be able to translate some of the lyrics to convey the meanings of these songs better since many of these songs are untranslated and I’m bilingual!”
Since she is new to DJ-ing, Gao looks to friends and the people around her for feedback.
“Usually I’ll ask my friends who I know have tuned in [asking]: was my mic too soft, is there anything else I can do to make it better next time,” Gao said. “To be honest, I can’t listen to myself without cringing, so I’m trusting the people around me to tell me that they liked the way I did a transition, or if I’m speaking too far away from the mic, [things like that].”
Though students may choose themes for their shows, having the flexibility to bounce around genres and artists lets hosts discover their DJ personalities.
“My show concept basically first stemmed from just wanting to develop a DJ personality and share my music taste over a broadcast,” sophomore information science major and WMUC “Red Alert” host Patrick Polglase said. “Even now, I still haven’t quite worked out a general rigid theme that I stick to, because I mostly just play music I’m listening to at the moment.”
The way WMUC operates allows hosts to have creative freedom over more than their music choices – they can also invite guests and have conversations mid-jam.
“[When] preparing my show, I usually select a list of songs that fill up one hour for the theme of the week. The theme can range from Latin indie rock, classic progressive rock, or even some pop tunes,” Polglase said. “Before my show, I usually post an announcement on my show’s Instagram page. I often bring on my friends as a guest on the show and have them select the music for half of the playlist.”
Whether it be through Tim Atlas or BTS, WMUC gives aspiring student-DJs a chance to express themselves and their music taste all while connecting with their audiences and sharing new music.
“The moral of the story is to make your life fun – add color to your palette, whether it be food or color…” Zozobrado said.