My first brush with radio was, as most things are in my life, a well-intentioned mistake. I was a freshman at the University of Utah and in an attempt to find the student newspaper on campus, I talked to representatives from the student-run radio about ways to get involved.
Hoping they could direct me to the paper was futile. Before I knew it, I found myself in training to be a radio DJ with a bunch of other freshman. There I was, a mic in front of me and an expectant senior DJ asking, “Well, what’s your DJ name? We’re making your promo right now.”
Wait! I wanted to shout. I don’t belong here, I don’t know anything about radio! Give me a pen and some paper. I’m a writer!
Little did I know that five years later, my timid, blind, freshman fumbling would lead me to a week-long fellowship with Next Gen Radio in Phoenix, Arizona working on a non-narrated radio piece.
After realizing entirely too late on Monday that my source was nearly five hours away instead of in Phoenix, I dragged my mentor Reema Khrais and sound engineer Drew Jostad on a mini road trip in pursuit of the story early Tuesday morning.
We interviewed three people, got some traditional Navajo food and got back on the road. Wednesday lasted until 3:00am the next day as I transcribed all my tape and forced myself to have a first edit ready by 10:00am Thursday.
This was my first time ever handling a Marantz, working in audition and producing anything for radio but in a whirlwind week that passed in a blip, some days spilling over into the next, I’ve come away with invaluable experience in public media and fast friends.
Life is stacked with these well-intended mistakes and happy accidents that have landed me exactly where I wanted to be. I don’t anticipate stopping anytime soon.