KSPC Corner: Who Decides What Gets Played?

Rachel Smith PO ’11 holds a great deal of power over the music you hear at KSPC. Smith, a media studies major, sifts through dozens of CDs each week in order to find those worthy of KSPC airplay and from there, one guesses, widespread fame. According to Smith, there are three main parts to her job. First, she listens to CDs sent to KSPC, and decides which to play with the help of music directors specializing in genres like Americana and hip-hop. She also communicates with artists, labels, promoters and other industry-types in order to acquire music and arrange interviews. Finally, Smith said, her job means “getting new music reviewed and on the air, and keeping the library organized—all with the help of our lovely volunteers!”This may sound like a lot of work for someone who also has to keep up with classes and homework. Smith claims that lots of coffee help her accomplish it all. Outside the office, Smith listens to samples of albums—sometimes up to 30 in a week. These approved CDs then go on to be reviewed by volunteers and chosen by DJs before they are played on-air.All of this music begs the question: What is Rachel Smith’s current favorite album? After all, she listens to a wider assortment of diverse music than most. Understandably, Smith struggles to narrow it down to just one.“Well, KSPC has a mission to highlight independent and local content, and there’s an incredibly diverse array of music in our library—hundreds and hundreds of albums, dating back to at least the early ’80s,” Smith says. “I unearth new gems almost every day.” After a fair amount of agonizing thought, Smith decides to stick to Claremont. “There are tons of great bands and artists with roots right here…the Mountain Goats, Anni Rossi, Health, and the Mae Shi, just to name a few,” she says.

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