Radio Show: Past and Present, Pros and Cons

When I was training to do radio shows during my first year in A-VOYCE, I believed that everything was going to be insane.  Well, I turned out to be correct—in a way, that is.  The radio show is a weekly program that A-VOYCE offers to trained Youths to play music on the radio as well as read pieces about different aspects of Asian and/or Asian-American culture:  Stereotypes, affordable housing, college applications, budgets, and many other topics.  For a radio show, we had to prepare a script in advance that we would have to read while live,  on-air.  We couldn’t afford to make any huge mistakes and we had to meet the almost-two-hour-mark.  In those two hours, we had to have an introduction,  a few Public Service Announcements (PSA),  at least one piece,  discussion(s) of the piece(s),  back announces,  and an outro!  Most of the time, most of us Youths pushed the script-making to the end of our priority lists and we ended up scrambling to figure out what to say while on air.  One of the more memorable topics that I could remember talking about on the WMFO station was about another DJ’s hairstyle and the weather, which was slightly cloudy,  I believe.  We’ve now passed the days at WMFO and we have a new station now, WUNR AM 1600, located right in Downtown Crossing!

Even now, the radio show is insane,  just not as much!  Even though we still have to write scripts, we aren’t actually recording live,  so we can actually make a few mistakes.  The downside to that is the fact that we actually need to edit the show. This brings up a ton of problems:  One;  It takes a long time to listen over the show for errors,  Two;  It takes a lot of time correcting those errors,  Three; It takes a long time to listen over the show for errors again…  Yeah, you probably see where I’m going at with this.  When we don’t record live,  we spend over two hours recording and editing, when we only have a small amount of time!  There are other people who need to use the station and they sure do get angry when we aren’t on time.  I mean, I remember getting out around 6 or 7 at night when we were supposed to get out by 4 or 5.

Enough about the negatives, though, the radio show isn’t that bad!  Even though we have to work out butts off, there’s a saying that sort of sums up what the radio show is like…  Planning the party is more fun than the party itself;  however, A-VOYCE’s radio show, in my opinion, doesn’t quite follow that saying.  I believe that once we, the DJ’s, are sitting in front of our microphones, with our fancy headphones hung around our necks, is when we’re having the most fun.  The thrill of knowing that somewhere in Boston or even somewhere in our surrounding neighborhoods, someone is listening to our voices and somehow understanding more and more of the Asian and/or Asian American culture.  There’s also the thrill of learning how to use the soundboard and editing!  It seems complicated at first, but when you have your friends to help you learn, it becomes a fun and memorable experience.  It’s easy as pushing a switch and setting the volume to the correct levels.  Editing is fun, too because you could cut out parts that would normally make your show sound awkward, such as awkward silences or the infamous ‘um’-word that we all tend to say once we’re recording.  Oh, music playing is fun because almost any type of music could be played, as long as it fit under the two-thirds Asian or Asian-related songs.  I mostly prefer to play Japanese pop or rock music because it provides a much needed uplifting to people listening.  It has a cool vibe to it, it’s probably the instruments or the vocals, who knows, I’m not a Japanese language expert!

Now that I’m a returning Youth, part of the Youth Council Committee, I see now that the radio show is a very core part of what makes A-VOYCE A-VOYCE.  You can’t have A-VOYCE without Asian voices of organized youth for community empowerment, otherwise, it would just be a blank space or…  A-FAYCE, Asian feet of active youth for community empowerment because A-VOYCE would just have a walking tour.  Maybe after reading this you want to ask people to listen to our show on Saturdays, from 9 to 11 at night, go ahead, I’m not stopping you, in fact, I’m encouraging you.  Our radio show needs as many listeners as it could get, so our message could be passed; so our pieces could be heard; so our music could be listened to and appreciated.  It isn’t for us that we have a radio show, but it’s for our community; our neighborhoods; Chinatown, Cambridge, Allston, Medford, Quincy, and so many others!  Thank you for reading, tune in for the A-VOYCE show on WUNR AM 1600!

Eric Tao, Oak Terrace Youth


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