26 Signs You Were A College Radio DJ

Because other college clubs just weren’t alternative enough for you.

1. This is what you looked like when you started DJing freshman year…

You were young and all the older DJs seemed to know everything about every record that ever existed.

2. …And this was you senior year.

KING OF MUSIC!

3. There was nothing cooler than being behind the board.

At least on campus. You were really cool!!!

4. This is how you felt about mainstream, commercial radio stations.

You knew they had to play that Top 40 crap, but you were still annoyed.

5. You’ve slept on the gross couch in the station.

Every station has one, and it’s probably been there for decades. You had no idea what the stains were, but boy, did you take a few naps on it. Popular folklore: cat pee, whiskey, sex stains…

6. You remember thinking your station was part-graveyard for ancient equipment.

Old reel-to-reels, tape decks, inoperable turntables. You weren’t sure why they were there, but they were. And they probably still are.

7. Basically, you found acceptance in your music snobbery.

You found your people. They really got the importance of imported Japanese B-sides. Like, they really got it.

8. You knew the best PSAs by heart.

Linda Lombardi / AP

The endangered dugong, the teen hotline, adult ADHD. The list goes on and on.

9. You loved the one sticker-plastered metal cabinet in the station.

It was basically a treasure chest, and I’m pretty sure they only exist in college radio stations.

10. You could name the one creepy guy who called in every week.

He would refer to you by first name as if you were buds or something. Hopefully you had caller ID and stopped picking up. Heaven forbid you’d run into him in person!

11. You didn’t know a single person involved with Greek life.

Seriously, who are these people?

12. And you certainly never went inside one of these.

Party or not. If you did, it was probably a social experiment. Or, at least, that’s what you told yourself.

13. John Peel was your god.

Virginia Turbett/Redferns / Getty Images

We were all going to be him one day!!

14. Sports made more sense on the radio.

You didn’t tune in, but you’d at least talk to these people.

15. You met some of your best friends here!

Music: bringing people together.

16. And if there was any danger of your station losing its signal, you fought like hell to keep it.

Commercial radio stations have a long history of trying to buy FM signals from schools. Universities, with growing frequency, have complied because they view the FM signal as unnecessary — especially in the internet era. But you wouldn’t let this happen, because tradition and stuff. (And sometimes Chuck D of Public Enemy would show up to support you?)

18. You’ve considered getting physically violent when people don’t respect this rule.

THE MICS PICK UP EVERYTHING!

19. You were constantly astonished by the stories of the people who stopped by your station in its “golden days.”

Or you were a DJ during those “golden days” and have these great stories. Nirvana in 1988? Those pretentious twentysomethings were on to something.

20. You knew how to answer the “How many people listen to you?” question at the drop of a hat.

And it was never a number. “There’s no way to check…”

21. You often wondered where students hung out between classes if they didn’t have a station to go to.

The library? Eff that.

22. Over time, you grew to accept the presence of community members.

You know, those old folk who hung around the station and continued to DJ? The excuse was always the same: They had a “following” and therefore were allowed to continue to broadcast.

23. You were intimately familiar with all this equipment.

And were totally aware that it looks like you were operating a giant robot spider.

24. You probably dated other DJs.

Who else is there?

25. You preferred walls cluttered with record art.

Especially if any of it was autographed.

26. If you had a DJ name, it was probably really embarrassing.

Here’s to DJ Chilbo Baggins, may you stay in my cell phone address book forever.

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