I first became aware of the campus radio station, WVBU, in my first semester (fall 2002) after receiving emails advertising the various shows that were on air that semester. I took particular interest in a classic rock show hosted by a student named Nate Patterson. I made a point to catch the show each week, and took the time to chat with Nate and his co-host on Instant Messenger during the show.
I remember one night Nate was trying to put on a song that had been requested, but he couldn't find the song. It was Baba O'Riley by The Who, but both Nate and the person who requested the song thought the title of the song was Teenage Wasteland (a common misconception). I recognized the error, and IMed Nate to let him know the real title of the song, so that he could then find it and put it on. This was probably around the time I first got the idea that I would be a good radio dj.
I would also often request songs to be played on Nate's show, and I liked to try to get him to put on more obscure songs, sort of as a test, to see what he would play (a game I often usuccessfully would play with bigger, more commercial radio stations). One time I got Nate to put on Close To The Edge by Yes, and he played the whole thing!
Nate began asking me to come up to visit the station during his show, and one week I finally agreed to walk up the hill and stop by. It was really exciting, and Nate gave me a hands-on explanation of how to run a radio show at WVBU. He even let me pick out songs and put them on the air. I was instantly hooked, and since Nate's co-dj at the time was on the way out, I took the spot and became Nate's new classic rock co-host.
We continued the show together in the spring semester (when I first started writing down our playlists), and we informally 'titled' the show after Led Zeppelin's fourth album (which, ironically, had no title). So we were Untitled: The Classic Rock Show. By the end of the semester, Nate, having joined a fraternity, found little time to dedicate to the show, and I took the initiative to run the show when he couldn't make it. I was very excited running a show by myself, and I knew that I wanted to have my own show at that point.
When the next fall came around, I started my very own classic rock radio show, as Nate more or less dropped from the scene. I had a great semester, and each week I played songs with a specific theme, to keep it interesting. I also played tracks from Neil Young's new album Greendale over the semester, having seen his tour over the previous summer. This semester saw my very first blues-themed show, as I was just starting to really get into the blues at this time, as well as the first two parts of the Guitar Gods special.
In the following spring, I missed the introductory meeting and therefore had a hard time securing a spot for a radio show, which was really disappointing. Nate had returned to the airwaves, but his new show had less of a focus on classic rock and more of an eclectic mix of music. He let me guest-dj a couple of times, though, until I got my show running. When I did get started, I began calling my show Zharth's Classic Rock, and I made a point for the whole semester to always close out my show with the song The Last DJ from Tom Petty's recent album. It sort of became my theme song, at least for that one semester. That semester also saw a return of the blues-themed show as well as the last two parts of the Guitar Gods special.
The fall of 2004 was a tough time for me, evidenced by the conspicuous lack of themed shows, but despite my disinterest, I like to think that I still pulled out some good shows.
I returned as strong as ever in the following spring, spending most of the semester preparing for the grand finale, one of my greatest shows - The Roots of Led Zeppelin. This semester also saw the revival of the blues-themed show, which stuck around for the rest of my semesters on air.
My last year at the University saw two great semesters of radio. The fall semester was focused on some of the bootlegs I had bought in Japan the previous summer (including Neil Young, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd), as well as one show where I recreated the setlist from a Rolling Stones concert that I had attended the night before, and a couple of shows where I got a chance to really focus on some of my favorite artists (Robin Trower and Johnny Winter).
My final semester at WVBU was really a lot of fun. Among the many great shows I did were two specials (each two-parters) that I am most proud of, which featured two of my favorite blues artists at the time (and even now) - Peter Green and Michael Bloomfield. These shows I really liked, because they took a kind of biographical perspective, with the focus on the music. I could really see myself doing more great shows of that calibre if I were still on the air today.