Thursday, July 3, 2008

Inside Scoop from Dave the XMU Intern

I just found a blog where interns from XM satellite radio are writing about their experiences and one of the interns is at the college-radio themed station XMU. On yesterday's post, Dave talks about his new gig helping put together the "Student Exchange" show, which features a different college radio station each week. He gives us some great details about the inner-workings of the show:

"I suppose I’ve proven myself worthy because I’ve been assigned to help put together the 'Student Exchange' program here on XMU. It is a third party show where real college radio stations get to take over the XMU airwaves. They create a playlist, record their voice breaks, and send it all in to us. It is going to be my job to mix all of these separate pieces together into one cohesive radio show. So far I have been getting trained on how to do this. I have to make sure that all the songs being played on the show have the required data entered, such as artist and album title, so as that it will show up correctly on the XM radio display screens. Then I have to mix all the songs, voice breaks, and sweepers together into smooth transitions. This part is probably the most difficult task I've encountered here at my XM internship because there is a certain art of making completely different songs flow seamlessly, and it takes time to master, but hopefully I’ll get over that learning curve soon."

I knew that stations were sending playlists, not fully produced shows to XMU, but hadn't really thought about the data entry task so that artists and tracks show up on the XM radio screens. It also sounds like Dave has to play DJ a bit, figuring out how to make smooth segues between tracks that may end abruptly, have long fades or are just plain incongruous. Where I hear those random juxtapositions on the show sometimes, where two tracks really don't sound like they work next to each other, it does make me wonder if the station sending the playlist is actually sitting down to do a fake 2-hour show and listening to every track in its entirety. That's kind of a lot of work, so I bet they aren't.

Another thing I wonder about, is how often XMU needs to have music sent to them by the guest station and how often every item on the playlist is already in XMU's vault of music. Maybe Dave can tell us!

On the blog you can read about what other interns are up to, scan Dave's profile, and check out his post about screening music for XMU.

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