College Essay: Broadcasting Firsts

On Valentine’s Day 2020, I learned I earned the opportunity to host my very own radio broadcast for the first time. My first episode was about love and relationships. As I walked in the room that morning, I felt the calm before the storm. I was nervous, excited and curious. The lights of the soundboard blinked with intensity as I slid up the sound to fade out the music over my shaking voice. 

“Welcome to the first ever episode of ‘Wisdom Weather,’ the show where I, your host, Zaraia, give advice on a variety of topics on ‘Listen Up! Youth Radio’ on KRSM.”  

I felt as if all of south Minneapolis could hear my nerves. 

When I arrived at the KRSM station, I was terrified. In the studio, I saw the soundboard through the window — it seemed to go on forever with its flashing lights and hundreds of buttons that made my eyes glow with curiosity. I rushed into the studio to figure out the soundboard with only 20 minutes to spare. I started doing radio after I helped my friend Helena on her show and made a guest appearance. Eventually, the facilitator encouraged me to apply for my own show. I filled out an application, interviewed and created a 30-minute demo. 

Making a demo was a challenge, but I taught myself Hindenburg software to edit sound and get uncopyrighted music. I recorded audio on my phone, cut a demo about the wonders of growing up and advice I would have given my younger self.  I was completely new to radio and demos but, to my surprise, I was selected to have my own show. 

That first broadcast was a struggle but also a milestone. Creating a conversation with myself for an hour was frustrating. The entire time I felt I was running out of  words. I was timing each segment to be sure I didn’t go over time; but I was talking so fast, time couldn’t keep up with me. I felt my heart beating faster and faster. That hour felt like it went on forever; the clock never seemed to reach the 5 p.m. mark. I ran through topics so quickly that I had to fill the breaks and segments with a multitude of songs. Even though I had an outline of what I wanted to say, the news I wanted to present and the music I wanted to play, I was still so overcome with nerves that my previous studio experience went out the window. I was afraid of messing up. But I knew I was still learning and couldn’t give up. 

 My next show was the following month. I had analyzed and reflected upon what was needed to make my show better and easier. I asked my friend Annabelle to be my special guest. She agreed, and we did an episode about stress and also talked about the coronavirus pandemic. That second episode was a success and much better than my first. I was so proud. Soon after that episode, the KRSM radio station had to temporarily close due to the pandemic, but my joy for radio didn’t stop.  

After sitting at home for a month feeling upset I couldn’t do my live show anymore, I talked to the facilitator, and we came up with the idea of using the “Listen Up! Youth Radio” Instagram accounts to continue livestreaming our shows. My experience with radio in the station may have gotten cut short, but all my experience has taught me to persevere when I doubt myself, learn to adapt and be quick on my feet and to keep learning and trying. I am growing and am now a host, facilitator and someone who can help people with their shows by continuously generating new ideas and concepts to make my show better and better.