91 point wonderful, FM

Audrey Hull

Outside of the DJs, and maybe their loyal friends, does anyone really listen to WLFM, the local Lawrence University-operated radio station?
Not really, apparently. Which is a shame, since this year the station is staffed by some of the most enthusiastic, die-hard, music-lovin’ students since … well, last year.
Station manager and junior Bart Borej looks like your typical punk-rock, angry adolescent, complete with studded belt and scruffy facial hair. But stereotypes to the contrary, Bart enjoys a variety of music genres: “You just haven’t rocked until you’ve experienced Fantasy Death Metal.”
Along with the other members of the WLFM staff, Borej receives a plethora of early-release music daily, which serves to expand their taste in music. As the other Top 30 director, sophomore Charles Hagman, said, “I used to be really into hardcore and punk stuff, but in a lot of ways I have out grown that. My tastes change weekly.”
Part of the staff’s responsibility, apart from rocking out on their respective shows, includes sorting the new music and deciding what to play and what to discard. The number of times a CD is played is then charted and reported to the College Music Journal. Finally, the playlist report is factored into deciding the overall college radio charts.
For Loud Rock director Andy Hanson-Dvoracek, perhaps the most difficult aspect of the job is keeping the focus on good music while simultaneously pleasing the promotional companies that distribute new music. He compares this struggle to high school bullies, although he does acknowledge that, without this pressure, many bands would not get exposure.
Among the problems associated with the station, Borej lists lack of funding as the biggest. During one broadcast of a football game, the show had to be stopped due to equipment failure. Fortunately, there have been no problems as of yet with either the staff or the music.
Borej claims that this year, the Lawrentian-operated radio program improves on that of last year. With the aid of the other staffers, he’s sorted the various shows into logical blocks by genre, in order to encourage people who enjoy one genre to continue listening to similar shows. “There’s nothing worse than rocking out to Yngwie Malmsteen one minute and then hearing Yanni the next, unless you’re into that of course.”
Interestingly, Appleton locals are also involved with WLFM. “There’s one guy who’s had an ongoing show for the past couple years,” states Borej. Of course, anyone can apply for a show; stop in at the WLFM office in the Conservatory for an application.
The ideal candidate for a WLFM show, according to the staff, is someone who loves music and who wants to expose a particular genre to the campus. Of course, unless you, like Hagman, “know how to rock out” you might not enjoy the job.
In many ways, WLFM is like any other local music radio station, complete with enthusiastic, knowledgeable DJs and plenty of fresh music. What’s missing? The audience!
According to Borej, Lawrence students should listen to WLFM because of its free and easy access. For those without radios, WLFM is broadcast live on the web. For a full outline of the current shows, check out www.lawrence.edu/sorg/wlfm.

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