Host profile: Rocker Panels

On-air name: Rocker Panels

Show: Carry the Zero, Thursdays, 2 – 4 p.m.

Day Job: Director of Operations & Programming at The Paramount Theater

How long have you been a host at WTJU? roughly 20 years

Why did you become a WTJU host?
I have loved radio pretty much as long as I can remember and have had a music collection too. I love the entire communal quality about the airwaves: knowing that what is being played is also being shared with those listening. I wanted to be able contribute to that community. So when a friend of mine asked me to come hang out with him at the station and help with his 3:00am–6:00am shift, I was really excited to join him. At that time of night we could play whatever we wanted and it was a real blast. I’m sure all the bakers in town loved us. . .

Why should someone tune into your show in particular?
I think my show is a really fun show. There will certainly be music you might not have heard of but it may be adjacent to something you absolutely know or sounds familiar. I really try to mix the old with the new as much as possible. I also try to make it fairly diverse so that there is something for everyone. That said, I love it all and I hope you will too.

Tell us about one of your biggest gaffs while in the studio.
Aside from completely butchering the pronunciation of band names and song titles there isn’t anything too exciting. I did accidentally play an incredibly inappropriate track that had a LOT of swearing in it once on one of those 3am shifts. The song started and I was like “Hey, this isn’t the right track but it sounds great!” Well, about 90 seconds in, the lyrics are “like I give a fuck, like I give a shit about that fuck.” It was “safe harbor” so I let it ride for a bit, but it just didn’t stop and I just couldn’t let it keep going. Woof.

Favorite moments in the air studio?
I love mixing up bands that sound so good together and that would never be played back-to-back anywhere else in the world. It’s an incredible feeling. I am not a musician––I don’t have that kind of creative outlet––so I love being able to at least create these completely original playlists that just click (mostly on the fly, eek).

If you could interview anyone on air, dead or alive, who would it be?
There are so many answers to this question but I am going to go with the very first thing that popped into my head: John Lennon. I think he was a real strange cat with a real sense of humor in a world that takes itself too seriously. I’d love to get his take on the music industry and what it does to artist creativity and get his opinions on what he thinks of where we are in today’s world. Could you imagine (sorry) playing him a Kendrick song?!

What are your guilty pleasures (music or otherwise)?
As the host of the Guilty Pleasures Rock Marathon shows (plural), I don’t really believe you should feel guilty about anything you enjoy. EVER. Sure, there is a certain integrity to what we play over the airwaves but every now and then you really need to hear Barry Manilow’s Copacabana. I also really enjoy “bad” 80s movies.

How has it felt being a radio host during this pandemic?
You know, it’s not really that different. Maybe I am just used to it now but there is something to being in the studio during the day completely by yourself. I definitely crank the volume up on the monitors a lot more than if the staff were on the other side of the door.

What are your passions outside of music?
I love to travel. I REALLY miss that right now. I miss seeing new places and the adventure of finding the treasures in different landscapes. The art museums, the restaurants, the walking around unfamiliar paths and discovering whatever else is out there.

Why does WTJU matter?
WTJU is a goddam treasure. It’s one of the last completely free form radio stations that creates unique content for the people who don’t want the ordinary. In a world full of Amazon shoppers and fast food consumers, WTJU is the antithesis of that and we need radio, music, and other expressions to feed our souls.

Would you rather be a famous singer or be able to bring your favorite deceased singer back to life?
How about I just be David Lee Roth during his Van Halen years?

Would you rather be trapped in an elevator with a banjo player, a bagpipes player, or an accordion player?
BAGPIPES! Only because I would want a lesson. When would you ever get a chance to do that?!

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