Interview by Devon Chodzin ’19
DJ: Charlotte Freccia ’19
Show Title: Jagged Vacance
Time: Sundays, 8-9 pm
Follow the jump to read the interview!
Devon: Describe “Jagged Vacance” to me, really quickly.
Charlotte: That’s a good question. This show is different from my previous show in that I’m trying to try something new every week. Whereas last year I felt kind of limited by playing a show very early on a Sunday morning (I was like “Can’t be too high energy!” because I certainly wasn’t feeling very high energy and imagined that my listeners weren’t feeling very high energy either) I wanted to produce a sound that went with just, like, laying in bed or preparing breakfast but now that I have an evening show, I’ve been depending a lot on what I listen to week by week to kind of curate a unique playlist that suits the needs of that week’s poetry, thematically, and not limiting myself by like genre or mood.
D: And when did you first realize that WKCO was your “thing?”
C: That’s a good question! I guess, like, before college, I knew about WKCO because I had a friend who graduated from my high school the year before I did and came to Kenyon and she had a show. I would listen to it sometimes when I was applying to Kenyon. I was like, “This is so damn cool, I’m gonna do this when I get to that school.”
D: Who is that friend?
C: Rachel Arens! She doesn’t have a show anymore but she did have a show her whole freshman year called “Rock in the Suburbs” which I listened to a lot.
D: And how do your radio show and your work at the WKCO blog kind of intersect?
C: That is also a good question, which I’ve now said after every question you’ve asked me, so I apologize. I think my enthusiasm for the radio and my enthusiasm for the journalism aspect of what WKCO does came from an early encounter I had with Stephanie [Holstein]. I was waiting in line to buy books the day before classes started my freshman year and she struck up a conversation with me based on the books I was buying and she was like, “You’re so cool! Let’s hang out!” I was just floored because I thought she was so cool and so poised and so beautiful and I was just like “Me????” And then I went to the activities fair and she was there representing WKCO and I was like, “This is awesome!” So it really piqued my interest in both the show and the blog. Now, I think in terms of, like, similarities for what I produce for the blog and what I produce for the show is I always try to keep a bit of an edge to it. I realize how pretentious college radio can be – almost as a meme. I want to avoid that, so I try to keep it self-aware and, often, when I’m writing reviews of albums or live shows I try to keep a self-aware narrative that provides commentary that is very focused and not too heavy-handed (I hope!). That’s what I aim for, I’m not sure if it’s always the effect.
D: What would you say is like, a highlight of your radio career or a favorite show you’ve done?
C: I did a show a few weeks ago called “Friend Love” and our friend Meredith [Awalt] was my guest and she read the poem “Poem” by Langston Hughes, which goes something like “I loved my friend/He went away from me/There’s nothing more to say/The poem ends,/Soft as it began-/I loved my friend” which is one of my favorite poems and I love Langston Hughes – it was the first time I did Langston Hughes on my show. I just loved that show because the playlist was so good. I’ve been listening to it a lot lately and that’s something fun. Sometimes I have a show and the playlist is so throwaway and I never touch it again and other times that’s not the case. Another highlight is, recently, I did an election-themed show and Henry [Williams] was my guest. We had 16 listeners which is just crazy. That’s far and away the most listeners I’ve ever had. It was so gratifying.
D: How do you feel when you’re on the radio?
C: I feel very at ease, regardless of what is going on in my life. Sundays can be kind of a chaotic day on a college campus. I always feel so grateful to have that hour set aside to really escape from all of the ephemera of my life and to be totally isolated in a very comfortable place, in the basement of Farr Hall, with the lights off, and the twinkle-lights on to the three or four people who listen to me every week. It’s very peaceful and it’s certainly a key to my maintained mental health.
D: Do you have any pre- or post-show rituals?
C: Well, I haven’t been doing it as much this year but, last year I kept a pretty firm schedule of having a guest every other week and then on the weeks where I didn’t have a guest and I was alone I would always write in my journal while I was on air – just kind of doubling the introspective time. Post-show, this year, I’ve been going to the bookstore and doing my psychology reading because I now have an hour of time between my WKCO show and the WKCO blog and I want to be as productive as possible.
D: What can we look forward to from you and WKCO in the future?
C: Well, I hope to continue to expand my own musical taste which will be reflected in my playlists. I hope to diversify the poets that I’ve chosen. I do get criticized for featuring a lot of white male poets and I’m really trying to work on it but it is tough because they are very dominant in the canon of poetry from which I usually select. WKCO is in a time of transition right now. The imminent planned destruction of Farr Hall, our long time home, and place that is very central to our identity as a radio station and almost a brand, is coming. So the new home of WKCO, I think, will be very impactful on its legacy/its continued presence on campus. But I think that this struggle to find a new place is really going to give us some opportunities to expand our reach, to expand our programming, and to find a new identity for WKCO, so I’m looking forward to it.
D: Thank you Charlotte! This has been so easy.
Tune into “Jagged Vacance” on WKCO, Sundays at 8!