Friday, February 22, 2013

Call me 'show host'

 Reflections from behind the microphone

by Kelsey Mejlaender, Copy Editor

   There exists a fine but much lauded line that separates the public and those the public listens to. In our microcosm of Pacific Lutheran University, one such area is LASR — Lute Air Student Radio.

    Every Friday night, I tune into “Call Me Ishmael” on LASR, one of 19 student-run PLU radio shows. The DJs of “Call Me Ishmael” play a variety of music, including international bands, and give listeners the message to “live your life.”

    I listen with a sense of wonder, because a friend of mine — sophomore Richard Olson — co-hosts this radio show, and I know I’m not the only one listening.

    Last Friday night, I had the opportunity to do more than just listen, however. Richard’s partner on “Call Me Ishmael,” sophomore Katie Ayres, had a family trip to attend. So Richard invited sophomore Kelli Blechschmidt and myself to join him as special guests.

    We were able to pick out songs we wanted other Lutes to hear and come up with topics for discussion. I felt like Dorothy in Oz, peering around the curtain to see how everything really works.

    LASR, located on the ground floor of the Anderson University Center, has a small front room and then a larger back room where the actual shows are recorded and broadcast.

    When a live show is not broadcasting, recordings of previous shows are playing, so students can always tune in. To listen to LASR, anyone can go to and select the “Click Here to Listen” button in the upper right corner to run the station through iTunes.

    Students on campus can also go to TV channel 28 to hear the station.

    Tonight, however, I wouldn’t be listening to the show on my laptop, but actually participating. It was with great excitement that I, decked out with massive earphones, sat on a wooden stool in front of an intimidating black microphone waiting for 7 p.m.

    The first thing I learned is that bad luck is even more commonplace behind the scenes. Technical difficulties plagued the start of the show, as several pieces of equipment decided they’d rather not work that night.

    First, only Richard’s microphone worked, so Kelli and I could only be heard faintly in the background through his. Then the sound of our show was unreliable, occasionally not allowing us to hear ourselves through our headphones.

    By the end though, Richard had ironed out most of the technical glitches, and we were able to focus more on what we said.

    We spoke about love in honor of Valentine’s Day, discussing possible results for a test called “The Five Love Languages,” which Richard posted on the “Call Me Ishmael” Facebook page.

    This was another thing I learned about being on a modern day radio show — social media matters. Instead of just describing the test, or directing listeners to find it for themselves, we merely had to post it on Facebook.

    It’s also a place listeners can post their thoughts, which let us know what people thought of what we were saying while we were saying it.

    Most of the others shows and LASR itself have Facebook pages for listeners to post comments on, ensuring easy communication.

    At one point during the show, I mentioned a friend of mine, senior Caitlen Kay, because she helped influence my song selection. In response, she posted on the “Call Me Ishmael” Facebook page: “so that shout out just made my life. This radio station is officially my new favorite addiction. Thanks guys!”

    If you’re interested in starting your own show, got to and select the “Want to be a Student DJ?” link to find an application.