New WLFM program “Damn Gina” talks politics, radio relevance and more

With every new term, a fresh crop of DJs enters the WLFM studio to get their voices, opinions and music onto the internet and out to the Lawrence community.

Among the new batch of shows this year is “Damn Gina,” a talk-heavy, hour-long program Thursdays at 11 p.m. Hosted by freshmen Nick Huth, Joe Krivit and Matt Larson, the show was conceived casually during Fall Term.

“I always dreamed of being able to talk with some friends on the air waves,” said Larson of the show’s initial stages. “But it was always like, I’m so busy, I’ll do it next week, I’ll start the diet tomorrow. But I just kept eating, figuratively speaking.” But the three freshmen persisted, with Krivit finally taking action and emailing WLFM in the middle of last term, and a new show was born.

Perhaps the most interesting part of “Damn Gina”’s origin is the name itself. Huth explained that it started during soccer preseason. “We were sitting there waiting for the trolley bus thing [in Portland] and it was taking forever and Matt goes, ‘Damn, Gina!’ and we’re all like, ‘What is that? No one says that.’ But he says, ‘Yeah, it’s a Minnesota thing.’” Krivit chimes in at this point, “No, it’s not a Minnesota thing, nobody says that.” Larson then explains, “My boss said it a couple times this summer, I just absorbed it, I guess. It’s from Martin Lawrence, a super not-funny person from the nineties […] it’s just a general exclamation, I guess. You can’t really define it; you just have to feel it.” Krivit agrees, insisting, “I think you should just listen to the show.”

The structure of “Damn Gina” is just as laid-back as its inception, an entirely intentional move on the part of the three hosts. The show only has one fixed weekly segment, hosted by Krivit. “It’s called, ‘I Thought This Was America,’ and it’s basically where I bring up something going on in the U.S. that I think is un-American, and I yell a lot. And I say, ‘I thought this was America.’ Sometimes I cry.” said Krivit, with Larson adding, “It goes strong for the first half, then it peters out, and Nick and I make fun of him.”

“We just antagonize Joe all the time,” Huth joins in. But there is a method to the seeming madness. Larson says the lack of structure “is actually nice because we do have one firm footing on the ground, but it’s just kind of random around that.”

And the show really does use this structural freedom to emphasize the voices of its hosts, shying away from playing a lot of music and favoring banter between the three friends. This stress on talking can be traced back to the view the three hosts share on radio as a media.

When asked if radio was still relevant, Larson was quick to answer, “Hell yes,” and his co-hosts nodded in agreement. “You know when you cut out one sense, how your other sense are heightened? There’s no visual distraction, you’re just listening […] I think it’s more exciting. But it’s definitely a dying art, I would say,” Larson expanded.

Krivit, however, had a slightly different take. “People thought radio was going to die when TV came around, and I still listen to the radio. I think good talk radio is really interesting.” But the three believe that radio has moved away from more entertaining, lighthearted content that they favor to focus on news, sports or gossip, a change they view as largely negative. This leads to the heart of “Damn Gina,” as expressed by Krivit: “That’s basically [the show’s] mission, to bring fun radio back to the United States, and so far we’ve been succeeding […]we’ve taken the Fox Valley by storm.”

When asked if listeners have anything to look forward to in the coming months, Krivit announced he conducted an interview with President Mark Burstein. “I haven’t been able to be on the show since I interviewed him,” Krivit explained, “but I want to air the interview soon, and I actually asked him some pretty poignant questions […] it might not be until Spring Term, to be honest, due to baseball.”

But that’s not the only exciting segment “Damn Gina” is trying out, Huth and Larson assured me. “We started a new thing where we eat Doritos every show, a whole bag of Doritos.” If their witty banter and endless energy during the interview are any indication, “Damn Gina” is sure to be an interesting listen.