Broadcasting at Deerfield has been around since the mid01900s, in which donated equipment, including a transmitter and receiver station, allowed for the creation of the Radio Club. Since then, the DA Radio has opened many opportunities for both students and faculty to express their voices and share certain aspects of campus life with the wider community.
Dean of Ethical and Spiritual Life Jan Flaska, a key figure in ensuring the radio runs smoothly, said that participation in the radio offers benefits for both broadcasters and listeners. “If you’re a host, you’re not necessarily doing it because you think 500 people will be listening,” Mr. Flaska said. “You’re doing it because it’s just fun to play music, to talk to people. And it’s fun to listen to.”
This fall, Isha Rao ‘22, along with Coco de Vink ’22, Jimmy Ueland ‘22, and Bodie Fish ‘22 started a show called ‘Bacon Egg and Cheese on Everything.’ The show mainly features campus life, including weekend activities and general overviews of how the student body is feeling.
Rao said, “Honestly, I think we kind of just started [the show] for fun– we enjoy talking to each other and I think we definitely thought it was something that people would be entertained by. People would want to listen to it, especially because it relates to their lives. We could talk about sports and sit-down conversations that everyone’s having, for everyone to listen to in one place.”
In addition to ‘Bacon, Egg, and Cheese on Everything,’ Deerfield hosts a variety of other student- run programs including ‘Think About It’, a podcast about ethics and current events, and ‘Door to Door’, which features Deerfield alumni discussing their time at Deerfield and beyond.
Sara Robert ‘22 and Billy Kitchel ‘22 are the current hosts of ‘Door to Door,’ a podcast that features Deerfield alumni. Questions typically cover the guest’s Deerfield experience, their transition to university and the professional world, and advice for current students.
Robert shared, “As someone who’s going to college and exploring different paths, it’s super interesting to talk with people and hear their stories first hand. Oftentimes, if those alumni are in a field I’m interested in, they’ll give me their contact info and tell me to stay in touch. That’s a super cool and rewarding part of the radio show.”
One of the greatest lessons Robert has learned from hosting ‘Door to ‘Door’ has been the importance of natural conversations. “In the beginning,” she said, “I created a script and a list of questions that I wanted to ask the alumni. However, I soon realized that a script limits the conversation rather than expanding it. I think that’s something I’ve been able to apply to my everyday life.”
This past fall, Gale Gai ’22 started his own show ‘Around the Field.’ He invites prominent sports figures as guest speakers on his show, including Steve Kelley, who works with the Red Sox, Matt Lindsay, an assistant hockey coach at the University of Massachusetts, and both current and past Deerfield student- athletes. Gai said, “They get to talk about their stories that otherwise would not have been shared with all of us. I also try to encourage other students in doing their own shows.”
Rao said that the process of starting a program is actually very easy. The broadcasting room is in the basement of the Main School Building, across from Security, and the controls required to go live are all easy to learn and adjust to. Aside from paying a small fee for each song used, broadcasters face few restraints, as session length and frequency are up to individual discretion. Interested people can put their proposed shows down on a schedule to prevent time conflicts.
Robert said, “Prior to this year I had no knowledge about how to work a radio podcast, but I’ve learned how to adjust and work speakers, microphones, head-sets, etc.”
Gai’s advice for any students looking to start their own show is, “If you want to start a show, it’s great. You know, having that passion for sports or a particular show or whatever, but then find a focal point. If you’re a big fan of the NFL, talk about the NFL and even closer, if you’re a big Patriots fan, if you just want to talk about your New England sports, you can talk about those, finding a focal point and expanding out of that.” He added, “Listen to the professionals do it. Watch games, see what they do, how they make games interesting.”
Looking towards goals for the future, Rao said, “I think a lot of students don’t know how to access the Deerfield radio right now and when live shows are or even how to listen to recordings of past shows. So I think [it’s important to] try to promote it more so more people can listen.” Izzo also said that bringing the radio program to the attention of the wider school community wasn one of her goals.
Mr. Flaska invites any interested community member to try their hand at recording a couple of episodes, or even starting their own show. For those more interested in listening than hosting, the link to live programs and past recordings can be found on the Bulletin, and through creating an account, listeners can receive notifications when their favorite shows are live.