Behind The Mic: Brett Michel and Mackee Dimick

Brett and Mackee pose in the KCR Studio in front of their banner.

Morning talk shows can be the pinnacle of a radio station, as they coincide with commutes to work and school. KCR’s Brett Michel and Mackee Dimick have a morning show of their own, “Brett & Mackee In the Morning,” every Thursday from 7 to 9 a.m. To see what the program brings to the air, I conducted a live, on air interview of the hosts for another edition of Behind The Mic.

Since its premiere this spring semester, Brett and Mackee’s show has been different every week. Mackee mentioned that the two start with a couple ideas for the show, but branch out into other topics throughout the two hours.

When talking about the design of the program, Brett said, “Both of us want it to be as honest as possible — if you prepare too much, it just sounds scripted.” I then asked if he had any inspirations for the show or based the program on anything. Brett mentioned that he is an avid listener of “The Jason Ellis Show” on Sirius XM, and he finds some inspiration through it.

Brett also mentioned that Mackee and a guest recently played the Newlywed Game with an NBA trivia twist on air. In the Newlywed Game, two people are asked a question and write down their answers on separate papers. Both players lift their answers up at the same time to see if they match.

In a previous week, Brett, Mackee and a guest did a segment titled “Lakeside Lowdown.” Country music fans beware, this segment, though similar to a top 40 country playlist, was essentially a roast of the country genre.

Although primarily a talk show, music is still an element of “Brett & Mackee In The Morning.” At the top of the second hour, the two hosts each play a song. Mackee may pick something along the lines of hip-hop or electronic, while Brett usually sticks with punk rock. Additionally, the two compile a 10-song playlist every week, titled “Bangers.” The weekly playlist is shared on the hosts’ social media.

Brett, a television, film, and new media production major, uses his production insight to make the most of the morning show. If you haven’t set foot in the studio during the program, you may not realize the scope of production behind it. Every show is broadcast on Facebook Live using two cameras: one that focuses on Brett operating the board, and the other that shows Mackee and a guest. The second camera also captures the background of the studio, which features a banner of the show’s logo that Brett hopes to fill with guests’ signatures. Brett also has a soundboard on his laptop with individual intros, outros and sweepers: elements that are featured on many professional radio shows. According to Brett, the two have “the best intro on KCR.” I heard it, and it’s pretty darn good. Listen to Brett and Mackee’s intros from Feb. 16th and March 9th, respectively, below. 

 

I then asked the two if they had any big plans for the show in the future. Brett expressed his desire for a third voice to be featured on the morning program. The two also talked of doing a Family Feud segment, and possibly incorporating it into Music on the Mesa (KCR’s weekly event during the farmer’s market). On top of that, Brett mentioned hosting a dog race, similar to the “weiner” dog races seen on TV, and covering that through KCR. Interesting ambitions to say the least, but I (and many others, I’m sure) would like to see them happen.

Brett, the KCR Graphics Director, also mentioned his new video series, “Overdressed.” The comedic videos are featured on KCR’s YouTube page and the video page of this blog. Brett is a second year junior at San Diego State University. He said that his favorite aspect of hosting the show is “taking something and making it professional to say, ‘Hey look at what we did.’”

Mackee, an international business major, told me that his favorite part about the show is the creative freedom he has when talking on air for two hours. He said that during the show, he is able to have a good time.

If you’re up early enough, you can catch “Brett & Mackee In The Morning” every Thursday from 7 to 9 a.m. on KCR College Radio. If you’re not, you can listen to full shows and show highlights on their YouTube page. Check them out on Twitter and Facebook, too. 

In addition, you can find your favorite DJs on our KCR schedule.

Featured Image: Brett and Mackee focus on production value for their weekly talk show. Photo by Sumner Shorey.

Behind The Mic: Rob Rubalcaba

Rob Rubalaba stands outside the Love Library on a sunny afternoon.

When it comes to student organizations on campus, you usually don’t expect professors to be involved. That isn’t the case with KCR College Radio. KCR has Rob Rubalcaba, a math professor at SDSU and San Diego City College, in the studio every Friday from 9 to 10 p.m. I was fortunate enough to ask Rob, also known as Professor Shadow, a few questions for another edition of Behind the Mic. 

Rob’s music show, appropriately named “The Pregame,” is geared toward people who are going out (to bars), he said. If you tune in, you can expect to hear a plethora of golden-age hip hop, and songs sampled by hip hop artists, such as The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Big Poppa,” which samples The Isley Brothers’ “Between The Sheets.” Rob made it clear that he doesn’t play obscure tracks. He said, “I want to keep people interested” by playing music that is known.

“It drives me, I just get this kick of energy from being able to share music.”

Rob, an SDSU grad of 1999, expressed the passion that drives every show he does, all of which are unique.

Rob said that the biggest steps in preparing for his shows are visiting record shops, hunting for the sample records, and then converting the samples to a digital file. He noted that occasionally he skips the conversion and brings the records with him to the studio to throw onto his turntable, a practice that he’s been familiar with for four years.

When I asked Rob about his interest in music and being a DJ, he told me it began at Auburn University during his graduate years. There, Rob started collecting music digitally and making mixes. Simultaneously, Rob was a DJ on Auburn’s WEGL 91.1 FM, the on-campus radio station.

Curious to see what the differences were between WEGL and KCR, I asked Rob what those years were like at the Alabama studio. He mentioned that the station functioned more rigidly than KCR. It required DJs to go through a year of training to fully understand the practices of the studio, such as running the board, before having their own show. Rob followed up by saying he was very happy that KCR gave DJs the “creative freedom” to find new music and share it.

To stand out, Rob plays a continuous mix of music for his whole hour. He may mention a few of the songs and artists at the beginning, but the rest of his show is a solid block of mixed music. Songs flowing into one another, record scratching, matching beats – everything that Rob does when he DJs at bars, he does on his show.

Rob’s chronicle of disc-jockeying at bars began with DJing for two years at Graffiti Beach’s monthly art shows. Alongside doing the boutique store’s shows, Rob would DJ local events in the South Park neighborhood. Rob’s big break came when he got into North Park’s bar and lounge, Bluefoot. There, he held a monthly set, originally called “The Sunday Hangover,” which included a mix of soul and funk. Shortly thereafter, Rob was picked up by another bar, El Dorado, which he has now been at for nearly a year. Beyond that, Rob also DJs at Seven Grand, a whiskey bar in North Park.

The experience of operating turntables at bars can vary depending on where you DJ, according to Rob. He said that some bars want specific music to be played, tracks that aren’t heard anywhere else. However, some bars, like Bluefoot, let Rob pick his own music for the night.

Rob mentioned that as a DJ, he sets the mood for the bar. He can make a slow night turn to a fun party and switch a busy night into a chill evening.

I had to ask about his teaching, and when I did, Rob mentioned, “I love being able to take math that most students don’t like…and  making it exciting for them.” Rob elaborated, saying that he shows students how math is done with music and art, subjects that his students can connect to. “I love walking in to a classroom and seeing smiling faces, especially for a math class,” he said.

One of Rob’s favorite things about SDSU is seeing his past students around campus, with some even getting out of food lines to say hi to their former professor.

Reiterating the love he has for both teaching and his show, Rob said “I’m getting to do what I love day and night.”

You can experience “The Pregame” every Friday from 9  to 10 p.m.

In addition, you can find your favorite DJs on our KCR schedule.

Featured image: Rob Rubalcaba loves to be a part of the campus he teaches at by being involved with KCR. Photo by Sumner Shorey.

Behind the Mic: Aniel Roderickz and Cassidy Ta

Aniel and Cassidy in the SDSU Student Union.

Mondays can be difficult to get through, but KCR aims to alleviate some of that stress with its show lineup, including “Sleepy Solarium,” which airs in the afternoon from 1 to 2. I joined the hosts, Aniel Roderickz and Cassidy Ta, for an interview to see what voices were behind the mic.

Aniel, a senior at SDSU, said that he started “Sleepy Solarium” a couple semesters ago, and primarily played indie rock and alternative. The music playlist has since changed, according to both Cassidy and Aniel. This semester, you can expect to hear a variety of pop, EDM, hip hop and more. Aniel said that he doesn’t necessarily build a playlist for each show. Instead, he spontaneously selects songs while on air. Friends of both Aniel and Cassidy influence which songs are played, as they frequently submit song requests.

When I asked what made their show unique, both hosts had answers for me. Cassidy explained that she does a segment in which she reacts to different music videos, most recently The xx’s video for “On Hold.” Reaction videos, a trend on YouTube, prove to be entertaining; Cassidy brings the trend to KCR’s airwaves. Aniel mentioned that he features a song of the week on every show. Additionally, the two notify listeners of local shows, providing details such as the lineups, venue and prices.

Aniel said that “feeding music to people’s ears” is his favorite part of hosting the show. He explained that having a show allows his friends to experience the music that he likes and recommends. He expressed that “Sleepy Solarium” is a relaxed hour, which I bet many could use on a Monday.

Cassidy, a sophomore and business management major, mentioned that she is the Director of Sponsorships for the Aztec Music Group, a student organization that connects music and business. Aztec Music Group hosts an annual silent disco in Montezuma Hall and is having an “Entertainment Industry Panel” on Feb. 23rd. More details can be found on AMG’s Facebook page

In his fourth semester with KCR, Aniel, an MIS (management information systems) major, shares his personal connection to music. He said that he recently just filled in on the drums at a show for Hand Drawn Tree, an indie alternative band from Chula Vista, CA. Sempra Sol is Aniel’s own indietronica band. Aniel says he writes and produces all of the music, and sings and plays guitar for the band.

You can listen to Aniel and Cassidy on their show, “Sleepy Solarium,” every Monday at 1 p.m. on KCR College Radio.

In addition, you can find your favorite DJs on our KCR schedule.

Featured Image: Aniel Roderickz and Cassidy Ta play a variety of music on their show, which nearly every listener can appreciate. Photo by Sumner Shorey.

Sounds of State-Ava Anderson and Caleb Minnick

Friday the 20th I met up with Ava Anderson and her cohost Caleb Minnick for the second interview of the semester. It was late Friday morning and the weather was perfect, we met at the KCR studio and proceeded to an unoccupied classroom to have what turned out to be the longest interview I’ve conducted so far. Ava and Caleb were both very outgoing and talkative, probably why the interview went on so long. You can tell how they come across on air, try to cram as much information about their interest and love for music as possible in between song breaks. In full disclosure, the audio was rather difficult to transcribe because they kept talking over each other in their eagerness to answer my questions. On a couple of occasions they indeed finished each others sentences in an attempt to steer the conversation their way. It made for a very fun interview, but for the sake of legibility I edited this interview a bit more than usual. I did try to keep as much of the banter in tact as possible. With that being said, on to the interview:

Cameron Satterlee: Hello, we are sitting here today for the next radio interview. I am with Ava and Caleb. So what is your radio time in our new semester?

Caleb Minnick: We do it on Mondays from 3 to 5. I just actually had to think about that cause we’ve only done one show so far (laughs). But yes that is correct.

Ava Anderson: Yeah Funday Monday. I guess that’s our new day. We were on Taco Tuesday last semester so we had to make a name for Monday.

CM: Or Manic Monday (laughs)

AA: Manic Monday! I like Manic Monday.

CM: Who does that song?

AA: The Bangels.

CM: Aha. Well anyway.

AA: Yeah let’s get back to the interview.

CS: I can tell this is gonna be fun already. So the two of you have DJ names correct?

CM: Yes. I am DJ Trust Fund.

AA: And I’m the Avacado.

CS: DJ Trust Fund and the Avacado?

CM: Basically I had that name to mock the people that go to these huge EDM concerts to see these DJs that they don’t know anything about. So this DJ name would mock them for their statuses as people on trust funds going to college. Very complicated (laughs)

CS: Well hey it’s part of your radio identity now. It’s good that you have a whole story I think.

AA: My name was my nickname in high school. Out of the many names I had in high school that was really the only one that I actually liked.

CM: Did you have other sinister nicknames or what?

AA: Well people would call me Flava or Ava Ave yeah, or Eva from Wall-E, it got really old. But Avacado, that one I just thought was funny. It was acceptable.

CS: (Laughs) alright well how long have the two of you been with KCR?

CM: Just since the semester before this one.

CS: Oh alright.

AA: Yeah we’re newbies.

CS: Well you’ve had a whole semester though which is nice. So you have an idea about the kind of music you play since you are a music show.

AA (sarcastically): Rap. Just lots and lots of rap.

CM: Yeah I don’t think I’ve played any rap so far. I mostly play indie rock, electronica, just random things I find on the internet. That’s what I go for. And I don’t mean indie like Mumford and Sons, but bands that are actually doing things differently than what you’d normally hear. And Ava, she’s got her own genre.

AA: Well alternative is so generic now. Literally you could have reggae to rock to Mumford and Sons but it’s all under alternative. But really I play alternative, indie, 80’s and 90’s, some 70’s or 60’s depending on if I really like it. So really I just stay away from country I stay away from rap. But most of the time we make our own separate playlists and I would say that they really complement each other on the show.

CM: Ava’s really into soundtracks. Every time she’s got a song it’s from a soundtrack.

AA: I’m a film major what do you expect? I just love film soundtracks, I dunno it’s just different from what you’d hear on a regular cd. It’s kinda hard to explain.

CS: Oh I know what you’re talking about.

AA: It just stirs a different emotion.

CS: Alright so this is a pretty relevant follow up question, so why do you like the kind of music you listen to? Is there any kind of story behind it all for you?

CM: I’d say with me, I’m a huge cynic, so basically when I hear a song on the radio and I think “hmm yeah this sounds pretty good”, but then I question it and go “do I like it or do I like it because some marketing people thought that people in my demographic want to hear this song at this time”. So I don’t want to feel like I’m being manipulated in liking music like that. So that’s why I pretty much don’t listen to any music like that or MTV or radio, I just try to find the music myself. And that’s why I’m into the music that I’m into cause it’s more interesting to me. I mean I’ve listened to a crazy amount of 94x, 94.9 and I’m just totally bored of it by now. So that’s why I have to branch out and find this other stuff yeah.

AA: And then with me, probably around middle school is when I got into alternative and rock and when I started to pursue wanting to be a film maker. Whenever I watched movies I always thought about the music and how it effects what you get out of a film. I’m not just talking about scores, I’m talking about actual–like if you’re listening to Breakfast Club, Perks of Being a Wallflower, Donnie Darko, or 500 Days of Summer, those are really good soundtracks and you want to think about what that does when you’re watching something. What else am I trying to say? Well whenever I listen to a song that I really like, I think about what I’m imagining or what is something that I could create that could go along with this song and I did that a lot in high school. I remember I was in a video productions class and we’d have to do these journalistic type pieces and I never followed the format, I always just filmed random sports clips and edited them to Angels and Airwaves or something. I like to edit to music and whenever I think about films I think about what music I can use.

CM: When did they start putting in songs like popular music, into movies?

AA: Well The Graduate…

CM: The Graduate that’s what I was gonna say.

AA: Yeah The Graduate is one of my favorite movies.

CM: That’s the earliest I can think of, cause you never hear that in films from the 50’s. Just when a song starts playing.

AA: If I could tell people to watch a movie for the soundtrack aspect I’d say watch The Graduate.

CM: Yeah that was the first one that incorporated popular music into the soundtrack. I think, I dunno, there’s probably other examples.

AA: We’re rambling a lot.

CM: Yeah we do that on the show.

CS: No it’s good.

AA: Yeah we just talk like this.

CM: We waste forever just talking about random stuff.

CS: You’re music DJs but you can’t stop talking.

CM: Well we tie it in to what we’re playing.

AA: We don’t bore.

CM: You know what I hate on these terrestrial stations is the morning guy they go on yahoo news and see a funny story and blah blah blah blah and who cares?

AA: I dunno, a lot of our show is improved to be honest.

CM: No I know but what I’m saying is (what they’re saying) has nothing to do with music or anything. And me I’m really into politics and if they wanted to have a discussion of Middle East politics but they’re not, they’re discussing a cat that got stuck in a tree and a guy fell and it’s worse than a waste of time.

AA: Well what I like to do too is that I’ve been to a bunch of concerts and talking about my experiences with the music that I play or something interesting about that band that people might not know. He knows about it.

CM: Yeah I like to brag about all the concerts I’ve been to, you know it makes me feel big (laughs).

AA: Yeah and then you get to go to all the ones I can’t.

CM: Yeah cause she’s not even 21 so she can’t go to them, and those are the best venues. Can you even go to Viejas?

AA: Yeah I can go to Viejas, I’ve seen some good concerts.

CM: What about Rimac? You can go there right? That’s at UCSD.

AA: Yeah I can go to that. I think. I don’t know, I’ve never gone there.

CS: Alright well so what would you say is the latest and greatest for the two of you? What’s the new song or the new band or album that you’ve been listening to?

AA: Don’t look at me.

CM: Well I’ve been going first this whole time I was gonna give you a chance.

AA: Ok well I’m thinking. I dunno. One band that I really recently just started to like was Arcade Fire. I saw them in concert in August. I had a few of their songs and their cd but after that concert I got everything. So I guess that’s my recent new favorite. Really I can only think of Arcade Fire.

CM: Well here I’ll talk about mine. There’s this one band, I just played it one the radio this week, there’s this band called Mr. Twin Sister. Where are they from? I’m not sure where they’re from. But it’s dream pop, that’s sort of what it’s called cause there are these real chill soundscapes to it. It’s really awesome stuff. You said it was a good track when I played it, and the track is called Sensitive, which is the good one from them right now. That album just came out at the end of last year so it’s pretty new. Something that actually just came out is this guy called Venture X, he makes I guess you’d call it house music. It’s French house like Daft Punk, well not the last Daft Punk album, but the other Daft Punk stuff. He just put out an album in January. Discotheque, which is really good, he’s from Chicago, which is a pretty big house music scene. That’s the stuff I’ve been listening to right now that I think is on the cutting edge. As they say.

AA: Well ok so are you talking about new artists that are up and coming?

CS: Oh just what you’ve been listening to lately.

AA: Ok that makes it a lot easier.

CS: So Arcade Fire is fine if you just wanted to go with that.

AA: Well just what I always listen to is Arcade Fire, Angels & Airwaves, M83, The Killers, and 30 Seconds to Mars. That’s my top 5. I think it’s my top 5.

CM: Tenative top 5.

AA: So those are the 5 I listen to the most, and I’m always looking for new music too. Not the stuff that they overly blast on the radio. If I hear something that is always blasted on the radio I’ll check out their album. So Kongos, they don’t just sing Come With Me Now, they have other songs. So I use the radio like Wikipedia, like a starting point, and then I move on from there.

CS: We’ve all been there. Alright so this is not a music related question, but it is related to KCR stuff. It’s a two parter, so how did the two of you become cohosts and do you think you have good chemistry on the radio?

CM: (Laughs) no it’s terrible.

AA: Nah it’s awesome.

CM: No we met just at the KCR meeting that they do at the beginning of the semester, last semester. And we had to find a buddy, so to say, they wanted everybody to have a cohost.

AA: And I was thinking “oh my god I need to go out of my way to ask people”.

CM: Yeah I know and I hate that the most in classes, finding a group or a partner. Everybody’s in their own little cliques and I’m just thinking “oh my god I’ve been left in the dust again”. But anyway yeah so that’s what happened, we were deer in the headlights. I talked to a bunch of people and somehow I found her.

AA: Well I know I asked you what music do you like and I thought “okay” cause everyone else was just “no””no””no”.

CM: Yeah there were people who were like “yeah I want to do an EDM show”.

AA: Yeah and I’m like “no EDM for me”.

CM: Or and all classic rock show which I think is totally boring. Or a country show, whatever, and I’m just like “ehh”.

AA: Top 40, nope.

CM: And so we decided yeah we could go together pretty well. We were talking about The Smiths or something, we found a bunch of bands that we really liked so we figured we’d team up, you know, a dynamic duo on the airwaves. As far as our chemistry…sure. Of course I’m biased for myself, but we have good chemistry, good banter.

AA: Yeah we do banter a lot, but it’s not aggressive, ugly banter.

CM: We’re not just complimenting each other either, we do disagree on a lot of stuff. So we make our arguments.

AA: Yeah we’re both very big mouthed people but it works.

CM: As you can tell we’re taking like ten times too long to answer these questions. This is what we tend to do on the radio too.

CS: Hey we’ll it’s your style and it’ll show through in the interview. So I’ve got a last question, I always want to finish with this cause I think it’s fun, so how would your perfect show go?

CM: I dunno, I think pretty much the way we do it now is pretty much the way I want it. Actually it’s something she mentioned, but we could make promos.

AA: Yeah throughout our show. Cause I could edit stuff for it.

CM: Yeah she’s a film editor, so you know how to edit films or whatever.

AA: So that’s one revolutionary idea we’re thinking of for our show.

CM: But looking big we could have guests.

AA: Yeah bands coming in.

CM: Yeah let’s have Brandon Flowers on the show. Bob Dylan (laughs).

AA: Bob Dylan?

CM: If we’re just shooting for the star here yeah. So yeah a show where we can play awesome music. You know what would be really great is if we could get the station on terrestrial radio.

AA: Yeah on real radio that would be really ideal. But then again I think it is cool that we just have a radio station.

CM: Yeah I like it.

AA: When I tell my friends that I DJ for a radio station they’re like “WHAT no way”.

CM: I put it on an internship application and they were like “wow you’re a DJ”.

AA: I just really like what we’re doing right now. Like I said, one day if we’re on actual radio and it would be super cool if we had guests that would be pretty awesome.

CM: Yeah and if I got lots of sponsorships. I could totally sell out and get rich (laughs).

CS: Boy this has been a real interesting interview. Well thanks for joining me, it’s been a good fun time.

CM: No problem.

On that note we concluded the interview and walked back to the studio where I snapped a picture of the duo at the controls. We chatted a bit about music and film, the Oscars were still coming up and Ava was pulling for The Grand Budapest Hotel. I had to get going to class so I bid them farewell. If you want to hear more of Ava and Caleb’s music check out the links I posted and definitely try to catch them Mondady from 3-5 on KCR Radio, The Sound of State.

Ava wanted me to link a couple more songs from bands she didn’t mention.

U2-Zooropa

Garbage-Control

The Killers-Mr. Brightside (Jasques Lu Cont’s T.W. Duke Remix)

Jane’s Addiction-Twisted Tales

The Temper Trap-Sweet Disposition

Metric-Help I’m Alive

Caleb also sent me another song when messaging me about Jethro Tull. See if you can figure out why.

JEFF the Brotherhood-Black Cherry Pie