A Love Letter to My College Radio Station

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If you’ve discovered or read my blog today, there’s a pretty good chance that you know who I am. You’ve met me once in real life or we share an online “friendship” on one of the many social networking sites that I spend a lot of time looking at while hunched over my cell phone. Regardless of how you know me, I’m sure it hasn’t taken long for you to discover that I have an obsessive love for my college’s radio station, Revolution 91.7 (WWHR), in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

I wear my Revolution logo with excessive pride. I have a logo stamped on various t-shirts, my messenger bag, and I used to have a sticker on the back of my beloved leather jacket. My love looks like overkill and high school me would have definitely agreed. I’m a little socially awkward, so it would’ve been unheard of for me to be a walking billboard for a school organization. Four years later, my socially awkward self is still intact; I’m just much more comfortable expressing and celebrating who I am, and it’s because of Revolution 91.7.

My discovery of college radio happened “down the road” from Bowling Green. As a senior in high school, I was plagued with the task of selecting a college to attend. I’ve always been an average student, but I’ve gotten so much more joy out of a creative path. After spending four years at an arts magnet school, I was less than thrilled to enter what I perceived to be the monotonous world of college. I was going to go to class, read some books, and go to sleep. My whole outlook changed one morning when my Dad turned his radio dial to 91.1, which was the home of Vanderbilt University’s radio station, WRVU.

I have a distinct memory of hearing the deejay play Rod Stewart’s “Gasoline Alley” followed by Public Image Limited’s “Rise.” I was captivated with the deejay’s passion when she did a break and talked about her selections. My mind was made up; I would go to a college that had an active college radio station. I had no experience in radio broadcasting at the time, just a fire for the music. The search for my perfect college was now underway, and I knew exactly how I wanted to spend my time.

As luck would have it, I ended up choosing Western Kentucky University as my home for the next four plus years. Other factors influenced my decision to attend WKU, but my desire to deejay at its radio station was still tucked away. I knew no one when I arrived in Bowling Green. I spent my first night in college hiding in my room and listening to “Rain Dogs” by Tom Waits. I was NOT going to keep my door open to “meet new friends” as encouraged by my too perky RA.

The next day, my Mom sent me a post from Revolution’s facebook page encouraging freshmen to stop by their recruitment booth. I marched myself to the bell tower and talked to the deejays who either met my extreme excitement with enthusiasm or incredible irritation. For the first time, I was excited to do something in college; I had plans to attend that night’s recruitment meeting!

My first year spent at Revolution was marked with ups and downs. I was extremely nervous to go on air. I had the desire to do it, but every time the mic would be turned on, the words would just escape. I was extremely shy and didn’t know how to properly explain my fear. With the encouragement of my program and quality assurance directors, I finally turned the mic on and spoke. From that moment on, I couldn’t stop covering shifts. Since we were broadcasting live 24 hours for seven days a week, I often asked to do the three AM shifts.

I spent the next three years as the station’s music director, which is the title I am most proud to have held so far in life. I applied during my second semester not knowing anything about how music directing was operated. With the position of music director, my taste in music totally expanded. I went from listening almost exclusively to bands who had broken up years prior to my birth, to listening to bands who were defining college radio in modern times.

During my time at Revolution, I have served as Music Director, Station Manager, and I’m finishing my time out as the Program director. I’ve met several people who have become my friends for life, and I’ve met mentors that have shaped my life forever. I’ve seen a countless number of bands, had the opportunity to attend the CMJ Music Marathon in New York City back in 2014. I’ve undergone an extreme transformation; I’ve learned how to be my own person and to embrace every aspect of myself.

I’m sitting in the Revolution studio as I write this on the sixth annual College Radio Day. Every time I enter this studio, I am reminded of every countless memory I’ve ever had. I’ve slept on this carpet, I’ve laughed until I’ve cried, I’ve openly wept (sometimes seconds before going on air), danced like crazy, hugged my friends, kissed my boyfriend, spun until I was ill in our tiny little desk chair, hid under the desk to try and steal a quiet moment, had panic attacks, and accidentally cursed several inches away from the microphone. I’m elated to be part of an organization that has made me into a better person and has continued to teach me about the person I’m still becoming.

I salute you, Revolution. Onward now and forever. ❤

Cheers,

Taylor “Queen Elvis” Hodgkins

 

 

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