In theory, I work in hospital administration. Mainly operations improvement, but I was
laid off in January, so at the moment I do nothing, except look for jobs. I’m actually of
thinking of moving out of the health care sector,...instead doing either consulting or
working with local computer companies consulting with health care
organizations...Hospitals are a dead end place to be because of all the downsizing. I
plan to stay in the area because my husband's in nursing school at Duke. Cookbooks,
cooking... theater, drama. I have a background in lighting design, which I have not
done anything with since I moved down here due to time limitations. I like fishing.
That's my one sort of sport kind of thing, if one considers it a sport.
I started at XDU in 1992. I moved down here in 1990 to go to Fuqua and I just didn’t feel I had time right when I came to devote to the radio station. I heard it pretty much as soon as I moved down here. I found it the first or second day...but I was just a listener for two years. As soon as I graduated from Fuqua, I felt like I would be more of a human being and I trained that summer and I started. I worked in my college station up north, at Smith College for four years. I got to where I was missing it, it was sort of like an addiction:..."I’m going to die if I don't get to do a show. I have to share this music with people and everything."...I think it's important enough that whenever Don and I talk about where we might want to live in the future, I won’t move anywhere without a radio station that I can participate in. I just won't go somewhere that doesn't have college, not commercial, radio.
Both XDU and XYC I was fascinated with because they were very different. The college radio stations from where I was from, for the most part, are very rock oriented. When I was growing up, until I went to college, I never heard non-commercial radio, except for occasionally NPR. Coming down here where the playlists are very diverse and people make much more of an effort to educate about stuff other than rock...I really thought that was fascinating. That was really the first thing that struck me...so even though XDU's programming was much more rock-based back in the early 90's than it is now, it was still much more diverse than anything I’d ever heard before.
It's really easy to burn out in college radio if you take it too seriously, which I tend to do and so it was nice to take the two years off and then I was really missing it, I was really having withdrawals from not being able to do a show and everything. So I kind of needed for myself to go back. Don and I actually trained together. We thought it would bring us closer together but it didn't. It was horrible. We did a show together one semester and we figured we'd probably divorce if we did it any longer. Very different musical tastes and different theories on how the show should be structured.
I go through phases where I get obsessed. Obviously when I started XDU, really all I knew was rock and that was what I tended to play. And the first thing I branched out into was blues....then I discovered country...Country and soul are I’m still obsessed with...but I try to play something of everything on my show. I try to make a conscious effort to pull jazz, pull different sorts of world music, pull country, pull soul, pull rock, because I don't feel the show is right unless I hear some of everything.
I don't know if this is a function of people who like to do days or can do days, or if its a conscious programming decision, at least at XDU, it's very clear that we're an easier station to listen to, I think, during most of the day shows. We're more user friendly. We're still diverse, but it tends to be easier for people ...to enjoy the daytime shows. The nighttime shows tend to be, I think because just be nature of how we staff, the nighttime shows tend to be older people, non-students, people who have been with the station for a long time, that's where you hear more of the hard-to-listen to, experimental music and so I think the days have a lot more listeners than the nights. Quite frankly I don't like having to worry about the indecency policy during the day....Some things that I feel important to play, you can't during the day and you just have to be so much more cautious. I find it a little stifling I think.
There are dedicated listeners in the specialty blocks and it's really fun to do those shows because so many people call and they're so appreciative...You really don't get that very much at night. You get requests and things but you don't get people who call up and tell you they appreciate the fact that you do a blues show, or a country show, or whatever and that they listen every week and they know all the DJ's names and everything.
I think that the more diverse we are, the better. But...I think that is what turns some listeners off from what they see as just gratuitously difficult shows because the DJ obviously has no appreciation for the music they just played and it doesn't make sense. I think it’s incredibly important that the shows are diverse because that's the only way I ever learned anything about music, by hearing other people play things...There’s the core set of DJ's, the 20 or 30 DJs who are obsessive about music in the station and who want to learn and make an effort to learn about the music they're playing. and then there are other DJ's, where that's not why their there, and that's fine but they're there to play stuff they like and maybe learn some new things, but they're just not at that point in their life where they're sick of rock yet. I think...some people, may never hit that point, but I mean everyone has different growth stages about what they like in music and what they don't...It's still really up to the DJ. One of the things I like best about XDU is that we don't ask the DJ's to have any musical knowledge coming in. Cause I think that's really important. I think that's horrible to expect people to pick up out of the blue, to just know everything about music, that's just not fair. We have to give people the chance to learn by being DJs. But I do think we need to do a better job of training DJ's once we get them because people right now have to do it on their own... People used to get hysterical because I’d go in every single week for 3 hours before my show and listen to everything on the playlist straight through. One, you have to be obsessive to do that and two, you have to have the time. You cannot ask everyone to make that time commitment.
I think one of XDU's great strengths is the diversity of music and the experience because we'd be boring if we had all one type of community member, or all students. to. It's also I think the one thing that Duke does really successfully, besides Institute of the Arts, I guess is the other thing you think of that's really successful in bringing Duke and the community together because that's always something that Duke's been pretty shitty at. I don't think it's Duke's fault entirely. I think there’s a lot of stuff going on in Durham history that makes it like that. At XYC you must be or have been a UNC student. and so they do have older DJ's because they have people who graduated from UNC years ago, but you have to have been affiliated w/ UNC at some point. It's a huge boom for us that we get their so-called castoffs because I think we get some of our best DJ's that way.
XDU's big weakness is that we've never marketed ourselves appropriately to the Duke student. We're not well supported by the student body, which is a shame and I think that's our biggest problem. But I think what XDU's done is really a necessity because I don't think that there would be enough students to run the station if only students were allowed.
[At Smith], we never ran into the problems that XDU has run into around here, where students actively want to change the programming to make it a different type of station. There was just a live and let live atmosphere. One of the last big battles [XDU] had with the student government was students were irritated that they were paying money to support a radio station that they felt...”does not cater to their needs, that it’s a station that has no meaning or value to them so why do they pay money to support it?”... It's a more conservative campus and I think there is less overall interest in the arts per say than where I came from. I think probably because we're talking about a university versus a very small liberal arts college. If I was going to be really mean and nasty, I’d say it's because Smith is a women's college, I’d say it's the guys fault. There was a gentleman in the Duke student government who took it as his personal cause for the year that he wanted ...to radically change the programming of XDU to make it fit the so- called majority duke student body needs, i.e. play commercial alternative rock sort of things. He was saying that most students just didn't get what we were playing, didn't understand it...Those points were all ridiculous I think. But the valid point that he was making, was that he said "No one even knows you exist." This was where I think he had firing power. "We give you all this money...You are the duke station and no one even knows you're here. Why don't you let people know you're around?” It's definitely true that we were doing a pathetic job of marketing to Duke and I think we've improved that dramatically. This year was a huge setback for us...I think we really could have got some support out of the Duke student community, but with the antenna going down, it's been a lot harder.
We have become so much more diverse...We devote more time to specialty shows, the free format shows are more diverse. We've set up the so-called "non-rock" playlist rule about 21/2-3 years ago it think and that was a big thing. There was endless debate whether we should do that. There were all these angry things going back and forth in the forum. And now it's so accepted. I mean its funny how things change.
We have the strongest set of DJ's on air than we ever had and that has basically progressed on a semester by semester level...We just seem to be attracting the so-called "right kind of people." All I mean by that are people that are really interested in music, wherever they are coming from. This past training session we've had a fair amount of students. I know that Emmy and everyone worked really hard, back in the fall, during freshman orientation, which is why it was such a bummer that t a month after that the antenna went bye-bye. because that was also the best we’ve ever done with trying to get students as they come in, to make them aware of us, to make them feel welcome, to tune us in and come to the shows and it was really going great. it was really impressive with how organized that was and the response we were getting.
We do a piss poor job in Durham...For people who work at the station and the few people in Durham that know about the station it is beautiful, bringing Duke and Durham together. There's so many people who think all Duke students are little rich kids, you know, and no one can think that once you work with Duke students....But I don't know how to improve our status in Durham...the Durham African- American community [is] a really underserved and untapped market. I know that James and Mike have been trying to address that a bit, but just having some hip-hop shows isn't going to do that. places like Shaw and Central, they have talk shows, they have gospel, they just do a better job of reaching out to that. I think that's one thing we're lacking on. We still don't know enough about Durham and its communities. Our talk show was great, when we had it, because we brought in a bunch of really fascinating people from the community...We all got to learn about them and they got to know about us, which most of them didn't. They didn't even know that we were are source for them, for PSA's, publicity or anything like that.
Regardless of the fact that five people can hear us and maybe only 4 of those people are bothering to tune in, if one person hears something that changes their life, than we've done our job...It just depends on whether you value arts of any sort at all. Why should we fund independent documentaries or independent film studies? Why should we fund painters or sculptors? Because if one person appreciates whatever that art is that comes out of it, then you've made a difference in the world. It's the same as anything else like that.
I hate the fact that we are dependent on university funding. It's too much like a welfare recipient sort of thing. I’d much prefer to be listener supported...not to disassociate from the university, but to be able to support itself via listeners so that it could be self- sufficient if it ever needed to be. We're not at that stage yet, we don't have the listening base to do it. But I think that's the goal that XDU needs to work for...It would be interesting if the listeners had more of a voice via funding so that we could make sure we're serving the community - find out where the holes are.
Music, in general, is very life affirming for me. If I couldn't listen to music, I think I might just die. In my experience I’ve found that I tend to like people that care about music. I don't care what sort of music they care about. But if music touches them, then they're generally someone I want to relate to, I want to hang out with, they're interesting, they're intelligent, they care about things and that's really important to me.
Sometimes I feel really bad because I’m like why don't I put all my energy into something more useful in changing things in the community and the world, other things I feel strongly about but where I don't devote an ungodly amount of my time. But there's a lot of us like that. There's a huge core of people in this area who choose to spend their volunteer time at radio stations. I don't think any of us are apathetic, but yet, we've all chosen to change the world through music...Why is that? I don't know, is that good or bad? .