Friday, January 22, 2010

Thematic Radio on KSKQ

Imagine all of the potential themes in these CDs in the library at Flirt FM...

When you are a college or community radio DJ who has complete control over the content of your show, the possibilities can be limitless and often one's radio show can be interpreted as a personal mix tape.

When I read an article today in the Ashland Daily Tidings about KSKQ DJ Maya Seligman, I was immediately taken back to some of my radio shows from the 1990s in which I frequently crafted playlists with hidden word-based themes.

On her low power FM (LPFM) radio show (called "Maya's Mix") out of Ashland, Oregon, Maya selects a theme every week and bases her song selections around that theme. The former college radio DJ (at Swarthmore College station WSRN) has done programs where every song title includes the word "you" and has also programmed shows around the themes of fire, red, holiday, and foreign languages.

I love this thematic approach and have fond memories of the shows that I did back at WBGU (before we even had a computerized way to search the music library) in particular, with themes related to colors, animals, sickness, and my graduate school comprehensive exams (I played nothing but compilations). I also did the occasional playlist with a secret message embedded in the first letters of all of the song titles.

As DJs it's often easy to get into a creative rut and I do think it can mix things up a bit by selecting a theme and seeing what artists that might take you to. What sorts of themes have you done on your show?


Hunter said...

I think my favorite was a caveman themed show where I mostly played either songs about cavemen or stupid garage rock songs about violence or some sort of stomp. I adopted an on-air personality of grunting and poor grammar. One caller called up and said nothing other than a caveman yell, which I yelled back at him.

Maya Seligman said...

What a nice surprise to read your blog. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for the acknowledgment. You ask a great question at the end -- which has the potential to inspire a collective brainstorm about themes! So far my topics have included: mothers, sweetness, the sun, body parts, foreign languages, fathers, cats & dogs, birds, trains, numbers, female names, gold & silver, mister, the moon, states, cities, jobs, questions, flying, drinks, and plenty of others. You can see all the included songs (and hear the recorded shows) at I look forward to staying tuned to your blog!

Jennifer Waits said...

Thanks, Maya! Coincidentally, I just wrote a piece on Radio Survivor about the Dr. Demento Show and that show has also been doing a lot of theme-based programs too. Great minds think alike!