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KOUG Radio DJs get a mic check

Nate Nienaber
Photo credit: Laura Dutelle

Nate Nienaber: “N8 AM @ 8 AM”

Psychology and digital technology major Nate Nienaber is complimenting his senior year studies with time on the air as a KOUG Radio DJ, and he’s hoping to lift a few spirits along the way. After hearing about the opportunity his first year on campus, Nienaber decided last year it was time to try his hand at hosting his own show, called “N8 AM @ 8 AM!” on Wednesdays.

As a blend between both music and talk show, Nienaber’s credibility as a DJ stems from his experience listening to podcasts such as the “College Info Geek Podcast,” “Myths and Legends Podcast” and the “Tim Ferris Show.” What makes Nienaber’s KOUG Radio show unique is that the talk show portion primarily discusses motivational topics, such as habits, goals and time management, as well as many other subjects.

“I want to emphasize to listeners that setting goals and learning new perspectives are key in tackling life’s problems. If I can help in some small way I am doing my job as a host. I want listeners to feel energized in the mornings and I would hope that keeps them coming back. Plus, my show is as fun as it is helpful,” Nienaber said.

Nienaber accompanies his motivational discussions with music. Nienaber said that the music is energizing, making the discussions cohesive with the sounds.

Like other KOUG Radio DJs, Nienaber said that practicing effective time management skills is necessary to be a great host, as his other priorities include studies and his job as a student ambassador. According to Nienaber, the shows that he puts the most preparation into are always noticeably better. Yet with a hectic school schedule, it is difficult to produce an education-based talk show backed with research while simultaneously having well-qualified voices come together to discuss these topics.

Nienaber tries not to allow  these challenges to circumvent his opportunity with the KOUG Radio platform. For those interested in possibly becoming a DJ, Nienaber recommebds jumping in and finding your identity as you go, as KOUG Radio is a great place to experiment and try something new.

To keep up to date with Nienaber’s show, visit the show’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/nateAMshow.

Adriana Benitez
Photo credit: Laura Dutelle

Adriana Benitez: “Las Chicas JA”

Currently in her junior year of studying human development, Adriana Benitez hosts KOUG Radio talk show “Las Chicas JA.” What sets “Las Chicas JA” apart from other shows is that the whole show is delivered in Spanish, and provides unique perspectives on various aspects of culture such as language or music.

Inspired by their love for Mexican music and talk shows like “Piolin Por La Manana,” Benitez and co-host Julia Mercado discuss current campus events and participate in challenges like true or false questions on-air.

Despite the great times she has on Friday mornings with KOUG Radio, being a talk show host creates its own unique set of challenges as well for Benitez. As the treasurer of the LatinX Student Association, a student ambassador and member of the College Access Program, practicing good time management skills poses a great challenge for Benitez.

“Being a student with a couple of jobs and being involved with various organizations, I have to make sure I have time for my studies and other responsibilities, as well as make time to prepare for the show with what music will be played and topics that will be talked about,” Benitez said.

Overall, the fun that Benitez has hosting “Las Chicas JA” outweighs the stress. She adds that KOUG Radio is a great platform for students interested in sharing music, ideas or personal interests. To every DJ, whether professional or potential, Benitez says she emphasizes three things: don’t forget to be you, make every show a learning experience and have fun.

Sterling Fletcher
Photo credit: Laura Dutelle

Sterling Fletcher: “Subversive Verses”

Sterling Fletcher, a student ambassador and information systems major, first heard about KOUG Radio through the involvement fair his freshman year. It was not until Fletcher’s sophomore year that he decided to become a DJ with the organization as the host of “Subversive Verses” at 8 a.m. on Tuesday mornings. The show provides a unique perspective on underground hip-hop music, showcasing the types of sounds not heard on mainstream radio.

Big name hip-hop is easily recognizable, as the majority of hits consistently comprise synthetic beats, auto tune and a catchy hook. Fletcher’s show provides a cure for those tired of the mainstream scene by reinforcing the roots of the genre, which derived from jazz, funk and soul music.

In some ways, Fletcher considers himself a Robin Hood of hip-hop radio, antagonizing the dominant, widespread mainstream and giving back to the listeners who are deprived of the genre in its novelty form, with jazz samples and intricate poetry.

“New listeners should expect to hear sampled beats, complex flows and songs about things other than money, drugs and women,” Fletcher said. It is rare to hear underground, local hip hop artists instead of popular icons that are on repeat on major stations, according to Fletcher. Some of the artists Fletcher plays only have a few followers on Soundcloud.

“Subversive Verses” goes beyond what is expected because Fletcher often creates unique themes for his music selections. For example, Fletcher has done a series of region-specific shows, like an all-Chicago artist show. Accordingly, the first show of the spring 2017 semester will be a Portland metro area show.

One of the greatest challenges Fletcher faces when it comes to producing a complete show for KOUG Radio is getting around the notoriously explicit language common to hip-hop. It is common for underground hip-hop songs to have only one unedited version, meaning Fletcher must spend his own time making radio edits. In this way, Fletcher says that, “One show can sometimes take at least two to four hours of editing to clean up explicitness.”

“Subversive Verses” is the only hip-hop show on KOUG Radio. On top of playing music, Fletcher usually discusses each song briefly, providing background on the artists, discussing deeper meaning to lyrics, or describing connections between other artists on the show. Fletcher believes that KOUG Radio is an important creative outlet for students at Washington State University Vancouver. To hear Fletcher tell it, allotting an hour of someone’s day to music is just as fulfilling as painting a pretty picture or writing a gripping story.

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