I’m an “old school” alumni DJ here on WUSC-FM. I got my start on October 13, 1963 on the old WUSC-AM station with a pre-recorded show called The Night Owl Show; the training show for the “baby DJs” back then. We had to prove that we could “run the board” before we could get on a live broadcast.
After going on to have many different shows on WUSC, I eventually went on to commercial radio and television where I had a long and satisfying career. When I began easing into retirement, I started back at WUSC doing my current Monday morning 10 AM – noon show, The Backbeat Show, in 2010. That is, until the first week of April 2020, when the pandemic forced the university to close down campus to protect everyone from the virus.
On April 13, 2020 when no one was allowed in the station, I moved The Backbeat Show to my online station; Our Generation Radio. In the Fall of 2020, students, faculty and staff were allowed back into the Russell House and the student DJs resumed a very limited live schedule. Still, alumni like myself were not yet allowed back on campus as a wise precaution to protect the students, faculty and staff.
In the midst of that semester, I began to hatch an idea of how to get The Backbeat Show back on the air. I thought we could transmit Our Generation Radio live by having a student DJ pick the show up from the internet station’s live stream and put it on the air. After floating the idea past our station broadcast technician, advisor, and finally, our station manager, I got the green light to proceed.
I brought up the concept in one of the WUSC DJ Body Zoom meetings and three student DJs, Erin, Sebastian and Tyler, said that they had openings on Monday mornings and could help. We collaborated on some testing to get around a couple of technical issues, and on the Thursday after Thanksgiving, November 30th, we were ready to go.
Kodak Slack // The Indie 500
When Rick Wrigley mentioned needing help to stream his show right before the Fall of 2020, I practically jumped at the opportunity to help. In my opinion, Rick is one of the best (if not THE best) DJs we have at WUSC. This opinion is based on much more than just his high quality show, but also his kindness, knowledge, and experience overall in the broadcast industry. Rick Wrigley is a radio king, and I really wanted to help him get back on the air at WUSC.
We talked back and forth about how we would go about getting him back on the air since alum were not allowed in Russell House. During my next show following this conversation, I tested out our idea to see how it would work. Rick had been streaming his show onto his own website, so all I had to do was join the stream and plug the aux cord into the computer in the studio. It worked flawlessly.
Over the next few weeks, I streamed Rick’s show and had no issues at all. He would even log all of the songs, I just had to keep an eye on the volume level. I really loved streaming the show because I got to sit in the station and really appreciate radio for what it is: art. It may sound cheesy, but that’s truly what it is. Rick’s extensive knowledge of broadcast has given him the perfect experience to make his show the highest quality possible. From the flawless transitions to the educational segments (COVID update, weather, etc.), Rick’s show is a gem that WUSC is lucky to have.
I really loved streaming the show because I got to sit in the station and really appreciate radio for what it is: art. It may sound cheesy, but that’s truly what it is.
As the semester picked up, I handed off responsibilities to Sebastian, a fellow DJ, then to another DJ named Tyler. Through this process, Rick and I formed a relationship. Sebass and I have even been to his house a couple times to sit on his porch and hear stories from back in the days of WUSC.
Thankfully, in May of 2021, alumni were allowed back in Russell House, and Rick was able to broadcast his regularly scheduled show on Monday mornings in-person again. I know he missed being in the studio, controlling the board, and everything else that comes with being a DJ. Rick is the most passionate person I know and I’m very grateful that he trusted me, Sebastian, and Tyler with getting his show back on the air.
Tune into The Backbeat Show with Rick Wrigley on Mondays 10am-12pm!
Takurak // The VEGA Core
The opportunity to help Rick Wrigley with his show was brought to me by Erin and Seb, who had been assisting him with his show during the fall and Winter of 2020. Class scheduling would prevent either of them from being available to run board for Rick, so I was asked if I would be interested. Of course I said yes, because who doesn’t love sitting behind the board and jamming out.
Every Monday morning at 10am I would pull up Rick’s show on the computer, transition from auto to the broadcast, and let Rick get to work. For the next two hours, I would listen to The Backbeat Show; the 50s, 60s, 70s oldies show on WUSC hosted by Rick, and make sure everything ran smoothly. Beyond that, my goal was to enjoy the music and learn from a master DJ.
I would frequently text Rick during the show to share a tidbit of information about something he had played or let him know I liked the track. My liked songs folder on Spotify is full of songs directly from or inspired by Rick and The Backbeat Show. I would do research during the week (probably at times when I should have been working on my own setlist) and find oldies’ tracks for Rick to play on The Backbeat. While technically I could have been doing homework while watching the board, I would usually just listen in and dance around. The Backbeat Show is an absolute gem of WUSC’s show list and I recommend everyone tune in.
Assisting Rick by being in the studio absolutely was a silver lining to COVID and the restrictions it brought about. Not only did I get to jam out to some rockin’ oldies for two hours every week, I also learned how to increase my own show’s production value and gained a quality friend through the process. In short, I’ve learned that not even a pandemic can prevent WUSC and its DJs from accomplishing our joint goal of educating and bringing the community together.
Rick Wrigley=Radio King. We love to see DJs helping DJs!
Check out Rick’s specialty oldies show, The Backbeat Show, from 10am-12pm Mondays.
Kodak Slack’s show The Indie 500 is Fridays, 10am-12pm
and Takurak’s show, The VEGA Core, is Fridays, noon-2pm!