“I don’t want it to die out”: Senior DJs reflect on the virtual state of KWCW

Zac Bentz, A&E Reporter

Some of the class of 2021 has been able to spend their final semester before graduation surrounded by friends and faculty. However, for those who have spent their time carefully curating playlists for shows on Whitman’s KWCW radio station, things still don’t quite feel back to normal.

Senior KWCW DJs have found that the return to their long-running shows has been a somewhat fraught process. Some have adapted by finding new ways to structure their now pre-recorded hour of airtime, while others have abandoned their shows altogether. Now that there are only a few weeks left in the semester before graduation, some shows and DJs seem to have retired for good.

Maya Virshup and Jamie Zwaschka started broadcasting “Strictly Bangerz” during the spring of 2018, and returned to the KWCW studio for three successive semesters until they both went abroad during the spring of their junior year. Although they have not resumed their show, and at this point don’t have a chance to, Virshup says they undoubtedly would have revived it this semester had the station not required the shows to be pre-recorded from home.

“It just feels harder to come up with a set playlist every week and pre-record everything,” Virshup said. “Because we kind of just chose stuff on the spot, and a lot of it was the fun of being in the studio.”

Zwaschka echoed the account of her co-DJ, describing the show’s structure as fairly impromptu and in the moment.

“We wouldn’t even have a plan or a playlist or anything,” Zwaschka said. “It was mostly just songs that we had been listening to that week, and we just switched off to queue the next song during our hour.”

For both Virshup and Zwaschka, the appeal of returning to a show like “Strictly Bangerz” semester after semester lay in having a structured hour each week dedicated to sharing music, exchanging jokes and hanging out in the spacious KWCW studio. While two of these three factors are still feasible, Virshup and Zwaschka say that it just wouldn’t have been the same experience.

Not all senior-run shows have met premature ends, however. For Chelsea Goldsmith, host of “Keep the Car Running” for the past four years, the shift to the new format was a fairly smooth one. With the help of Audacity, a free audio-editing software, Goldsmith was able to record weekly episodes with little hassle, and kept her show afloat for one last semester.

“I’m a big fan of college radio, and I don’t want it to die out,” Goldsmith said. “Especially at Whitman. I think it’s a pretty cool connection that the school has to the community.”

Goldsmith has been living at home this semester. Her father has also been able to contribute to the playlists she airs each week. While his role is currently strictly behind-the-scenes, in the coming weeks she plans to change that.

“In the future, I think we’re going to record some music together, and probably air it,” Goldsmith said.

All in all, while the new requirements have proven a significant burden for some, many are still determined to help keep radio part of the Whitman community.

“Keep the Car Running” airs Fridays at 12 p.m. Visit KWCW 90.5 Walla Walla on Tumblr for more information.