Steve Moffatt '98
upon my arrival in shrevesdale, i had little to do aside from sit on the front porch of sexton hall and watch folks leave the caf...oh, excuse me; the dining hall. i heard from one of my new friends that the campus radio station was looking for more dj's. having no idea whatsoever of where such a radio station might be, the friend and i wandered across kings hwy. to a nearby country station thinking that, perhaps, this was kscl. we were promptly sent back to campus wondering where we'd gone wrong. someone corrected our misdirection, and we headed to the top floor of the union building. all of the doors to the radio station were locked, and loud rap was coming from what i later learned was the office area. eventually, erich nunn, music director at the time, opened the door to the lobby. thus my time at kscl came to an uneventful start. i had missed the phase of kscl with posters, stickers and albums stacked and strewn about by a matter of days, from what i'm led to believe. however, something that sticks in my mind to this day is the sheer amount of graffitti that was found all over the sound tiles and the window frame in the booth. there was always something new to read in that room! eventually that, too, was done away with and we common folk had to write on a certain portion of a lobby wall.
i started my term with kscl as a lowly music reviewer in october of '94, going through 15 to 20 albums a week. not long after, aaron hoppe, then the manager of kscl, approached me about making calls to various record labels and promo companies. it was in that manner that i became known to jeff sperber, then of mcgathy promotions and later of caroline records, as "helper steve"...not quite music director, but not quite nothing, either. the title and duties of music director were formally offered to me in february of '95. since i'd been reviewing albums and posting charts for several months, there was little transition on my part, aside from getting to distribute albums for review amongst a few folks.
at the end of that february, the gavin convention, a national get-together of media types of the commercial and non-commercial sorts, was being held in new orleans. i received open invites from a couple of promo pals: chuck newingham of immortal records and xavier ramos of interscope records. through these two connections, allyson eddy, aaron hoppe and myself were able to see live shows by bad religion, snfu, a then-unheard-of band called korn, pop will eat itself, a totally unknown (yet exceptional, and now unheard of, again) band called prick, as well as marilyn manson. perhaps the funniest memory of that weekend was the trip back to chuck newinghams' hotel after the korn / snfu / bad religion show. with rob goldklang of warner bros. in company on the bus, chuck proceeded to ask the bus driver if he'd drive to las vegas if two kegs of beer and a pound of some drug were brought on board. the bus driver quickly responded with a "hell yeah!" much laughter was had that night, but there was no trip to vegas. lucky for us, as we had no idea who to call for homework (like we'd've done it anyway, right?).
that first year with kscl holds many fond memories for me. i was trained by a lanky, unassuming fellow, lovingly known as c. john to many of his friends, coworkers and fraternity brethren. i gained knowledge by the metric ton from aaron hoppe. i grew to know many friendly and adventurous faces, such as allyson eddy, scot bontrager, david harris, shawn christy, cosmo, katie sigler, shay zeller (and her belly button piercing), leah shafer, kerri doolittle (and her obsession with r.e.m.), james eakin,brooks ann camper, loula burton, chris brown (then still in high school but a regular visitor and album reviewer. shhh: don't tell), as well as countless other names that have passed my mind over the few years i've not seen them. i found humour in many, i grew close to a few, i filled the time slots of many. life was good. before my second year at centenary, i had the joy of being an orientation leader for the incoming class. knowing that i wanted to make a lasting impression on these new folks, i quickly headed to a nearby piercing "salon" and had a barbell put through my right eyebrow. this little bit of urban jewelry, as i like to call it, was no doubt very encouraging to the parents of many new students.
"is that real?"
"no. it's a clip-on."
suffice to say, kscl got some great recruits that year, like vanessa boyd (whose much-braided hair sticks in my mind to this day as screaming "i need to be a dj!"), tommy welch, slater mckay, john thurston, bryce davis and rick ehmcke.
my second year found me working with much the same staff, save for the replacement of c. john groves with bryan manuel as program director. the radio station had always been hot, and i mean almost sweltering, during my first year. as far as any of the older folks knew, it had always been that way. kudos to aaron for getting someone to check the stupid a/c unit! apparently it hadn't worked/been running for years! jeez...go figure... the fellow who fixed the frozen water pipes in the house which i shared with c. john and aaron turned out to be the brother of one of the dj's of lore who had made some commentary about putting president reagan back in the closet after airing one of reagan's weekly addresses. rumours of the arrival of secret service agents at the vast studios of kscl still circulated unchecked. it all had a rather humorous effect.
i could just ramble on and on about albums i liked, albums i threw away without a second glance, people i only knew by phone, dj's who came and went. but that would mostly likely bore the dickens out of most folks, so i'll just abstain for the time being. over those first two years, i found myself swearing off all relations with metallica and haddaway and similar, commercial entities, only to replace them with polvo, guided by voices, non-aggression pact, killing floor, et al. i was installed as station manager at the end of that second year. my first duty: to keep the station running after school let out for the summer. with the talents of tommy, rick, joey stephens, shawn christy and a few others, kscl remained in operation for an additional month. and let me be the first to say that, while the occasional 6-hour shift might be fun, they become more than a bit tedious after doing 3 in a week for 4 weeks!
the following fall of '96 found me and allyson going to manhattan for the always-interesting and informative (and loud) cmj festival. allyson got an album jacket signed by a particular beastie boy and i got to hear les claypool, of primus fame, give the festival's keynote speech. i was able to come into physical contact with wonderful folks like andy conowitz of spongebath records, rik millhouse (who then worked for radikal records), and tracey mollis (then of aim marketing, now of the syndicate). possibly the highlight of that little jaunt north was the nothing records showcase at irving plaze, which marked perhaps the last performance of pop will eat itself. on the bill: pwei, prick, meat beat manifesto, nine inch nails and marilyn manson. as allyson and i had no real love for manson, we were rather humoured by the fact that they had to cut their set short after singer manson slammed his/her mic stand into the head of their drummer. end of set! and let's not forget to mention that we saw from a distance of perhaps 5 feet a fellow by the name of anthony kiedis, sporting his waist-length hair and "g.i. dork"-style glasses.
pretty much the only other thing that strikes my mind about my third year was a little incident with the budgeting side of the student government association, which, i suppose, might've been much the norm for a while. i don't know, and i don't really care. an index of the vinyl closet was started, and i spent more time at kscl than i did at home on the average day. how my time spent there that year was any different from previous or future semesters...well, there really wasn't that much difference. i just knew how to do more things and how to fix more things than before. (make sure the black & red buttons are on above the pot for whatever inputs you're using. that's a pretty safe bet for most static discharge problems, at least.)
for my final year, i found myself back in the music director's chair, much to my relief, with the well-suited allyson eddy now at the helm of kscl. "the stump & squirt show" made fairly regular appearances for some period of time, and kscl had its largest staff ever, to the best of my knowledge, numbering around 51 dj's and at least one official kscl groupie (amy wallis, who'd actually been our official groupie since '94 or '95).
again, a trip was made to manhattan for the cmj festival. i took the wrong shoes for walking and limped for the last two days. vanessa boyd led me and tommy welch through central park at some obscene hour of the morning for such hiking (around 1am, as i recall). after hearing so many stories about central park at night, i was truly terrified by just about every sound...no...EVERY sound i heard. but, for all that trouble, i think we saw fewer than 5 cars and no walking individuals. but for all the walking we did that weekend, that's the part i'll remember the best: good ol' spunky parts leading two little guys through an almost mythical "mugging zone" in the wee hours...
during the final two months or so, a hasty effort was put in on the part of several employees, like chris brown and allyson, to alphabetize the station's music library. while it might not have been much of a task in other years, the cd collection had outgrown the booth by a large margin, so the task was a bit daunting. a catalog was made of the myriad 45's, and a spreadsheet for the catalog of cd's was started.
my time ended too abruptly. i'd rather be a career student and work at kscl than only have mere memories. it kept me sane and out of jail...or something like that. so, here i sit, listening to an old damon & naomi album (for those of you not familiar, they're two of the three former members of galaxie 500, a seminal, college/indie group of years gone by), remembering what i can, trying to drag names of old friends from the darker side of my brain...
ah, yes...the life of a history major. tell me that story, again. only this time tell me more of it...
steve "stump" moffatt
kscl class of '98