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A peek inside WVFI

Kelly Clancy | Friday, September 30, 2005

“Hey there. Welcome back. You’re listening to WVFI: Voice of the Fighting Irish. Coming up next we’ve got some Jason Mraz followed by Coldplay. Here it is, on WVFI.”

Still mastering the technique of a smooth transition period, I fumble with the microphone as my co-DJ, Jane, makes sure that the Jason Mraz single is ready to go. It only takes five seconds of air time to realize that the volume levels aren’t on target and then another five to configure them correctly. Finally, about 15 seconds in (Hey, we’re only freshmen here), we’re set. ‘Curbside Prophet’ is now smoothly streaming across the Internet.

Broadcasting live across the World Wide Web certainly wasn’t something I had anticipated doing at Notre Dame. College radio was a far cry from what my high school radio station had been – faculty monitored, boasting a one and a half mile broadcast radius. There, random nothingness was the on-air topic of choice with a rather haphazardly assembled play list. Here in college, with an actual audience, the set up was a bit different. DJs actually speak to keep interest among the listeners and even have themed, planned-out shows.

When first teasing with the idea of going on air here on campus, I was apprehensive. Would college radio be too demanding? Too nerve-wracking? Too tense? With a much larger audience, would I be able to keep people listening and also be interesting? Besides all of that, who would I go on the air with?

One Pasquerilla East freshman and two brainstorming sessions later, my worries subsided. I had met my soon-to-be DJ friend Jane through a dorm movie night. Eventually, the idea of my being on the radio station came up and as soon as she also expressed interest in broadcasting, it was settled. We could do the show together – it would be great. All we needed was a name, ideas, motivation for a show and a completed application.

We decided to put out to the world what could only be hidden on radio and was obvious in real life – Jane’s Asian heritage and my Irish heritage. We had an idea, now it was time for a name. Potato Wontons? Nope. Oriental Shamrocks? Definitely not. Potato Sushi! That was it. For some reason, it clicked in our culture-focused minds.

Via email, Jane and I sent in our application after some deliberation. Our goal was to keep people culturally focused, to at times contrast and compare Asia/Ireland, to note our New York and California backgrounds, and of course to generally make fun of each other. At the WVFI meeting for show picks Jane and I were anxious to get one of the spots that go to last-pick freshmen. However, our opportunity soon appeared – the gorgeous little blank box labeled “Saturday 3-4 p.m.” We were in, finally destined for the airwaves.

So what did I learn from all of this, in the end? College is all about trying things out and seeing what clicks. No one should let their own hesitations stop them from doing something that may be completely awesome.

Take a lesson from Jason Mraz, who’s got 30 seconds left on the air until Coldplay takes over – don’t worry your life away.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Kelly Clancy is a freshman who works for WVFI. Contact her at kclancy1@nd.edu.