Jumping into WESS Spring Jam

WESS DJ Freshman Jill Deiley with John Donavan: The Party Percussionist. Photo Credit / Brittney Winfield
WESS DJ Freshman Jill Deiley with John Donavan: The Party Percussionist. Photo Credit / Brittney Winfield
WESS DJ Freshman Jill Deiley with John Donavan: The Party Percussionist.
Photo Credit / Brittany Winfield

By Melissa Valentovic

SC Staff Writer

ESU’s campus radio station, WESS, held their third annual Spring Jam event on Friday, March 20 from noon until midnight. The event involved WESS DJs interviewing local artists, as well as artists coming from areas spanning from Delaware to Connecticut.

Some of the artists performed live on air right in the station. The different artists came from a wide range of musical genres including rap, acoustic, and alternative.

WESS members opened the station to the public so that people in the community could come meet the artists as well. WESS promotions director Brittany Winfield, a junior communication studies major, said it was because of her “fellow DJs that the event was possible.”

However, hearing the news of a possible snowstorm the day of the event immediately worried Winfield. “The day of the event, all odds were against us, having three artist cancellations and several delays with the weather,” Winfield continued, “Despite the challenges, we were able to quickly devise a backup plan and finish out the day on a high note!” Another person involved in helping Winfield plan the event was the station’s music director, senior chemistry major, Chris Symonds.

Symonds said while holding events like this at WESS are no easy feat, at the end of the night it is worth all of the stress. “The best part is seeing all of the bands perform. It’s an experience that you cannot get just from simply listening to music on your computer.”

WESS holds a similar event in the fall called Fall Fest.

The station is the 2014 recipient of the MTV Woodie award for best college radio station. They were up against schools such as Boston University and The University of South Carolina.

Other artists to receive Woodie awards that year included Beyonce, Ed Sheeran and Drake.

One aspect that communication studies department chair and WESS faculty advisor, Dr. Robert McKenzie, highlighted about events like Spring Jam at WESS was that the interviews forced the DJs to go out of their comfort zone.

McKenzie also said that the artists were more relaxed in the Spring Jam setup and that they, “weren’t squeezed for quick and simple answers.”

One WESS member who felt he stepped out of his comfort zone was junior communication studies major Brian Silva.

Silva interviewed rapper Substance. During the interview, they delved into the topic of bullying because Substance mentioned her anti-bullying campaign.

Silva, who was initially nervous for the interview since he does not typically listen to rap music, said, “As I got into the interview, I started to realize that no matter what kind of music, they are expressing who they are and what is on their minds. Once I realized that, I stopped worrying and had a fun time.”

Since this is the third Spring Jam WESS has held, program director Amanda Woods believes the station has found their rhythm on how to run the event. The senior communications studies major also mentioned how they are now able to, “focus a little more on the details like making better recordings of the interviews for artists.”

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