Last Tuesday I was invited by The Knife Ulu Mills, to join her on the radio. Ulu hosts her own two-hour radio show called Tuesday Night Slice where she gets to play some great music and do a bit of banter with her guests. The show in Juneau is on Excellent Radio KXLL 100.7.
I have never been on the radio before. I didn’t know what to expect, but I had been pretty excited about it all week. One of the things Ulu told me was I could bring in some music to play on the show. This was pretty exciting for me. For some reason songs just sound better on the radio and I could not wait to put together a set of songs to play.
Right off the bat I knew I was going to play Local H. My all time favorite band. How could I not play them? At first I didn’t know which song from their albums I was going to play ,but when it came down to it I figured this might be the only time I will ever be on the radio so I wanted to start strong. I went with Bound for the Flour by Local H.
Every song I picked after that was a painful process for me. It felt like making a mix tape for a girl you have a crush on in high school. Each song has to say the right thing and convoy the right feeling. I scrutinized way to long over the right CDs and songs to bring with me. I ended up picking 6 CD. The songs I had picked out where:
- Local H – Bound for the Floor
- Live – Selling The Drama
- Gin Blossoms – Hey Jealousy
- Travis – Flowers In The Window
- Finch – Letters To You
I did want to come with more than that. I didn’t want to give off an impression to people at the radio station that I was an over bearing music Nazi and this is what we have to play. I was also nervous that I didn’t pick out enough music either.
Tuesday came and I drove over to the radio station at 7:30pm. It was an awesome day. The sun was out and it was warm. People where out and about driving in their cars. Ulu met me at the door where we said our hellos. She kept saying that I brought a lot of music with me and I kept thinking that meant I brought to much. We hadn’t even started and I already made a mistake.
We walked up a flight of stairs to the second floor of the building. The first room we stepped into was what I think was called the music archive. This room was stacked floor to ceiling with CDs and Vinyl records. It was very over whelming at first. Ulu let me know that I could use this library of music they had to pick out songs to play on the radio if I wanted.
Next, Ulu took me down the hall to the room we would be broadcasting from. Again this was somewhat overwhelming for me. She sat behind a long desk that was big enough for two people to sit on either side. In front of her she had four computer monitors which I believe where connected to four different computers. She also had her laptop hooked up. She showed me how we could use the computers to search for music that the radio station had digitized and how to add it to the on air play queue. I was also shown how to switch the music source, fade in an out, turn the microphones on and off, and a whole list of other stuff she went through that I have no idea how to do.
After she did her best to make me familiar with the equipment sitting in front of me, we started building a playlist for the first half hour of the show using the CD’s I brought and the music available at the station.
It all went by to quickly and before I knew it Ulu and I where on the Air. She introduced me and I said hello to the people in radio land. We chatted for about 3 or 4 minutes. She said she was excited to have me on the show and I thanked her for having me. It was a real easy back and forth we did with each other and it helped calm my nerves. Then just as quickly as we started Ulu told her audience that I had picked out the first song we would be playing that evening. I replayed with “Yup, the first song we will be playing is “Bound for the Floor” by my all time favorite band, Local H”. With that the music started up and Ulu and I where free to talk to ourselves again.
At some point early on we had the grand idea of make the show that night all about happy music. No music about losing your girlfriend or missing someone special. No, not for us and not for that night. We choose to seek out only happy music for the two hours we would be on the radio.
Making this decision meant that we had to go through our playlist and rebuild it. We quickly went through and replaced some of the not-so-happy songs with something happier. It felt like we no sooner got the playlist setup and then where back on the air. We told the people listening that we had come up with a theme for the night and we encouraged them all to call in and request some happy music. They did.
Through the rest of the night we got a hand full of call in requests as well as some on-line requests.
I was very impressed with how easy everything appears to function at the radio station. Granted, I still don’t fully understand how all the machines work but I think if I had more time with it I would figure it out easy enough.
At the end of the two-hour show Ulu and I got back on the air one last time to say good night. Ulu thanked me for coming on and said I should come back. I told her I had a great time and I would love to come back and do it again. So it looks like I will be back again on Tuesday Night Slice this Tuesday at 8pm.