Lawrence Late dresses up for the night

Jessica Vogt

Three men in full tuxes sat behind the mikes in the basement studio at WLFM this past Wednesday in the earliest early morning, chatting about life and happenings at Lawrence University.
This is Lawrence Late, the radio show of sophomore Drew Baumgartner, whose broadcast runs from midnight to 2 a.m. early Wednesday mornings.
Baumgartner began Lawrence Late last fall in response to a poster calling for students interested in broadcasting on WLFM, owned by Lawrence and operated by students.
“It just seemed like it would be something fun and interesting to do,” said Baumgartner in an off-air interview prior to last Tuesday’s show.
So, he recruited a few friends-co-host Zach Olson and producer Matt Mohns-and obtained a late-night timeslot and the then-freshman started the venture.
“The first show we entered with a one-and-a-half page outline, thinking we’d have enough material,” Baumgartner reminisced.
“But then about 15 minutes in we had to start begging for callers because we ran out of things to say.”
They had technical difficulties with the phones during that show, and Baumgartner remembered asking listeners to call his cell phone.
He would then have conversations with them on air. Listeners, however, could only hear his end of the conversation.
“It was a little rough,” said Baumgartner. “But we try not to take the show too seriously.”
Maintaining this casual and relaxed atmosphere, Lawrence Late has grown into a great collage of humorous skits, “fake facts,” guest interviews and artists, and chill music.
Past guests have included musicians Tom Beneke, freshman winner of this year’s LU Live; Andre Juan and Georgi Petrov, also freshman LU Live performers; Skyler Silvertrust, coordinator of SoundBoard; guitarist/vocalist Harji Bedi; as well as random friends and classmates of Baumgartner.
Silvertrust and Bedi made a joint appearance on the show last Tuesday night during an interview segment featuring SoundBoard.
The two emanated Lawrence Late’s chill attitude with the smooth sound of keyboard, harmonica and vocals.
“It’s never too late for music, man,” he said in the on-air interview.
In addition to real guests, Lawrence Late also has a number of fictitious guests who frequent the show.
Sophomore Dieter Huneryager was recruited last year to play characters invented by Baumgartner and his writers Nick Anderson and Zach Olson.
Last year, Huneryager played the only member of the Lawrence Foosball team, the Shower Peeper and others.
“Most recently, I’ve been playing a guy living in the radio station who’s actually married to the computer, DJ Tron” said Huneryager.
“DJ just admitted to an extramarital affair, so next week I’ll be playing their marriage counselor,” said Huneryager.
Lighthearted absurdity of this sort combines with ingenuity and spontaneity to form the core of Lawrence Late.
The guys sit laughing and chatting in the station, surrounded by old records and bumper sticker-covered doors. It’s a show of personalities-the hosts, the characters and the guests have chemistry behind the mikes, and something about the 2 a.m. hour carries it over the air to listeners.
Said Baumgartner on air just before signing off, “Tune in or call or stop by the station during the show. We’d love to have you!