March MDs of the Month

Tori Benes & Stan Standridge

WUOG 90.5fm Athens, GA

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The March MD of the Month is NACC’s first ever co-feature from WUOG 90.5fm Athens, Georgia music directors, Tori Benes (TB) and Stan Standridge (SS)!
Tell us about WUOG. How it got started and how you first heard about it.

TB: Well, WUOG has been around since 1972 and we’ve been at our current 26,000 watts since the 90s. I knew in high school that I wanted to be involved in radio once I got to college, so I stormed the WUOG booth at the beginning-of-year involvement fair.

SS: My Freshman year was spent at a different college, but I always knew that I would be transferring to UGA and had an interest in joining the on campus radio station there. I would tune into it on occasion before transferring and got heavily involved as soon as getting to UGA.

How long have you been at WUOG? What is your history there?

TB: I joined five WUOG staffs as an over-eager freshman in fall 2015 and have stuck around since. I’ve been a DJ for two years and I’m now in my second year as one of the Music Directors.

SS: While I’ve only been involved with WUOG since last September, I spent a ton of time around the station last semester outside of the staffs. I’ve been giving back to the station as Music Director since this past January.

What are you most proud of accomplishing/changing at WUOG?

TB:  For the past year I’ve really made an effort to set up in-studios and interviews. We’ve had in a lot of artists I deeply care about, like Palehound and Ratboys among others, and had interviews with some of my favorite artists like Whitney and Dent May. I’ve also taken a lot of time to keep the content of our music blog on our beautiful website ( fresh.

SS:  While my time here has been short, even the small things I’ve gotten done around the station have been incredibly rewarding. From helping on the staffs to working my first in-studio as Music Director a few weeks ago, there’s always something going on here and something to be proud of.

What artist/band are you most excited about who is supposed to release new music in 2018?

TB:  I cannot wait for the new My Bloody Valentine ! I have a feeling that Whitney is going to put out an album this year so I’m super pumped for that, and for the (also unannounced, but I have a feeling) debut album from Barrie. I could go on forever.

SS:  Sorority Noise recently announced a stripped down version of their 2017 album You’re Not As _____ As You Think, which was my absolute favorite album of that year. Hop Along also have a follow-up from Painted Shut due out in April. In terms of unannounced stuff, I’m expecting/hoping for a new full-length from Carly Rae Jepsen at some point this year.

Do you have a favorite artist or album you never get tired of listening to?

TB:  I never get tired of any of the Sufjan Stevens releases.

SS:  Oh boy, there’s a ton. My go-to response for “favorite album” questions tends to err towards M83’s Dead Cities, Red Seas, Lost Ghosts, but it really depends on the day. Other favorites include Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space by Spiritualized, and more recently The Dream is Over by PUP.

What is your favorite live show you have ever attended?

TB:  I saw Sufjan Stevens, my all-time favorite musician, at Pitchfork Festival in 2016. It was such a fantastic synthesis of all of Sufjan’s past sounds with the carefree and supportive energy found on The Age of Adz. Truly chill-inducing. The Apples in Stereo in Athens this past summer was also spectacularly special.

SS:  One of the earliest shows I attended was M83 playing the Tabernacle in October of 2016. It holds up as one of my favorites and one that I constantly look back on. The lights were incredible and seeing “Midnight City” in that context was a sight to behold. This a show that definitely helped solidify my love for live music.

Who is an artist or band outside the realm of college radio that people might be surprised to know you love?

TB:  I’m a massive Madonna fan.
SS:  I am (unashamedly) heavily into Kesha, including her work before dropping the dollar sign in her name.

What is your best childhood memory?

TB:  I used to go spend weekends at my great aunt’s condo in Chicago and she literally lives right next to Lincoln Park zoo so we used to walk around the ape enclosure and go take out these swan-shaped boats on the little lake at the zoo.

SS:  Having a large extended family was always great growing up as it meant there were always people to do things with. Family vacations would be hectic but fun with 15 kids running around campgrounds or beaches having a carefree time. There’s something about being a kid that makes EVERYTHING more exciting so even really simple trips felt like big ordeals.

What event in your life would you say shaped you the most as a person?

TB:  It’s hard to pinpoint a particular event, but I was very supported in my creative endeavors in my upbringing, and I’d say that really shaped me.

SS:  Something that has pushed me in a very positive direction was meeting a group of friends who push me not only to do my best, but better myself each day. Self-motivation was always something I struggled with, so it helps to have other people there to help give me that extra nudge when needed.

If you could choose, what time period in the past would you most want to travel back to and visit?

TB:  Part of me feels like I’d make a great 80s goth and I love the music, so I’d have to say the 1980s.

SS:  I’ve been really trying to nail my late 90’s soft grunge aesthetic as of recent, so probably then. I feel like a lot bands I love that don’t tour anymore were active during this time as well.

Do you have a favorite restaurant in town you always make sure to take guests/visitors to?

TB:  I always like to take visitors to Mother Pho or to brunch at this vegetarian restaurant called The Grit. The building is rumored to be owned by Michael Stipe, so I always keep my eye out for a Stipe Spot when I’m there.

SS:  The Grille is a go-to stop for first time Athens visitors even if the food is pretty average, it’s got a rad vintage diner atmosphere. Alternatively there’s Ideal Bagel for ALL my breakfast needs. The Athens local food scene is wild in terms of options though.

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?

TB: I’ve always taken to heart the advice that if you do what you’re passionate about, everything will work out in the end.

SS: “Let people like things.” Talking down on other people for liking things that you aren’t personally a fan of can spread a ton of unnecessary negativity.

Lightning Round:

Dog or Cat?
TB:  Dog
SS:  ¿Por qué no las dos?

Coke or Pepsi?
TB:  Neither
SS:  Can Dr. Pepper be an option for this?

Morning Person or Night Owl?
TB:  Night Owl
SS:  Night Owl

City or Country?
TB:  City
SS:  ATL Exclusively

Watch TV or Read A Book?
TB:  Read A Book

Sunny or Rainy?
TB:  Sunny
SS:  Sunny

Dine or Delivery?
TB:  Dine
SS:  Dine

Beard or Clean Shaven?
TB:  Clean Shaven
SS:  Clean

Pants or Shorts?
TB:  Skorts
SS:  Shorts (until the weather drops below 60 degrees)

Do you have any current favorite TV show obsessions?

TB:  As dumb as it feels to say, I’m hooked on Riverdale.

SS:  Most recently that new Netflix show The End of the F***ing World filled a nice 3 hours of my life.

And finally, and most importantly, if you received a chocolate bunny in your Easter basket growing up, what part of it did you eat first?

TB:  Ears, it seems like the most humane way.

  Is it a hollowed out chocolate bunny or a solid block? Regardless, I tackle those ears first usually.