KOXY, Occidental’s online radio station, is home to a variety of radio programming ranging from talk shows to live theatrical readings to music. With around 12 hours of programming a day, the station supports young musicians, DJs and impassioned music streamers alike. Fall 2019 saw the station add many new shows to its roster and continue to play campus favorites.
DJs Prahlaas Das (first year), Charlie Root (first year) and Cole Tremblay (first year) started their show “Put Me On!” this fall after bonding over their shared love for underground hip-hop and rap.
“We focus on mainly artists and songs that haven’t gotten as much exposure or are kind of forgotten about,” Tremblay said. “So kind of smaller stuff, or really old stuff from bigger artists that many people haven’t heard of.”
The three friends always listen to music together and felt that it would be easy to share music with a larger audience, according to Das.
Both Das and Tremblay feel that the show is an escape from the stress of college.
“It’s important to me because it’s just a good time to spend with my friends,” Das said. “It’s almost like a forced hangout time where you can’t be or you shouldn’t be doing homework, and you should just be focused on actually enjoying the music.”
The show also presents a challenge for Tremblay, an aspiring music producer, who said it forces him to always find new music for their show.
Hunter Isenstein (first year) and Lauren Kenyon (first year) began their show “headrush” after finding they had similar taste in music.
“After talking more about music, we realized we had even more common,” Isenstein said. “When KOXY put out their application, Lauren was someone who I thought would be a fun person to have a show with.”
Kenyon said she looks to KOXY staff as role models for her next four years at Occidental.
“All the KOXY people are the vibe I want to be around,” Kenyon said.
According to Isenstein, their show focuses on a different theme each week, sometimes highlighting one artist or a particular genre. In past weeks, they have focused on rapper Noname and The Smiths.
Erin Ball (senior) originally became a part of KOXY her first year because it seemed low-commitment. According to Ball, her show, “For My Fans,” helps her relax and connect with family and friends far away.
“The other week, it was just my older sister in New York and my mom in Washington listening,” Ball said. “We had a group chat and they would text me, and I would respond to them in the microphone between songs, and it was really nice to feel like I was spending time with them.”
Ball said she has downsized over the last four years, as she has stopped preplanning her transitions and making weekly playlists.
“I don’t know what I’m going to play and I don’t know what I’m going to say,” Ball said. “Sometimes I’ll stop a song in the middle and be like, ‘I don’t like the rest of the song, so I’m skipping it.’ So it’s gone from me feeling like I have to be a certain thing to just letting it be what it is.”
According to Ball, the station has grown over her four years at Occidental.
“Now KOXY managers are putting on these incredible shows and having these huge events,” Ball said. “As far as I remember, my first year, there was only the DJs, and nobody really listened. But I feel like the KOXY presence is really big now, and I’m happy to be a small part of that.”
DJ Kate Strathmann (junior) started her show this fall after wanting to be more involved on campus.
“I had friends that have done [it] in the past, and it just seemed like a fun thing to do,” Strathmann said. “You kind of play whatever music you want.”
In their efforts to get the word out about their shows, the DJs mostly self-promote through a combination of social media and graphic design.
“I put it on my story. I text it to friends,” Tremblay said. “A lot of my friends are on the East Coast, so the timing is kind of weird for them.”
Strathmann said she advertises for her show “small angry female hour” by posting on her Instagram.
“I usually post something on my story the day before,” Strathmann said. “I know that sometimes the KOXY account will repost for certain people’s shows, but I mostly just post on my personal accounts.”
According to Isenstein, “headrush” has posters made by a friend in art school studying graphic design. She hands them out to friends and has posted some in certain buildings.
Das thinks that KOXY should broadcast its shows on sound systems around campus.
“I think that the Cooler and the places [around campus] that play music during the day should play KOXY shows,” Das said. “Every time I come into the Cooler, I hear music playing and that would be cool if that’s a show.”
Kenyon said she would appreciate if more people listened to KOXY in general.
“I’ve been listening to some more shows recently and there’s a lot of unique and individual ones,” Kenyon said. “There’s some that are just music, but some are pretty fun and crazy, and I don’t know, I started listening to them more and I enjoy it.”
According to Strathmann, her listeners are mostly her friends who she reminds to tune in.
“I wish that more people would like listen in general because I always have two listeners, and it’s the people that I text and I’m like, ‘Listen!’” Strathmann said.
After being on air, many of the DJs are considering careers in the music industry, while others are unsure.
“Post-college, I think it would be amazing to get to work for Spotify or other music streaming services, but I don’t know if I have the qualifications for it,” Ball said. “I would really like to.”
Kenyon said that she hopes to become a part of the industry as a musician.
“I play a lot of music and I write songs and whatever, so I want to continue doing that,” Kenyon said. “That’s my favorite thing to do, but maybe not necessarily in the radio aspect.”