More than just good music taste required

Nestled on Vermont airwaves between contemporary Christian and classical, is the music of UVM’s WRUV. As a student run radio station, any UVM student has the chance to become a WRUV DJ, but it’s not as simple as going down to the office in the Davis Center and asking to have a show; getting to be a DJ is a drawn out process, and according to Emily Major, the program director for WRUV, “only the dedicated survive.” The first step for the prospective DJs is to attend three training sessions over the course of two weeks, which begin at the beginning of each semester or summer, Major said. During these sessions, they learn everything from where things are at the station, to information about radioactivity, which is a log of all the songs the DJ plays, to the requirements for the demo tape that they must make in order to be considered, Major said.The demo tape includes three sets of songs, spoken news and weather, a public service announcement, a sign on and sign off, and a short break “to show off your personality,” Major said. It’s an hour of mock programming put into fifteen minutes.In addition to making a demo tape, those who are interested in becoming DJs also must shadow one or several current DJs for a total of eight hours. During this time, they must complete a “scavenger hunt,” which helps the DJ-hopefuls get hands-on experience using the equipment, Major said, and to learn about technical things and FCC regulations.When Major chooses which prospective DJs to give slots to, she listens to their demo tapes and grades them. “The most important things I look for are the ability to follow directions, even/smooth levels, basic equipment functioning capabilities and finally, personality,” she said.All of this work is to be chosen to have a graveyard slot, which then requires the DJs to broadcast six shows during the graveyard shifts either between 2 and 4 a.m. or four and six am. Alyssa Kropp, one of the newly chosen “graveyarders” explained that the purpose of the graveyard shifts is to get to practice being on the air. For those who are selected, once they have completed the six graveyard shows, they are considered a fully trained DJ at the station, Major said, at which point they are eligible to apply for their own show the following semester. “It’s a long and grueling process for sure,” Major said, but for the twenty chosen graveyarders, it’s worth it. Kropp, who describes her music taste as “what people listen to in college,” agreed that “It’s a lot of time,” but also “a lot of fun.” That seemed to be the consensus among the new DJs. “It was work, but I had fun doing it” Meredith Turteltaub, another new graveyarder said. “It’s something that I like doing so it wasn’t that hard to give a lot of time to it,” she said. Tony Hollop, who said was attracted to the ability to play virtually whatever he wanted at WRUV, echoed the same notion. “It was actually pretty fun because it was something that interested me,” he said. Surviving the training process can be the first step in a career as well, graveyarder and musician Nick Conklin explained.WRUV is “a whole world where they have connections to the music industry,” he said.