By Emily Rosenberg
With students dressed as astronauts, animals, movie characters, and celebrities, WDJM hosted a spooky Open Mic night on Oct. 26 in the Forum.
Performances ranged from a small improv show by the Suit Jacket Posse, students reading poetry, singing, playing guitars and pianos, and stand-up comedy.
After a year of minimal access to WDJM’s radio station and all online events, this Open Mic Night served as a celebration of their successful bounce back.
Sophomore communications major and treasurer Jack McLaughlin said the idea for an open mic came about because WDJM had a successful one in 2019, and this year was the first time since COVID-19 that they have been able to host it.
McLaughlin added it was challenging last year because it was difficult to gain new members as not a lot of people were on campus and had access to the station.
Senior communication arts major and secretary Ryan Reynolds added he really wanted to be involved with WDJM last year but couldn’t participate as much because he is a commuter and couldn’t come to campus.
McLaughlin said the Open Mic has been in planning since their first eBoard meeting in August and that it was fun to see it come together as they ordered all of the raffle prizes and made arrangements with SILD and campus events.
The raffles included four baskets and everyone who came to the Open Mic was entered. There was a commuter basket, a residential basket, a spooky basket, and a self-care basket.
Sophomore political science major Ryan Mikelis is the club’s newest eBoard member, the social media manager. He said he helped get the word out for the event by collaborating with The Gatepost to get an ad in the paper and creating Instagram promotions.
Senior Ellen Lucier has been president for three semesters, and the idea to make it a spooky Open Mic came about only when they decided to add the spooky raffle basket for October. She rated the night a 10 out of 10, and said her favorite part was seeing all the different talents the students who came had to offer.
To many members of WDJM, the station is not just about playing music, it’s the connections they make with their fellow DJs.
McLaughlin said his favorite part about being an eBoard member was “meeting all the new people, being able to have my own little spot on campus to play whatever music I want. I get to do it with friends.”
“I really enjoy the social atmosphere,” said freshman Dillon Riley. “I do enjoy my own show ... but meeting new people, going to events and just having a better connection with the FSU community rather than just leaving ... the people make it better.”
Reynolds said his favorite thing about WDJM is that they are like a family.
“We’re always there for each other, some of us like to hop onto each other’s shows, just to give more branding of ourselves, but also support our fellow DJs.
“There’s lots of laughs, there’s lots of love,” he said.
He added he used to listen to DJs talk on the radio all the time and he felt like he had a connection with them. “That’s what radio is about. It’s like a huge community.”
Mikelis said he feels he adds to the University through his contributions to the radio station and being involved with other organizations such as being an Orientation Leader and working for the Dean of Students Office.
He added he’s excited to finally be at FSU in person and have a “real college experience” after a year of online courses. He is a commuter, and he said he did not have fun being home 24/7. Being a member of WDJM plays a big role in being involved, he said.
Lucier said she loves training new DJs to use the board and hearing everyone’s different ideas for their shows.
“COVID really did a number on [WDJM] and hearing how they care as much as I do and having my own private show ... It’s nice to feel like I’m sharing music with other people – music is something so important to me,” she added.
As a senior, she said she hopes to see future leaders of the club collaborate with other organizations, put on more open mics, and grow.
Returning members gave advice for those looking to join.
Reynolds said not to think too much.
“Yesterday I was doing a test hour with someone and he was so nervous. What I told him was to relax. You want to pretend like you’re in your own bedroom and you’re talking with a friend,” he said.
Mikelis said to take advantage of the resources because the training is not difficult and “if you enjoy talking on the radio, talking to people, or having a voice on campus,” then he encourages them to join.
Freshman Jaden Rossi said he recently did his test hour – a short test to prove DJs know how to safely operate the sound board – and that everyone in the club, particularly the secretary, has been really welcoming and “cool.”
Another new member, Dillon Riley, is interested in pursuing sports media and joined WDJM so he could host his own sports talk radio show, where he discusses national sports news. He said he researched the organization and reached out to the club as a senior in high school, knowing he “definitely wanted to join.”
He added once he’s been tenured into the club more, he hopes to make a “bigger impact” in the future of WDJM.
Reynolds said a passion project of his as secretary has been trying to get streaming accessible so their shows can reach outside the bounds of Framingham.
Lucier said another project the club is working on is a mixtape that FSU students will be able to contribute to so people can hear the “talent we have across campus.”
She added they’re working on a belated 50th birthday party event for the station. The club planned to host it last year, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, it was postponed. Lucier said she hopes to invite alumni and give out the mixtape as a party favor.
WDJM meets in the Paul T. Murphy room on the 5th floor of McCarthy Center at 12:30 on Mondays.
[Editor’s Note: Jack McLaughlin is a staff writer for The Gatepost]