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What I Love About Being A Rookie Radio Host

June 12, 2009

Tonight, the third of five pilot broadcasts of VoiceBox, my new public radio show about the art of singing on NPR affiliate KALW 91.7 FM, airs. At this just-over-halfway point in the series, I have to say that producing and presenting the show is one of the most satisfying experiences of my life to date.

Here's what I'm diggin':

1. Education. Broadening my knowledge of the vocal music landscape by listening to lots and lots of music and making the acquaintance of many great Bay Area, national and international vocal artists.

2. Championing. Having the opportunity to highlight great work and engage listeners and on-air guests in thrilling discussions about art.

3. Performing. I get a real buzz from being on air.

4. Writing. It's hard work, but I enjoy developing my ideas in script form and figuring out what language sounds best over the radio.

5. Technology. Getting to grips with all manner of software (e.g. audiohijack) and starting to get a handle on soundboard operation. One day I'll be brave enough to delve into ProTools.

6. Camaraderie. The people I work with at KALW, such as Matt Martin, Bill Helgeson, JoAnn Marr and Eric Jansen, are brilliant at what they do and extremely lovely and patient with rookie radio DJs. I feel honored to be in such esteemed company.

7. Unpredictability. There's nothing quite like live radio to make you feel like you're flying by the seat of your pants. For some reason, I quite like the sensation.

8. Philosophy. Singing is something that few of us really think about but that makes many of us really happy. I don't think I'm alone in believing that vocal music, especially when sung as a group, can be a broker for harmony and well-being beyond the songs that people sing. As such, I consider VoiceBox to be important work. I'm on a mission to expand people's listening and singing horizons.

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