|The Spirit of Radio|
|November 17, 1996|
Howard Stern may hold the title of King of All Media' now, but the Feff-meister is currently making his own run at the distinction. Besides my presence on the Web, for the past couple months I have been a DJ for my own radio show here on campus. Every Monday morning during the god-awful time-slot of six in the morning to eight it's "Feff in the Morning" on WMNJ, 88.9, "The Voice of Drew University," serving Madison and Chatham, New Jersey. I'm not exactly Wolfman Jack, but the five people who actually listen to my show haven't had any complaints yet. The radio is a very powerful and versatile medium that gives whoever is in control of it a lot of freedom. That's the reason why I'm starting to like it a lot. So I figured it might be a neat idea if I shared with you some of my experiences on the air waves for this week's Whack. The part of the station identification the states, "serving Madison and Chatham, New Jersey," is a bit deceiving. Sure it serves Madison, because the college itself is in Madison, but I'm not too sure that it reaches all the way to Chatham (although it is the next town over). The radio station pumps out radio signals at a magnitude of only ten watts, so you pretty much have to be on campus, or parked just outside campus with a huge radio antenna, to get any reception. However, this lack of reception does have its advantages. For example, I don't really have to worry about FCC regulations. Sure in theory I supposed to follow FCC regulations, but unless the FCC has a van parked on campus, there is no way for them to monitor the station. So if a couple potty words slip out, no big deal, no need to rush to the cut button. And if I happen to play a song with questionable lyrics, well, no harm, no foul. Thus I don't really have many restraints when I doing my show, so it is pretty much me doing whatever I want for two hours. To illustrate this, let me take you through the procedure for one of my typical shows.
Before the show
The actual procedure for each of my shows begins Sunday evening when I come back to school (I usually go home on weekends so I continue my hobby of following high school football). Since my show is at six in the morning, it is the first show, and I have to open up the station. Before I can do this, I must first get the key to the station. To do this I must locate Aaron, the keymaster. In order to find Aaron, I am forced to used my wits to solve a series riddles, each one a little more difficult than the one before it. Kind of like a scavenger hunt. By some coincidence, although, it seems the last clue always leads to Aaron's dorm room. Strange, eh? Anyway, when I get to Aaron's room, I pat my head twice, signifying the official give me the key so I can unlock the station in the morning signal. He then nods, removes the key from his massive key chain which holds the keys to every major building on campus, including President Tom Kean's private massage parlor, and he hands it to me. From there I go back to my room and hide the key in my fire-proof safe, where I also keep my supply of Mike and Ike candies, which are as valuable on a college campus as cigarettes are in prison. Since if I actually went to sleep, there would be no possible way I could wake up for a six o'clock show, I spend the remainder of the night, and into the next morning, playing Pilotwings on the Super Nintendo, although no matter how long I play I can never become certified on the hang-glider.
When six o'clock comes rolling around, I throw all of my best CD's in my backpack, and trek over to the radio studio, which is a very short walk from my dorm. Upon arrival, I unlock the studio, turn on all the equipment, pop-in the station sign-on cart, and I'm good to go. I usually start off my show with Mr. Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra, because at six in the morning that is one of the few songs that can wake me up. After that, pretty much anything goes. My favorite activity is playing with the phone on the air. I frequently check my voice mail on the air, and do my personal favorite, giving people wake up calls. There's nothing more interesting than waking someone up early in the morning live on the air. For example:
Me: Hello, you're on the air, and this is your official WMNJ wake-up call!!
Other Person: Who da? What da?
Me: That's right you're on the air, and this is your wake-up call.
Other Person: Who is this?
Me: This is Feff from WMNJ, "The Voice of Drew University."
Other Person: This is you Doug, isn't it?
Me: Well, yeah.
Other Person: Why the hell are you calling me this early?
Me: I'm giving you a wake-up call.
Other Person: It's six thirty, I don't have a class until ten.
Me: Sorry about that. It's kind of lonely down here, I just wanted someone to talk to.
Other Person: Well read a book or something, let Charles Dickens keep you company.
Me: I did that last week, and the pages to my copy of Bleak House have been stuck together ever since.
Other Person: Man you're sick, I going back to bed.
As you can see, wake-up calls provide endless hours of entertainment. Anyhoo, I finish up my show with some of my music, and then introduce the next show, which is hosted by my friend Marcus "Towel Boy" Dambrose, who plays nothing but Genesis music. It's downright scary I tell ya.
After the show
After my show, I travel back to the keymaster's room and slip the key under his door. From there I return to my dorm and ask the three people who listened to my show (all three because I woke them up) how they liked it. After that I go to my 8:45 Spanish class and sit in a daze, occasionally conjugating irregular -ar verbs when called upon to do so. After that I promptly return to my dorm and fall asleep immediately. By the time I wake up for my 1:15 Philosophy class, my radio show, and especially my Spanish class, seem like nothing more than bad dreams from the distant past. Well I think it is time to sign-off for this Whack, so to conclude for this week, the only better cure for loneliness than Charles Dickens is Solitaire for Windows; two hours of Genesis equals two hours of crappy music (aside from the song Land of Confusion, which had that cool video with the Ronald Reagan puppet); and yo no me gusta mi clase de Espanol.
Now for this week's special feature, Feff's top ten most frequently played songs on his radio show:
10. Mr. Blue Sky - Electric Light Orchestra 9. Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia) - US3 8. Ditty - Paper Boy 7. Babe - Styx 6. 25 or 6 to 4 - Chicago 5. Juke Box Hero - Foreigner 4. Seventeen - Winger 3. Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) - Journey 2. Not the Same - Liquid Orange 1. Nothing - The Fugs