July Genre DJ of the Month:
Tell us about WYSO. How it got started and how you first heard about it.
WYSO was founded in 1958 (so yes, we’re celebrating our 60th anniversary this year!) by three students at Antioch College. Back then the station’s reach barely made it off campus; now we broadcast to 12 counties in southwest Ohio. We have a small staff that’s augmented by a lot of amazing volunteers. We’re an NPR member station that also broadcasts about 40 hours of local programming a week. We have a mix of local and national, news, music and storytelling with community at the core of everything we do. I’ve been a lifelong listener to WYSO; it was always on in our house and cars growing up. In fact, Alpha Rhythms has been on the air on WYSO for about 30 years so I grew up listening to it every Sunday night with my parents.
How long have you been at WYSO? What are your duties there?
I’ve been on the WYSO staff since 2009 but was a volunteer programming prior to that. So all told, my involvement with WYSO is about 13 years and counting. As I mentioned, we have a small staff so we all wear several hats; in addition to my two shows, I’m the station’s webmaster, programming coordinator, and deputy operations director. I handle all of our digital and social media presence, I work closely with both our news department and overall music director to coordinate on-air content from our staff, volunteers, and Community Voices producers (these are members of our local community that have learned to make radio through our Community Voices training program and now contribute on the air). And then as deputy operations director, I help make sure everything is running smoothly in terms of studio space, promos, automation, etc.
Tell us about your shows: Kaleidoscope & Alpha Rhythms and what you try to accomplish with both of them?
Although in some ways, the two shows feel like opposites of one another, I approach both of them with a spirit of wanting to create a special listening experience for the WYSO audience while also highlighting amazing music that doesn’t always get the spotlight in mass/commercial media.
Kaleidoscope is my original show that morphed out of a show that I used to co-host when I first started volunteering at WYSO. Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2019, it’s a show that highlights indie rock/college rock/alternative music with a special focus on local and regional music through live in-studio performances and interviews on each episode and new as of this spring, a live concert series.
In contrast, Alpha Rhythms has a long history on WYSO and has had many host over the years. I began co-hosting in 2006 and took over the show full-time in 2010. Following in the footsteps of the hosts I listened to, I try to make Sunday nights follow a mood or a vibe that ebbs and flows throughout the show. On Alpha Rhythms, it’s as much about the placement of a song within a set as it is the song itself.
What is your favorite album of 2018 so far?
For New Age/Chill; Bob Holroyd’s The Cage and Sensitive Chaos’ Walking a Beautiful World are tied. In rock and roll, The Breeders’ All Nerve.
Do you have a favorite artist or album you never get tired of listening to?
I’ve loved Fleetwood Mac and the Beatles since I was very young so I always go back to their catalogs. As far as individual albums, I seem to revisit Delerium’s Karma, Portishead’s first album, and POE’s Haunted at least once a season.
What is your favorite live show you have ever attended?
That is such a hard question!! I worked at a Jazz club for 13 years and could speak volumes about the live music I experienced there, let alone all of the great shows in my local community and beyond that I’ve been able to experience. Getting to see Sonic Youth at Irving Plaza on the very first night of my very first visit to NYC is certainly a stand out, though.
Who is an artist or band outside the realm of New Age that people might be surprised to know you love?
A lot of people are surprised that I love the Neville Brothers and know their catalog really well. My mom is from New Orleans, and so I listened to and saw them in concert many times growing up because for her, and now for me, they were the sounds of home.
What is your best childhood memory?
A lot of my really great childhood memories are of spending time on my parent’s back patio listening to music. My parents are super amazing open minded music fans so especially when I started working in a record store as a teenager, there was a lot of sharing of music.
What event in your life would you say shaped you the most as a person?
Although I didn’t know it at the time, walking into my college’s radio station (WWSU at Wright State University) after seeing a sign looking for volunteer DJs. Although I had played “radio station” in my basement as a child, I never considered radio as a potential career, let along one I’d become intensely passionate about. I have no clue what I’d be doing today if I hadn’t walked in.
If you could choose, what time period in the past would you most want to travel back to and visit and why?
My degree is in Classical Humanities with a focus on Ancient Greek religious practices so I think I’d like to go back to Ancient Greece and see how on or off target our theories about
Do you have a favorite restaurant in Dayton you always make sure to take guests/visitors to?
Meadowlark for lunch and then coffee and dessert at Ghostlight Coffee.
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Never stop being curious.
Dog or Cat? Cat
Cold drinks or hot ones? Cold (she says on a 92 degree summer day)
Morning Person or Night Owl? Night Owl
City or Country? City
Watch TV or Read A Book? Read a book
Winter or Summer? Summer
Dine or Delivery? Dine
Fly or drive? Drive
Pants or Shorts? Pants
Do you have any current favorite TV show obsessions? What is the best movie you’ve seen so far in 2018?
I’m eternally late to the game on TV so I’m just now getting around to watching and falling head-over-heels in love with Veep. Movie-wise, Black Panther was so beautiful, and A Quiet Place and Hereditary were awesome, fresh contributions to the horror genre.
Finally, and most importantly: What is the ideal number of pillows for a good night’s sleep?
3 pillows and at least one cat close by