Been There, Done That: Pt. 5

btdt5Leyla Aksu

Music Director 09-11

What made you first want to join Radio UTD?
Just being given the opportunity to play music for other people blew my mind. Someone actually let me do that. What more could you wish for?

What were your favorite (or most memorable) events during your time in Radio UTD?
Hmmm…I’d have to say the dance parties. About an hour into the event when everyone just stopped caring, let loose, and it turned into this amazing sweaty mess… The dancing was all sorts of wrong, but no one cared and the music was always amazing. It was the perfect excuse to have a bunch of fun and share music.

Where do you see Radio UTD being 10 years from now?
Everywhere? Radio UTD is still quite a young station and has done amazingly well in its 10 years. If that’s any indication, the station will be bigger, better, more diverse and even stranger than ever, with ridiculous amounts of amazing music to unleash upon the world. I’d also like to think the people involved would still share an unquestionable love for face paint, David Bowie, and bad bowling.

btdt5photo1Alex Langford

Promotions Manager 10-11

What made you first want to join Radio UTD?
During my freshman orientation I ventured over to the organization fair and scoped everybody out. Most were huddled behind their table, sitting sheepishly waiting for the overwhelmed initiates to walk up and express interest in their particular hobby. Then I spied the Radio UTD table with a giant illustrated gramophone and two expressive DJs, one Stuart McAfee and Chris Ostlund, chatting about music and radio with a herd of passersby and sharing their passion for music. College radio is very fun and interesting once you know it, but it’s unsurprisingly hard to make what everyone knows to be a dead medium seem cool. They managed to convey the awesomeness of Radio UTD, and I am fortunate for that.

Sharing music and information with UTD and the world (shout out to you, fans in Australia who liked to listen to the night shows back in 2010!) is what made me want to join Radio UTD.

How did Radio change from when you started to when you left?
Radio UTD grew up so much during my time as a DJ. It was rather small (relatively speaking) and tightly focused when I joined and progressively reached out through the campus, pulling in fresh faces with a gravitational pull of awesomeness and love while expanding to curate for more diverse tastes. Along the way the listener and readership expanded, and physically the furniture, equipment and facilities became more shiny. Also, the number of Golden Comet Awards increased by 200% and the number of CMJ nominations exploded.

What were your favorite albums in the years you were a DJ?
My list of favorites flows like a river and boy is it wide (i.e. there are a lot and my chronological memory is terrible). I remember really liking (not that I ever stopped) these releases from my four years as a DJ: The Dodos’ Visiter, Born Ruffians’ Red Yellow and Blue, Portugal. The Man’s Censored Colors, Beirut’s Flying Club Cup, Foals’ Antidotes, The Apples in Stereo’s Travellers in Space and Time, and Andrew Bird’s Armchair Apocrypha. Oh yeah, and my enjoyment of The Mountain Goats and The National was (and remains) well-known to many DJs. I hate making lists like this because I’m sure I’ve forgotten something important, but I’ve learned that any list of good music, no matter how incomplete or niche, is necessarily a good thing to share.

What were your favorite new discoveries in the years you were a DJ?
I wasn’t quite a newborn calf when I joined Radio UTD, but I entered with a very narrow understanding of music and exited having amassed such ample knowledge that I can tell you how much I still have to learn. That said, it’s amazing to realize I discovered artists like Hot Chip, Sigur Ros, Elliott Smith, the Apples in Stereo, the Thermals and Grizzly Bear while a DJ. Each person had a first time listening to the music they love.

What were some of your favorite memories being in Radio UTD?
-Perusing the new music arrivals before my show, trying to decipher the much-too-tiny text which held the sage annotations of a string of very wise music directors.

-Putting a ton of elbow-grease into one futile, under-funded Homecoming Float idea after another. Year after year we complained about all the time it took to prepare relative to the pointlessness of the actual event, but it was still always a good excuse to hang out, painting and cutting crazy projects. One such entry was the great Bowie army of 2009. We may not have won a trophy, but we did educate many students and staff about the virtues of glam rock (and Martian spiders).

-Gathering to celebrate winning an award in a dining room which has been lost to the recent building boom, waiting to see which DJs would stop to fix their hair in the reflective windows. (Everyone. Everyone did it.)

-Chatting about wonderful things before our late-late-late 10pm meetings, then sticking around after for impromptu listening parties, impromptu dance parties — now that I think about it, everything really devolved into an impromptu party of some sort!

Where do you see Radio UTD being 10 years from now?
In space. No, literally: dance parties on a space station, orbiting the Earth — wait, scratch that — orbiting Mars.

Seriously though, I see Radio UTD physically filling up its awesome new digs and continuing to overflow onto the digital frontier. A lot of the past 10 years have been about building up to reach places that the best of college radio already inhabited. Now it’ll probably be about continuing to connect with the growing music ecosystem of DFW and the world — expanding into the unknown, navigating what is possible and worthwhile for a college radio station in “the future.” Growing alongside UTD; evolving alongside the internet; developing alongside the local music landscape.

Or maybe just playing awesome new music and hosting giant dance parties in an even shinier student union somewhere on campus. Either way, I’m sure it’ll be an amazingly fun part of UTD.