April MD of the Month:

Vanessa Canibano


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Tell us about WMXM.  How it got started and how you first heard about it.

WMXM got its start in 1975 as Lake Forest College’s radio station. It’s student-run and has an assortment of students, community members, and even some faculty, who broadcast their own shows each week. I was wandering around during LFC’s Forester Fair, scoping out various student organizations and ways to get involved on campus, and Fatima Hasan, WMXM’s general manager, was collecting signatures for potential new DJs. I signed up and fell in love with radio.

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

I transferred to LFC as a junior in the Fall of 2016 and started DJing within a few weeks, became an archivist soon after that, and took over as Top 200 Music Director this past summer.

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

I’m proud of the WMXM team as a whole. I have really grown to appreciate and admire the other WMXM MDs and Exec members; we all work together to keep the station running smoothly. And, as time consuming as it is, I listen to every album we receive in the mail. At the very least, I really want artists—especially locals or lesser known artists—to have a shot at hitting our airwaves. I’m not going to turn anything away without giving it a listen first.

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

John Cale is releasing some new music later this year, so I’m definitely looking forward to that.

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

I never tire of listening to the Melvins. Also, anything from Depeche Mode’s discography.

What is your favorite live show you have ever attended?

I saw the Afghan Whigs perform at Metro last September. It was such a surreal experience and left an indelible impression on me. There was an intense aura present that evening—it temporarily eased my chronic writer’s block, which is no easy feat. They’re actually playing alongside Built to Spill on April 12th at the Riviera Theatre, and I’m stoked!

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

The Carpenters. I have a soft spot for easy listening.

What is your best childhood memory?

I was born and raised in Chicago, and most of my favorite childhood memories involve the city. Whether I was catching a movie with my father at The Biograph Theater in Lincoln Park or hitting up a punk show with my best friend at The Fireside Bowl in Logan Square, there was always something to do. Also, the now defunct Uncle Fun in Lakeview was my favorite place. It was a nifty gag shop and gave me way too many opportunities to terrify and/or annoy my parents.

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

There isn’t one distinct event that stands out. Each moment of my life has shaped me and continues to do so.

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

All of them. No, but seriously, probably the 80s. For the influx of lovely new wave/post-punk music and poor fashion sense.

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

I’m a Chicago girl, so there are loads of restaurant options. I’d probably recommend The Chicago Diner, because it satisfies me, and I can be a little selfish sometimes.

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

This might sound strange, but one of my philosophy professors discussed his interpretation of the essential quality of individual success in America and how destructive it is to our identity. He emphasized the importance of human error, personal hardships and failures, and the importance of accepting our flaws. He said something along the lines of, “There are too many people who want to be winners, and they’re never satisfied. Don’t be a winner, be a loser.” It sounds absurd, but I genuinely love that concept. It’s quite Thoreauvian in that there’s an element of resignation, of allowing life to happen without interference, and not dwelling over disappointed expectations. I fully embrace being a loser.

Lightning Round:

Dog or Cat? Kitties
Coffee or Tea? Coffee
Morning Person or Night Owl? Night Owl
City or Country? City
Watch TV or Read A Book? Read A Book
Sunny or Rainy? Rainy
Dine or Delivery? Dine
Beard or Clean Shaven? Beard
Pants or Shorts? Pants. Always pants.

Do you have any current favorite TV show obsessions?

I have such little free time to enjoy anything new on TV, so I unwind by watching things in syndication. Frasier is, and always will be, a favorite obsession of mine.

Finally, and most importantly: Fries dipped in a milkshake… delicious or repulsive?