Become a DJ

So you want to become a WCWM DJ…

The following is a guideline for the arduous process of becoming a DJ at WCWM. If you are a student or faculty member at the College, and if you’ve got what it takes, read on.

The DJ training process involves both volunteer hours and in-studio board training hours, write an album review, and tape their test hour on the air. Their tape will be submitted to the Training Director, Music Directors and Station Manager and if they have proven themselves to be outstanding DJs, their tape will be approved (with notification by e-mail) and will be put in talks with the Programming Director to secure a show time slot on the official schedule.

Step 1: Volunteer hours

The trainee must complete 6 full hours of volunteer time. These hours can be earned through several different activities: attending listening meetings (attending a 1 hour meeting = 30 minutes of volunteer time); helping to shelve/catalog the music library; setting up before or cleaning up after band nights; writing articles for the Vinyl Tap (1 article = 1 hour of volunteer time). There are many ways to help out at WCWM. Just ask!

Step 2: Training hours

AFTER completing the full 6 volunteer hours, the trainee must complete 2 full hours (at least) of in-studio training with one of the station’s directors. The hours can be done during the one director’s show (e.g. taking up two hours at a time) or done on two separate shows (observing one day, then working the boards on another). First, the trainee should contact one of the directors ahead of time (directors’ names on the online schedule are marked ) and ask if they can come to the director’s show on a certain day–to make sure that the director doesn’t have any other guests on during that particular show.

Note: current DJs can have a trainee sit in on their shows (in accordance with guest policy) but only training done on actual WCWM directors’ shows will count toward the trainee’s hours. Providing training is but one responsibility of being a director at the station.

* From here, the trainee should observe the director’s show for 1 hour and gather information about the show process, how to work the boards, et cetera.
* After this, the trainee should work the boards/equipment for 1 hour themselves. The director should still be in the studio with the trainee for this hour, as it is still the director’s show (choice of music, etc.) but should let the trainee press the buttons, cue up the songs, and handle station IDs and PSAs.

It is generally recommended that these training hours be completed on different days–e.g. split between two different shows (either the same director over two weeks, or different ones, depending on the trainee’s and directors’ preferences).

The director must be in the studio at the same time as the trainee during training hours.

Step 3: Album review

After completing all of their hours, the trainee should come to the station and pick out an album from the current A-list to review. (If there is a DJ in the studio at the time, the trainee should make sure that the DJ won’t need the particular album to play on their show that day.) The trainee can NOT take the album somewhere else to listen to it; not even active DJs are allowed to take A-, B-, or X-list albums out of the station. The trainee should use the CD (or phonograph) player in the station lobby to listen to the album, and can take notes, etc. Or, the trainee could bring in their laptop to upload the album for a later listen. The trainee should put the album back in A-list when they are done, and they can go somewhere to write the review in full.

The review should be emailed to the training director.

Step 4: Recording the test hour

After completing all hours and submitting an album review. the trainee will be recorded on-air for an hour. Once again, the trainee will ask a director beforehand if they can tape during an hour of the director’s show. The difference here is that the director must not be in the studio (in order to really test the trainee’s DJ skills), but must remain elsewhere in the station (in case the trainee turns out to be incompetent and blows up the transmitter). The trainee will record themselves (using Audacity to export an mp3 onto the studio computer desktop) as they broadcast for an hour, doing all the required tasks that DJs must perform–transmitter readings, playlist recording, back-announcing songs, playing PSAs, etc.–and givin’ it their best shot.

Once all of these steps have been completed, the training director will notify the programming director. The trainee will submit a show application to become an official WCWM DJ.