Community members create radio magic

Molly Emmett

Illustration: Julie Peterson

Elvis Costello, St. Vincent, Lucinda Williams. David Bowie, R.E.M., The Cure. These artists represent
a variety of styles, and their differences appeal to a range of listeners. That is exactly what the DJs of
KWCW community shows “I Hung Around Your Soundtrack” and “The Revolution Radio Show” aim
to do: attract diverse audiences.

“I Hung Around Your Soundtrack,” a show named after a mix CD named after a Joy Division lyric,
was started by Walla Walla resident Keisha Winn in 2007. She was joined by her co-host and husband
Ryan Winn in 2010, and the two play an assortment of classic rock as well as a plethora of new bands.
The two especially enjoy devoting airtime to bands they have befriended on Facebook–bands that
would otherwise struggle to be heard.

“We play a lot of new stuff, stuff that’s even below the radar of independent labels,” said Ryan Winn.

Another avant-garde aspect of “Soundtrack” is its multi-media incorporation. Besides streaming at 90.5
FM and KWCW.net on Friday nights at 8, the show is also visually broadcast through a website called
Ustream. This free live video-streaming website allows the DJs to interact with listeners through chat
features while providing a sample of what goes on during broadcast. In this way, the show aims to get
more exposure and attract more listeners.

As evidenced by their exploration of ways to increase listenership, the Winns invest more time in the
show now than when Keisha started it as a side project years ago. Before hitting the studio, Keisha
Winn mixes her shows so that they are ready to be played with a steady flow that will hold fans’
attention. Like the mix CDs that inspired the show’s name, the organized playlists are intended to share
a little of the couple”s musical tastes with the greater community.

“It’s sort of my sanctuary,” said Keisha Winn. “I started it so I could share all the music I love with as
many people as I could. I see us doing this until we’re old.”

Though there is no way of telling what the future has in store, for now the Winns are enjoying the
opportunity that Whitman gives them to express their taste with students as well as community
members.

“It’s encouraging to see all the young people, all the potential. We’re just trying to bring some of what
we know about music to them,” said Keisha Winn.

As an alternative to the Winns’ eclectic offerings, Tri-City resident Stephanie Sandlin provides three
hours of “new, quality and influential”rock during “The Revolution Radio Show” on Monday mornings
at 7. Much like “Soundtrack,” Sandlin’s show puts an equal emphasis on the classics as well as new
music. On her Adult Album Alternative show, Elvis Costello is often followed by St. Vincent or Jack
Johnson. Small record companies also send Sandlin their lastest releases, which she tries to fit into her
show.

“So many stations want to stay safe and don’t play newer stuff. So how do new artists get out there?”
Sandlin said.

Sandlin is a seasoned veteran of the broadcast domain. Sixteen years ago, she began her work with
radio and television. Now, though she lives in the Tri-Cities, Sandlin travels approximately 50 miles to
Walla Walla each week because KWCW allows more freeform programming than stations in her area.
Sandlin appreciates this aspect of KWCW, but she hopes that soon her show will be picked up by a
commercial station that reaches further than the Walla Walla Valley. To make “The Revolution” more
streamlined for listeners and potential syndicators, Sandlin creates her shows the weekend before her
studio time, much like Keisha Winn.

However, the shows are still a personal experience, through which Sandlin interacts with her music
live.

“Most commercial FM stations are programmed for 15 minute listeners, not for those of us who want a
musical experience,” she said.

With her professional approach to sharing good music, Sandlin hopes to provide that experience.

Both community shows thus offer listeners the opportunity to appreciate their music and their
creativity, a quality the DJs agree is a positive effect of the college’s management of the station. The
hosts may have bigger plans for the future, but for now they enjoy the resource that KWCW offers, and
the environment of creativity that surrounds them.