When you hear “You’re listening to WJJW, 91.1 FM, North Adams,” you know that it is our school’s radio station, but if you don’t know the shows put on by it you really should.
WJJW officially began in 1973, licensed by the Federal Communications Commission as an FM station. There are 49 individual shows with 45 DJs in total. Most are student volunteers, but there are 10 students who have shows in the Radio Practicum class. There are also six members of the local community who have shows.
Writing a little blurb on each of these shows would be spectacular but way too long of an article for anyone to actually want to sit down and read. But there are two shows I’m going to spotlight, not only because they are great shows but because the reasoning and intentions behind these shows are great.
First up is The Vagabond Variety Show, which airs on Tuesdays from 4-6 p.m. Creators Jacob Valenti and Morrison (Mo) Robblee or, known by their DJ Names, ‘Jukebox Jake’ and ‘Hair Metal Mo,’ play, as you could guess, a variety of music. They mostly stick to punk and 80’s hair metal, but they do branch out into the wider scheme of music as well.
“I love music. I’ve always loved music,” said Valenti when asked why he wanted a radio show. Robblee had mentioned the school’s radio station to him and they decided they wanted to start a show. They didn’t manage to get their show until their second semester at MCLA, but since then it has become a hit.
The duo have been talking about possibly starting to do some radio drama on their show next semester. As a writer, Valenti is interested in writing a radio drama and the great thing about having a radio show is you can talk about and do the things you’re interested in, whether it be politics or science or history. There’s always a place for your interest according to Valenti.
The second show that needs a spotlight is Coffee and Candles or, more well known by its unofficial name, Dark Roast Radio by the the Beacon’s own Hannah Snell, which airs on Monday mornings from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
It’s also a mostly music based show where Snell is trying to create a mellow and relaxing environment playing a lot of lo-fi music but also includes a lot of singer-songwriter, folk, bedroom/dream pop, and a little grunge once in awhile.
Having a radio show is something Snell wanted to do since her senior year in high school.
“When people hear about a radio show they think it’s this big techy, kind of complicated thing, or they think ‘I’m too shy or awkward’ or ‘I don’t like hearing my own voice’ but it’s really not like that,” said Snell. “It’s not as complicated of a process as you might think and if you’re shy I can say I’m like the most awkward person when talking but it becomes more natural over time.”
Snell wants to have more live performances and interviews with local musicians and even student musicians on her show and talk about the musical process that takes place and plans to try to implement that in the upcoming semester.
Don’t forget to check out when other shows are being put on at mcla.edu/wjjw. If students are interested in having a radio show they can contact James Niedbalski who is the Adviser to WJJW at email@example.com.