The Sounds of State

Have you ever wondered what everyone walking around campus is listening to through their headphones? I most definitely have. Personally, I cannot imagine walking around campus, doing homework, driving around, or getting ready without music and was curious to see if this was the same for my fellow SDSU students.

I created a survey to learn about what types of music my peers are listening to as well as the frequency and occasions they do. It was very interesting to see the results come in because I found that music is a HUGE part of a majority of students’ lives on this campus.

I found that students spend around 4-7 hours a day listening to music, which is a lot considering the time required for sleeping, class, etc. On a scale from 1-10 (1 being not important and 10 being the most important), the majority rated music as a 9.

A majority of those I surveyed use Spotify as their preferred music platform, with some using platforms like Apple Music, SoundCloud, or Youtube. It is interesting that of all the different platforms used, they are all streaming services meaning college students tend to use a streaming subscription to listen to their music rather than anything else. These streaming platforms often have deals for students as a means for them to gain more clients while making it affordable at the same time.

As far as favorite genres of music, the results were kind of everywhere. Rap/Hip Hop and Indie/Alternative received the highest amount of votes which did not really surprise me. Rock/Alternative and R&B received the next highest, followed by EDM, then Pop, Country, and then Jazz.

As for occasions of music listening, I found that everyone surveyed listens to music when they study or do homework. Genres listened to while doing this include EDM, Lo-fi, Indie, Instrumental, and others. Results were the same for listening to music while walking to class, getting ready, and driving around in the car. The frequency differed but everyone does listen to music while doing these things. My favorite part of this survey was asking people to explain their music tastes. Some of my favorite responses include:

“All over the place but really good,” “The intersection of what I want to hear and what I need to hear,” and “Anything but country.”

I already knew, based on seeing students walking around, that music is a very big part of most students’ lives on this campus, but this survey really reiterated that.

Written By: Ceceli Riffo-Drecksel

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.