May MD of the Month:
KMSC Dragon Radio
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Tell us about KMSC (Dragon Radio). How did it get started and how did you first hear about it?
KMSC Dragon Radio 1500 AM got its original start in 1953 when the Radio Listening Club was formed for students that were interested in radio broadcast and performances. It quickly evolved and the student club was re-branded to “KMSC the Nifty 650 AM” in 1955. Student support allow for dedicated studios and a carrier current transmitter. Now 65 years later KMSC is one of the longest operating student organization our campus has had. KMSC now has a dedicated broadcast tower, live video feed from our studios to student housing and campus, as well as streaming on the web.
I first heard about KMSC during MSUM’s welcome week for freshman. I saw them tabling, and I remember going up and getting an application and being so intimidated by the thought of becoming a DJ, but the Heads of Staff I talked to were super nice.
How long have you been at KMSC? What is your history there?
I’ve been a DJ at KMSC for 3 years (since I was a freshman), and this year I am also the Music Director! It’s sort of funny because I’m an Anthropology/Archaeology major and when I first stumbled across the radio station I kept thinking like wow I want to do this so bad, but I’m so irrelevant! But at our station we are sort of made up by a lot of different majors and people and it has always been a really welcoming environment. I’ve had mainly indie shows over the years, but this year I have a show called “The Showcase” where I just play Top 30, Top Adds, and new music we get weekly in the studio, and a second, thirty minute classic rock vinyl show for something different!
As music director, how do you get your on-air staff to check out and play the new music you receive?
I give my DJs a few options for new music reviewing. They can become a “Label Contact” where I will send them all the digital music from a label a week (so all digital content for Co-Sign, Terrorbird, etc.). We find a label that matches the DJs taste, and I have had a bunch of success with this method, especially because DJs give me feedback on each album, and I can relay this to the labels if they want to know what people are really liking and why. Another way is for them to just come in and load digital content randomly from current or backlogged music, or take physicals labeled by genre. Usually I will run through the RIYLs with them and see if any of them are familiar or point out artists that have been in our Top playlists. If it’s digital music, sometimes I will even have them just sit with me for a bit and I will play a few seconds of some songs and the DJ will tell me what the gravitated towards, and I give them that.
What has been your favorite release of 2019 thus far?
I was really hyped for Savoir Adore’s album “Full Bloom” to come out and was super pumped to get that in the studio. It definitely takes the cake!
Do you have a favorite artist or album you never get tired of listening to?
I’d say any music that Trevor Powers has made, either under his f.k.a Youth Lagoon, and his most recent album Mulberry Violence. He is my absolute favorite musician of all time, and I can listen to his albums on repeat and seriously never skip a track.
What is your favorite live show you have ever attended?
That is a realllyy hard question, haha. I often talk about how I have a lot of favorite shows, but just for different reasons. Savoir Adore’s album release for The Love That Remains in NYC, headliners The Wild Wild and VHS Collection, was one of the most memorable because it was the night I moved from NJ to MN to college. Judah and the Lion in Fargo was the band I have been most impressed with, musically-talented wise. Modest Mouse in Moorhead, MN and Sufjan Stevens at Boston Calling were two shows that I was the most in awe, because I went to those with like a history of loving their music for years and years. Craziest show I’ve ever been to was Streetlight Manifesto at Starland Ballroom for their home show and my friend and I almost died (definitely not our usual scene) but it was a really great time!
Who is an artist or band outside the realm of college radio that people might be surprised to know you love?
Khalid has recently become like a guilty pleasure of mine. My sister listened to him for a long time and kept telling me to try it out and I resisted for so long and now every time he releases a song I like instantly listen to it, haha.
What is your best childhood memory?
I’d say probably all the time I spent in Vermont as a kid during the summer. We have a cabin in like deep rural Vermont that has been in our family for decades, and a bunch of my family would go up, sometimes over two weeks, when my sister and I were out of school. No wifi, no cell phone service, like 3 TV channels, and most of the time not even a landline. Even as I got older, I loved it because I would read and write next to the rivers and the pond. We would also have Sirius XM playing like 24/7 on different channels and that was also a lot of fun.
What event in your life would you say has shaped you the most as a person?
When I was really young, my dad worked in a plumbing local in the urban part of NJ like 2 hours from our house and he was gone all the time. He realized that he rarely got to see me and my sister, so he decided to start his own business so that he could spend more time with us. The start of his business, which him and my mom worked together on, was probably the event that shaped my life the most because it meant both of my parents were able to be in my life a lot and I know that is definitely not something that everyone has. Looking back on it, I don’t know where I’d be if I hadn’t received such unwavering support from my family.
If you could choose, what time period in the past would you most want to travel back to and visit?
I think going back to the 60s at the height of the Civil Rights movement would be a time I’d like to travel and visit. There was a lot of ugliness still left in the world, but to witness the start to a change that ultimately got us to where we are today, I think that would be important to witness.
Do you have a favorite restaurant in Fargo/Moorhead you always make sure to take guests/visitors to?
I definitely don’t have many people coming to visit me being from NJ and living in Minnesota, haha, but it seems that I gravitate towards this one Mexican restaurant Acapulco quite a bit. I couldn’t even really tell you why, maybe it’s because it reminds me of my favorite Mexican place back home!
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
After I got my first job, which was working in a cafeteria in this private school where kids paid sixty grand a year to go to high school (I went to the local public school), my grandfather told me that I better not let anyone walk over me, or treat me any less than. It was sort of powerful at the time because a lot of these kids had major power/superiority complexes. And that’s always stuck with me and I’ve sort of moved through life in general both ways: don’t let people look down on you and don’t look down on anyone else, everyone deserves your respect unless proven otherwise.
Dog or Cat? Oh, I love them both!
Coffee or Tea? Coffee, but also a lot of tea.
Morning Person or Night Owl? Definitely a morning person!
City or Country? Country preferably not too crazy far from a city
Watch TV or Read A Book? I want to say read, but I watch more TV for sureee
Sunny or Rainy? Sunny!!
Dine or Delivery? Depends on my mood!
Beard or Clean Shaven? (I’d hope this is my preference on men) I think beards, but I may be wrong haha.
Pants or Shorts? Pantsss
Do you have any current favorite TV show obsessions?
Just finished re-watching Jericho, but as far as new shows, The Expanse is super amazing!
Finally, and most importantly: do you find the TV/movie accent for people from Northern Minnesota to be embarrassingly cliche or do you know people that have as heavy an accent as some actors take with it?
It’s funny because I moved to Minnesota for college from New Jersey, and I heard the accent right away and nobody heard it between one another (I was the one “with an accent”). I’d say a large majority of people do not have a super the thick MN accent, but I’d be lying if I said I haven’t met people who sound like what I had heard before moving!