May MD of the Month:
WRUR, University of Rochester
Listen to NACC's MD Takeover on Spotify!
Tell us about WRUR. How it got started and how you first heard about it
I actually have no idea how WRUR got started… and I actually don’t remember exactly how I heard about it. I think I was touring UR and our tour guide mentioned there was a radio station, and then I just got really curious. I just really wanted to know what was going on in there! At that point I didn’t know anything about college radio, I was just sort of drawn to it. Plus, I’ve always loved discovering new music, and so I knew WRUR was the place to go.
How long have you been at WRUR? What is your history there?
I’ve been at WRUR since I got to University of Rochester! I started off as just a DJ for our online radio, with this show where I would play indie/alternative rock/electronic with one film score in the middle. Then I also joined the engineering department the next semester. I became music director last year, and more recently an FM DJ this semester!
What are you most proud of accomplishing/changing at WRUR?
We’re trying to get a recording studio started in our space as part of our productions department, and my first engineering project was to design stands for our acoustic panels so that the studio would sound professional. I’m really proud of how the design turned out! The stands aren’t quite built yet but when they’re built, I’ll know that they’ll be up for at least a couple years, and any recordings we make will be better because of them.
What artist/band are you most excited about who is supposed to release new music in 2018?
So I was super excited for Kimbra’s new album which just came out really recently–I’ve been following the singles and I was just so excited to hear her new aesthetic. I pretty much dropped all of the other albums I was behind on to listen to it, and it exceeded my expectations. In terms of stuff that’s supposed to come out later this year, I’m really excited for Vampire Weekend! I love pretty much anything they do, so I can’t wait for more.
Do you have a favorite artist or album you never get tired of listening to?
I could listen to Marika Hackman on repeat for hours–and honestly, I definitely have already. Her music is kind of fascinating and meaningful both sonically and lyrically, so I can appreciate it on so many levels! She recently put out these two live recordings that are a wonderful listen. I wouldn’t dare pick an album–her entire discography is fantastic and diverse.
What is your favorite live show you have ever attended?
This is a tough one, but I’m going to have to go with the Black Keys. I saw them on my sixteenth birthday in this huge stadium, on their Turn Blue tour. It was just so incredible to see them live. Dan Auerbach did this indescribably amazing extended solo during “Little Black Submarines” and I was just hypnotized.
Who is an artist or band outside the realm of college radio that people might be surprised to know you love?
I actually listen to a surprising amount of EDM, and one of my favorite artists in that realm is Knife Party. They make a lot of really cool sounds, and some of their earlier songs actually have little plot-lines within them. They have a sense of humor that carries over to their music and I can appreciate that.
What is your best childhood memory?
This is supported a bit by my answer to the next question, but I’ve got to say that meeting one of my childhood idols, Mairead Nesbitt, is one of my favorite childhood memories. Mairead is the violinist for Celtic Woman, and I was able to meet her when I saw them live–I had been learning violin for a few years by then, and she was one of the violinists I aspired to be. She can run around an entire stage and dance and skip while playing the violin at the same time, and I used to walk around my house while practicing so that I could do that, too! Everyone backstage was so nice and it was really inspiring to young me to meet her in person.
What event in your life would you say shaped you the most as a person?
When I was pretty young, I played in this violin recital where I was the only student presenting a couple of Irish jigs while everyone else was presenting pieces from classical Suzuki books. It was really fun breaking convention, and after that, I started learning songs in all of these other genres besides classical (jazz, country, rock, etc.). I think that recital and the years it inspired really shaped what I value in the music I listen to, and my personal values as a whole. It also shaped my performance for the better, even when I had to return to classical for college!
If you could choose, what time period in the past would you most want to travel back to and visit?
This might be a bit of a hot take but I’d go back to the mid-2000s. It’s probably because my early years were during this time but every time I hear hits from the mid-2000s I’m reminded of what a ~special~ time it was. Cartoons were at their height (in my opinion, the Danny Phantom/Jimmy Neutron/Teen Titans age of cartoons was the best) and film special effects were believable but not excessive. The fashion might have been horrendous, but it was okay for the time!
Do you have a favorite restaurant in Rochester you always make sure to take guests to?
If we can get a table, I always recommend Dinosaur BBQ to whoever comes up. Their food is just so amazing and smoky, and their portion sizes are huge but it’s worth it every time. They’ve got this incredible cornbread, too!
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
So when I spent a couple years doing tech for my middle school plays, the tech director taught me how to properly shake hands with someone. Not too firm, not too soft–short but not quick, and don’t whip their arm out of their socket. It’s one of those things that isn’t a huge deal but can really make a difference.
Dog or Cat? Dog!!!
Coffee or Tea? Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon
Morning Person or Night Owl? Night Owl
City or Country? City
Watch TV or Read A Book? Watch TV
Sunny or Rainy? Rainy
Dine or Delivery? Delivery
Beard or Clean Shaven? I am genetically incapable of growing a beard, but if I could grow one, I would grow one to hold things in. (This answer is sponsored by our previous music director Abi)
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?
A friend of mine recently got me into watching the Flash, and now I can’t stop. I can really appreciate a good superhero story with well-developed characters and insane plot twists. I’m going to have to go with Shape of Water in terms of movies–I was fully engrossed in the world of that movie when I saw it. I love Guillermo del Toro and everyone who was involved creatively with that movie–it was just so beautiful to witness.
Finally, and most importantly: Has it been your experience that April showers really do bring May flowers?
I’d like to think so!! I mean I’m not really one to talk because I’m from Southern California where the weather is pretty much the same all the time, but from what I remember, that’s definitely true. It also makes a lot of sense that flowers would come after the ground is naturally watered by the rain!