Operating 24/7/365, WHPK provides constant company for its small listenership. This dogged airwave presence is made possible by force of the dedication and gracious will of its DJs. But station maintenance is highly decentralized. Sometimes, it is the deed of community members whose love for jazz records birthed decade-old shows. However, a dominant block of WHPK programming is dedicated to the Rock Format, whose tenor is mostly determined by college students fancying themselves as vanguards in their subgenres of preference. Given that only one DJ is usually in the studio at a time, shows implicate solitary gratification of personal tastes. It is thus not surprising that the lack of integration invites human errors of individualism. Dedication and gracious will fall to the wayside come interim schedules–during summer, spring, and winter breaks–when DJs no longer hold down their regular time slots. Then you’re just screwed, and it’s a race to avoid being the chump stuck in the studio overnight because no one volunteered for the six hours after you.
I’ve been that chump before. There’s really no way of rationalizing the completely fleeting motive behind interim volunteering. I have, however, benefited considerably from the perk of free concert tickets provided to WHPK DJs. Perhaps in my mind’s flawed logic, it’s a way to balance radio karma.
These all-night sessions are a haze of caffeinated semi-lucidity. Sure, college students have no circadian rhythm to speak of, but being confined to a space housing records older and worth more than your life can be draining. I have downed cans of sodas and consumed diabetic shock-inducing amounts of candy to keep awake. In retrospect, I marvel at the fact that I retain the motor skills needed to press buttons.
The first hour starts off great. Then you drop the enthusiasm and dream of bed. DJs quickly learn to cut corners. It is not uncommon, therefore, to hear FCC regulations flagrantly disregarded. I will be the first to admit that I don’t dwell on the rich discourse of copyright infringement when spinning the entirety of an album (by law, you can only play three or four songs, max, from an album in a row). This may sound lazy–and it arguably is–but come 5am, no such qualms remain. Abrasive screeching of hardcore vocals can keep you alert. If a quick nap is desired (necessary), thirty-minute noise tracks are a boon. But the world is really only made good again when the next DJ arrives to relieve you.