Editor’s note: The author of this article is a member of KUSF.
Affectionately connected to the slogan “KUSF is not dead!” — USF’s radio station has held its own in the world of online radio. But who are the people that keep KUSF alive? The Foghorn spoke with two of KUSF DJ’s, Aimee Myers and Jenelle Faynor, to get a better picture of what it means to be a disc jockey for our campus’ very own online radio station.
Myers is a senior media studies major who has DJ’d for KUSF since her first semester at school. By her second semester, she was the senior director of the music department.
As director, Myers is continuously growing KUSF’s music library by adding new releases from different record labels. This results in a mutually beneficial system where the station receives more music in return for the air time. She has only two more weeks before hitting her 100th show. A bittersweet milestone, Myers said that she is both thrilled and “crushed” that her college radio career is coming to an end.
Another senior, Faynor is an architecture major that has DJ’d since the second semester of her freshman year. She is also KUSF’s senior promotions director.
Faynor develops KUSF’s presence both on and off campus. All those flyers for on-campus events, new staff shirts and zines are thanks to her creative talent.
When asked how they feel about being DJs, both women have a similar attitude towards the position.
“It really is such a great opportunity to have a platform where I can voice myself and share music with people,” Faynor said.
“I mean, I love it,” Myers said. “I think it’s a really great creative outlet and a great way to express myself. It’s my moment, it’s my music. I’m actually curating a playlist [and] creating something out of the music I listen to all the time. Taking my own interests and packaging it for people to enjoy is artistic expression for me.”
When making a playlist, Faynor said, “I usually like to work with themes or genres so I have very distinct sets in my show. So the first five songs I play will be punk rock, then I’ll have a mic break and then the next four will be 80s new wave. Sometimes, all the sets will correlate or transition into each other but other days it’ll be like 90s hip hop and then jazz.”
Myers also spoke on her evolution as a DJ. “When I first started, I used to sit the night before and dedicate an hour to making my playlist. But now I brainstorm a playlist throughout the week and organize it so there’s a good flow to it. I always make sure my opening song and last song are really good — that they relate to the playlist the most. The last song has the most meaning for me. I want to end the show the most powerful way I can.”
The future of KUSF depends on students like Myers and Faynor to remind people that the station is very much alive. Despite the University selling the station’s FM rights in 2011, its subsequent resurrection as an online radio station sought to prove to everyone that it was not going away. On the dial, 90.3 was a beloved San Francisco community radio station for almost 50 years. Staff and fans alike protested the sale for good reason. College radio has always been a place where new and undiscovered music can rise above. KUSF’s move into digital broadcasting has fought to embody that.
“That’s why it’s so important for us to put on events, like Rock ‘N Swap and showcasing local bands, so we can put our name out there and regain our rep as a thriving station,” Faynor said. “Just within my four years, I feel like we have established more of a presence on campus, especially among newer students. I think as long as we keep putting in effort to engage with the community we’ll continue to expand our audience.”
“KUSF has such a rich history and occupies, what I and many people consider, a really important space in San Francisco’s musical history,” Myers said. “I hope that future DJs and directors continue to honor this legacy.”
Catch DJ Aimee Myers’ show “The Golden Hour,” Mondays from 1:30-3 p.m. and DJ Bean’s (Jenelle Faynor) show “Bean on Air” on Tuesdays from 1:30-3 p.m. at www.kusf.org