Quintessential Kenyon: Student Life, Uncut

College Radio Love

Frances Sutton
April 23, 2013

Four years ago, I met my best friend at a rainy, hectic Accepted Students Weekend at Kenyon College. Both of us were dorky high school seniors and both of us fell head over heels with Kenyon that weekend (if we’re being honest, we might have just fallen in love with The Kokes — their rendition of “Read My Mind” was a major game-changer). We met up with each other in the Bookstore at the end of the weekend and whispered out of our mothers’ earshot, “I think I’m gonna go here, what about you?” “Yeah, I think I wanna go here too!” Then we hugged- our moms totally knew: This Must Be The Place (Just like this: youtu.be/pVrVY540xdc). This past weekend, we celebrated our four-year “Friendaversary.” I don’t know how many people meet at Accepted Students Weekend's and stay friends and I’m not enough of a math nerd to attempt to figure it out, but I like to think it’s a rare and beautiful thing.

Sarah and I both have eclectic taste in music, which has always been a staple of our friendship. We each have unique iTunes libraries filled with “good” music and “embarrassing” music that we both love in equal amounts. Three years ago, we started DJing together on Kenyon’s Radio station, WKCO 91.9 FM and it was a match made in DJ heaven. People who tune into our show may hear anything from Paul Simon to R. Kelly to Indigo Girls to the Clash...we are all over the place. DJing on Adventure Pants (the awesome name of our program) with Sarah has been one of the few constants of my college years and I don’t know what my Kenyon experience would be without it. I know that sounds melodramatic, but it’s true. We have had amazing radio interns who are now family, we have broadcasted to friends abroad/ far away who get a weekly dose of their Kenyon “home” from us, and we have gotten to host incredible musicians on our show because our small school and small station allow for it. We make fun of our small, humble station but looking back on the last four years of DJing, I wouldn’t change any part of my WKCO experience (except sophomore year when we got saddled with the 11 am- 12 pm lunchtime slot…that sucked). 

Kenyon is one of those awesome places where you can find weird, cool stuff that you love to do and no one comes up to you and says “tut tut tut, sorry, you have to pay your dues…maybe by senior year you can have a significant role.” We got to DJ our own radio show as first-years because our school is a tiny, nerdy place that encourages students to do their things with unapologetic enthusiasm.

So let's go back to three years ago, our first spring in Gambier ... Sarah and I wanted to do something special for our last radio show of the year. We invited a lot of musically gifted friends as well as straight-up strangers to play live music on our show. The live music show was incredible: live music is awesome, but live music by our peers on our radio show was indescribably awesome. It is one of my best Kenyon memories to date. Tonight to commemorate that show and to bring our college DJing experience full-circle, Sarah and I are hosting another all live music show. I am excited and nervous and overwhelmed: Will all the equipment work? Will people show up on time? Will people listen? Will we be more or less charming without our freshmen year naïveté? These are concerns that I didn’t even consider three years ago (I was just stoked that some of the seniors I contacted even responded to my email), and truthfully, there’s a pretty good chance that something (or everything) could go wrong tonight (Murphy’s Law is my life).

But even if things do go awry, I will have Sarah Maniates with me, which means everything will be fine. Unlike live music or the WKCO radio stream, she is a constant. The things you do at Kenyon will define your college experience. They may or may not be activities you pursue in the future (for all inquiring minds: Sarah and I are not working for NPR’s “All Songs Considered” next year) but you will meet some of your best friends while doing them, which is obviously the best part (and if you’re me, you’re a lucky son of gun who met her best friend before you're even a Kenyon student).

Thank you to all the people who listen to WKCO and who have tuned into Adventure Pants over the years: we love all of you, we really do.