The DJs at KCPR 91.3 FM, Cal Poly’s radio station, are back and broadcasting live from the on-campus studio located on the third floor of the Graphic Arts building.
DJs have returned from remote broadcasting to their regular scheduling, with each DJ hosting a two-hour show per week.
KCPR has been broadcasting for more than 50 years and serves as a cultural hub by providing new and alternative music for listeners around the world.
Each DJ is responsible for playing music based on the time of day that they are on air, which is categorized into four sections — The Breakfast Club from 8-12 p.m., Afternoon Delight from 12-4 p.m., The Comedown from 4-6 p.m. and The Lounge from 6-9 p.m.
Melissa Melton, or the Afternoon Delight’s DJ Sphinx, bases her setlist off of how she’s feeling that week.
“I love our whole music collection,” Melton said. “I love looking through and finding hidden gems and then getting to share them with the audience.”
DJs are able to select songs from the station’s extensive collection of CDs and vinyl, as well as digitally through a state-of-the-art software program called Zetta. Zetta allows DJs to play from a list of roughly 20,000 songs and serves as the backbone to the station’s sound. It keeps music and programmed promotions airing even while there are no DJs in the studio.
When it comes time for her show, Melton said it’s “such an adrenaline rush” organizing her songs and making sure everything runs smoothly, whilst still staying compliant with Federal Communications Commission regulations.
“It’s by far the best part of my college experience and honestly one of the coolest things I’ve done in my whole life,” Melton said.
Liberal arts and engineering studies senior Jaxon Silva, otherwise known as Action Jaxon, said DJing is a nice break from his STEM-filled schedule.
Silva’s show airs Friday mornings and he likes to turn the mellow sound of his daypart — the Breakfast Club — into something more energizing.
“[DJing] is one of those things that not too many people ever really get to say that they’ve done,” Silva said.
Programming and Music Director Keagan Scott, a.k.a Big Tex, said joining KCPR gave him a community, as well as a place to gain real-world experience creating shows.
Scott’s goal as a DJ and as KCPR’s music and programming director is to make the station “more than a white man’s game” by showcasing diverse artists, he said.
Growing up in Texas, he said he was surrounded by country, Christian, folk and ’90s rock influences, which counteracts the niche of KCPR’s alternative sound. It was up to him to discover the music that constitutes his tastes now.
“I walk a fine line of liking to find music that is interesting to the ear but that doesn’t divert your attention,” Scott said.
Zoe Boyd, a.k.a. The Zoetrope, said it can be scary knowing how many people are listening to her on-air. However, she said she loves being able to turn up the music in the studio and rock out in her own little world.
Taking inspiration from her parents’ love for punk rock, Boyd said she plays “pump up” music during The Comedown while her listeners commute home from work.
Tessa Hughes, or The Blond Asset, said she has been exposed to many new artists and songs since becoming a DJ.
Hughes said she likes to get to the studio before her show to organize her setlist. To expand her listeners’ horizons, she usually plays a popular song followed by a lesser-known song with a similar sound.
“I love being sent new music and exploring new artists,” Hughes said. “I can’t create music but I can share what other people are creating.”
Liv Collom, known as DJ Rhinestone on Tuesdays from 2-4 p.m., said that after three years, the station has become her home.
When Collom was first hired, they said it was intimidating being around so many others who like the same music. Over the years, however, she said she made great friends and memories.
“I guess what we all have in common is loving music and loving art and this counterculture that goes against the Cal Poly mainstream,” Collom said.
Self-described “sucker for the ’90s” Kyle Himmelein, or noisyboi, said he likes to research artists so he can share information about them in-between songs.
“If you’re interested in applying to be a DJ, do it,” Himmelein said. “Even if you don’t think you can do it and if you’re not sure if the time is gonna let you do it or if you’re not gonna have enough knowledge on music – just go for it.”
KCPR DJ applications are now open and will close on Oct. 15. To apply, visit kcpr.org/join.