KWVA: Radio Disney

Interview by Maya Zimmerman, for J412 (Understanding Disney)

How do you determine what songs to play? There’s a weird method to the madness of creating a typical “The Everything Bagel” (which is the name of my show) playlist. Essentially, though, I keep a note on my iPhone and write down songs that I enjoy during my week. I also have a Google Drive file where I keep links to all cool songs I find on blogs and social media websites across The Internet. And on the night before my show, I take a look at The Weather Report and think about where we are in the terms (e.g. syllabus week, midterms, dead week, finals week, day after Halloween, etc.) and compose a playlist that will fit the mood. Once a song is played once, I’ll remove it from the list and try to not play it again. That way, my show focuses on a lot of new releases//new discoveries relevant in my life and maybe also in those around me. You get songs from film soundtracks, remixes discovered at bars, some folky tunes from local coffee shops, a new beat floating around online. It’s a very organized chaos.

What are some rules and regulations of the radio? I’ve got a show on Thursday at 3PM, which means we’re in safe harbor hours. So no f-bombs in the studio! Also: none of the other Dirty Words (c/o George Carlin) as well as nothing unsuitable for a family audience. We can’t play more than two songs from the same album. We can’t stream anything from The Internet, specifically non-premium Spotify accounts or anything with YouTube ads because we’re public radio and that’s an advertisement for a sellable product. No endorsements of any kind: be bold, certainly, but nothing overly biased is allowed (“We’d like to go to the local concert” is fine but “You should come!!!” is not) over our airwaves. Guests needs to learn these rules, and we’re accountable for their mistakes. Some other boring administrative stuff, like PSA’s and 3-4 songs from rotation (“what’s new and hip”) are also required.
What are your influences for your radio show? My influences include the weather, my life, good conversation, independent record labels, electronic music, punk rock as a genre, conceptual art, trips to the river, acoustic guitars, music festivals, rainy days, NPR’s Ira Glass, Shaquille O’Neal and Oregon burritos from El Super Burrito.
Did you listen to the radio as a child? I pretty much listened to classic rock radio and old CD’s by The Beatles and Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel in my parents car. They’re still listening to that same stuff. My favorite activity is to drive my dad’s nice car really fast on road trips while blasting some rappers like Action Bronson or other modern hip hop really loud in his car and see how uncomfortable my parents get. It’s fine.
Did you listen to RD? I think I listened to Radio Disney maybe three times or so, and it was always in the car of another friend. I say that like we were driving. It was their parents car. But yeah. I never listened to Radio Disney. And I guess my “crowd” (lol we were like in fifth grade when Radio Disney was still a thing right?) wasn’t really into that sort of thing either. So no, didn’t really listen to RD.
Did you have any restrictions on your media consumption as a child? Nah, my parents definitely trusted that I wouldn’t be putting my nose (or, for this, my ears) anywhere they didn’t belong. I remember one time I left elementary school early and pretended I was sick so that I could play sports video games and that wasn’t exactly encouraged. But otherwise, I was mostly on my best behavior when it came to the media. And now look at me! I’m about to graduate with honors and have a degree in journalism. See? The restrictions can only go so far.
Would you play any of the top 10 RD songs? I don’t even know if I’d be able to recognize any of the top ten Radio Disney songs, to be honest. I don’t really go anywhere (physically, like a mall–or even virtually and online for that matter) where that kind of stuff would be played. This is college radio. One time I got a call after playing a Beyoncé song the night after her HBO special came out and the dude gave me the old “this is college radio! we shouldn’t play something so popular!” but it’s whatever because he didn’t Respect The Crown and that’s not my problem. I could only imagine the reaction if I played Radio Disney. I don’t think that’d go over well.
How do you establish your audience? I made my profile picture on Facebook a photo of me DJ’ing so now literally everyone knows that I’ve got a college radio show. I created a Facebook fan page for my show ( and it has about 100 likes or so. I also make it my Snapchat story whenever I’m about to broadcast, but that usually goes over not so well. For my paid job, I’m an office assistant at the station so I tell other DJ’s about my show and listen to theirs in return. Sometimes I’ll hold a live interview with someone famous (like Yoni Wolf from the band WHY? or comedian Brent Weinbach) and I’ll often bring on a co-host so that they can tell their friends to listen. The Emerald once wrote a story about me and my college radio DJ’ing gig, so that got some momentum for the show. Plus, I’ve had the show for like three years now so the Eugene community is starting to dig it. And then I’ll leave for Portland, and everyone will miss me. Bwahahaha.

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