Radio X nears 50-year anniversary

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Photo by Tim Eggert / Student DJ Cameron Rhyman plays music in a Radio X studio booth.

Ty Koski

Northern’s student-organized radio station WUPX 91.5, otherwise known as Radio X, is now in its 49th year at Northern. In that time, Radio X has played thousands of songs spanning almost all genres.

Radio X does more than just play music, they have also hosted a number of concert events and benefits, campus discussion, call-in shows to talk about various issues, arranged local media conferences with panels, discussions and workshops open to students and the community.

Niikah Hatfield, a senior ceramics major, is the station manager. Hatfield started her DJ career two years ago and is in her first semester as manager and she says that the station is always looking for more talent to showcase. The station is breaking in new mics and a soundboard this year. The station is in the middle of digitizing its entire 15,000 CD collection.

“Anyone can be a DJ, as long as they are a student or member of the faculty. We currently have 16 DJs but would like to have more to cover all the time slots, it used to be that DJs would have to get up at 3 a.m. for their shift because everything else was taken. Right now we have a lot of open spots.”

There are no prior requirements for those who want to DJ. There is always training for anyone trying their hand at the turntables. Students go through a quick training session before going on the air for the first time.

“You have an hour session with the director and a quick 20 question test followed by an hour-long shadowing of one of the senior DJs where you can ask them anything you might be uncertain of and that’s pretty much it, you’re ready to go on the air,” said Hatfield. “It’s not as scary as it sounds, basically for an hour a week you get to come into the studio, play your favorite songs and share those songs with the community. Not everyone is going to like your music, but that’s okay, you can play whatever you want.”

For those with musical talent, Radio X is also looking to cover you.

“One of our big things right now is, Live at the X, so every Tuesday we are getting a live, local band in the studio to go on air. This is a way to connect to the local music scene and give talented people coverage,” she said. “I have also started a behind the scenes series with the artists coming to the Ore Dock every Friday night. I usually have an interview with the band and ask questions about what makes them do music and that kind of stuff.”

NMU students can volunteer to become a guest DJ by submitting an application through the Radio X Facebook page or by picking up a physical copy at the Radio X studio, located in the University Center room 1204.