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WLMC Station Leadership Interview with Eden Kayser

Photo of Eden Kayser, WLMC Station Co-Manager

Editor’s Note: The following interview was originally aired on the “Sounds from a Distance” radio program and has been edited for clarity.

So Eden, introduce yourself. Tell the people what you do at the station.

Cool. Well, my name is Eden Kayser. Some of you might know me from the radio show “The chaos of Kipper and Eden,” which is every Tuesday from 10:00 p.m. to midnight. Some of you might also know that I am one of the station managers here at WLMC and as part of that I help train DJ’s, help create the schedule and I work with our leadership team on stuff like programming, social media, the news and all the other programs we put on here at WLMC.

What got you into radio in the first place?

Well, I never really thought of myself as doing radio when I first came here. I had a friend who was a DJ, And I kind of became very interested in what he was doing. And I’m someone who really enjoys music, especially punk rock music. And my initial reaction to radio was like, oh, I can’t play explicit music. That sucks.

Yeah! <laughs> Guidelines. You have to be careful around what you put on the air, but I get it.

Yep. and I was like, well, I can’t do that. So. I kind of thought it wasn’t for me and I was originally an arts major, but I still wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do career-wise. But then I had this other friend who was the previous station manager for radio and, same thing, I got very interested in what he was doing, and he encouraged me to try radio and to consider communications as a degree, because I wasn’t quite sure about going into arts.  And I talked with my advisor, and I talked with my parents. My parents also encouraged me to try WLMC. So even though I was unsure about the guidelines, I still did it.

I started with taking a radio production class, which is a three credit class where you’re not just doing your radio show–like you do need other radio classes—but you’re also creating automated content for WLMC, such as PSAs and Station IDs and interviews and news broadcasts. So that’s where I started, and then I did my show which was just called The Chaos of Eden. This was before [co-host ] Kipper came along.

Then at the end of the semester, because I was really passionate about the work I was doing, Daniel Molster, who was a previous station manager, invited me on to the leadership team for the following semester and I decided to do it. After about like a week or two, a position opened up for a new associate station manager; which is, in this context, it was somebody who was training and learning management skills to sort of become an assistant to the station manager and trained to be the next station manager, which is what I did. I decided to take that position and it really paid off, and now that Daniel’s graduated, I am one of the new station managers.

Congrats to you! So, you said you were doing art before. What specific type of art were you doing? Like visual art, photography, sculptures, drawings, like what?

I like to draw a lot and I still do like to draw, but I really don’t like deadlines and also I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I always find something wrong with my art and it’s very discouraging for me, and I realized that art as a career wasn’t very fun for me. I wanted to be a game artist and I really like video games. I’m also a leader of the Arcade Club.

It’s actually funny, because my major switched a couple of times. I originally came as a computer science major because I love video games and I wanted to be a game designer. One of the great things about Landmark is you have a lot of freedom, especially in your first two years or so, to really explore what you want to do. So, I kind of realized that coding wasn’t something that was for me. It stressed me out too much and I didn’t find that enjoyable.

So, I decided that a computer science degree wasn’t really for me. And because I like art, I thought, well, I can still work with video games as a game artist. And so I tried doing that. I took some art classes, and they were fun, but the homework in those art classes stressed me out the most, because I had to finish stuff by a certain deadline. And it always stressed me out–every assignment–to get the stuff done. And I hated turning stuff in that I didn’t think was complete. I’d always spend so much time on drawing, like a lot more time than my other schoolwork.

Also, just thinking about a future career in art wasn’t really something I enjoyed. But because I had interest in media and performing arts, television, film, I wanted to explore that some more and that’s where I that’s where I was recommended communications.

That makes sense. Sometimes it’s better for things to be hobbies rather than career paths, because them being hobbies allows you to enjoy them more than for it to be your career path. But I mean, it sounds like you’ve really found a place for yourself in radio. So, for your first radio shows, were you nervous or all over?

Yes, I was very nervous I was so nervous that I requested one of the people on the leadership team at the time to shadow me for my first show. It kind of felt like, have you ever ridden a bike?

Yeah, I have.

OK, like you know right when you’re learning how to ride a bike for a first time, your parent or whoever’s teaching you kind of holds you and says they won’t let go?

And then they let go.

And then they let go. That’s pretty much what happened to me. The person was there for maybe like the first 10 or 15 minutes and once he saw that I could ride a bike on my own, he just left.

That’s interesting because for my first ever show–I think the first time I ever took any sort of radio class was in my first semester here in 2020 and–I did my first show by myself. I kind of didn’t want anyone there because I felt like I was probably gonna, like, fall on my face and I didn’t want anyone to witness it. So, I felt better doing it by myself. But even now, this is the third radio class I’ve taken since I’ve been here, and it’s still a challenge, I would say. I always make the joke that from doing radio, I know I could never have a podcast, because it’s already so hard trying to find things to talk about on the radio. The thought of having a podcast for like 2-3 hours, like I wouldn’t know what to do.

Yeah, I get that. There was still a learning curve that I was still trying to get over when I was doing my first few shows, because somehow my first show went pretty well; like there weren’t any major mistakes. I mean, I did a little bit of talking, but not a whole lot. I mostly just played music. And yeah, I got good feedback, mostly just because of the music I was playing, because a lot of the music I play is music that not a whole lot of other people seem to play. So, they’re like, wow, you have really good taste. But then the next few shows, I would struggle a little bit, especially with the buttons like I would…

Yeah, it can be kind of difficult to learn the board.

Eden Kayser

At first, yeah, and it really takes a few times before you really get it mastered, because what would happen was…I would freak out. When I put the next song on and there was nothing coming out, I’m like, Oh no, what did I do? And I’m just scrambling trying to find out what was wrong. And then I would just awkwardly talk into the mic and say, yeah, we have technical difficulties. I want to play a whole list of PSA’s until I get this figured out. And I’d be calling Daniel or somebody and just like, trying not to have an anxiety attack.

Yeah, I get it. A lot of the mistakes I’ve made, I’ve realized, like I think it was either last week or two weeks ago, when I was trying to play something and it wasn’t playing, I was like, why is it not playing? And I thought it’s because the song I downloaded is blank or something, but it’s because I accidentally forgot to plug the aux into my laptop to play the music.

Yeah. And then there’s a few times where, like, I had a few accidents. I played something I shouldn’t have or accidentally said something I shouldn’t have.

Oh, I feel that! Sometimes there will be, like weirdly, the whole song will be clean but then at the end or in the middle there’s just one swear word that I forget about. So, as I’m playing it, it just pops up out of nowhere and I have to be like, oh, I’m so sorry! I forgot that it was there.

Eden Kayser

Yeah, I’ve had that too. And then, I would try to screen my songs before I played them, but I think because I don’t have much time, I just really skimmed them, and somehow I skim over the part I’m supposed to be looking out for. And then I’d be like, oh my God! I swear I looked over this and made sure it was clean. I’m so sorry.

Yeah, that’s usually the protocol; just apologize and then switch to another song. That’s usually how it goes for me.

Yeah, and I’ve gotten a lot better at that since then. It just takes time and it’s a good thing that we are an internet streaming radio station, because if we weren’t then we’d probably get in some trouble if the FCC happened to be listening in. But we are an educational station, which means all our DJ’s are learning and occasionally mistakes will happen. But you know, when those mistakes happen you learn from them for next time.

In terms of radio and radio production, what would you say you prefer? Do you actually prefer making content like PSA’, station ID’s, making announcements, or do you prefer the actual being on the air and making radio shows.

I’d say a bit of both. In some ways I find making content, automated content, less stressful because I know that I can have as many takes as I want until I get it right.

There’s a kind of space for correcting errors.

Yeah. And then I can put in edits and stuff and try to make it more creative, like with sound effects or music. But when I am on air, it is like I am a bit more relaxed, especially if I have other people with me. I feel like that’s when I have the most fun; when I don’t have to worry about how many ‘ums’ I do. If I’m not trying to worry about perfecting it, I’m just having fun.

Yeah, I understand that. Honestly, having a co-host makes producing anything on air much easier. I do my show by myself, so a lot of times I just end up talking till I’m out of breath. But I would be very open to someone who wanted to do a show with me. I feel like that kind of energy is easier to bounce off.

Eden Kayser

I agree. And I know there’s a lot of DJ’s who expressed interest in having a co-host, but I think it’s kind of like having a roommate in a way; not everybody is a fit for everybody. You want to find somebody who you have good, I call it, show chemistry. So, finding somebody who you talk well with, who you relate with, and somebody can rely on is very important. And you don’t want two completely different co-hosts on one show.

Yeah, you need to ask someone that you…both of your energies match each other, so it’s not like constantly conflicting.

One of the most common problems I see is, somebody who is very talkative and energetic, and someone who’s a bit more mellow and has a calmer voice, a lot of times the more talkative one will talk over the other co-host.

Sometimes it can work to have high energy and low energy. Sometimes they can match each other. But definitely the person who’s much more upbeat can overpower everything.

And what happens is the more upbeat one says, why aren’t you saying anything? And then the other person’s like I can’t keep up with you.

Yeah. Especially if they go from topic to topic to topic to topic. It’s like I don’t know where we’re going. Everything’s kind of crazy. <both laugh> So is there anything else you would like to share?

Well, if it’s OK with you, can I talk about college radio day?

Sure, 100 percent.

Alright. Well, I’m not only station manager for WLMC, I’m also a member of the World College Radio Day Board of the USA for 2023, and I’ve been working hard to make content specifically for World College Radio Day. So, you’ll probably see a couple panels I made talking about college radio and this year’s theme, which is “Where All Voices are Welcome.” And I also want to remind people that college Radio Day is October 6th. So, this Friday.

That’s very, very soon.

Yes. And we’re going to be live for 24 hours, actually. So, we’re gonna be kicking off at midnight on October 6 and we’ll be live all the way until 11:59.

And it’s over a weekend, right?

It’s on Friday.

Is it just on Friday? but is also Saturday?

Just on Friday. Yeah, it’s not like vinylthon where we did it for a whole weekend.

Speaking of that, when Eric [Matte, a communications professor] asked who’s done College Radio Day before? And I was like, oh, yeah, I did that last semester. And then I was like, ohh right. That wasn’t. I was radio that was vinylthon, because I know I was here with Owain [Lucas] and someone else whose name is escaping me right now. But that’s the one that I did, not College Radio Day.

College Radio Day and vinylthon are kind of similar in a way. They’re both 24-hour events. Only vinython, they decided to have it be 48 hours. so it’s over 2 days. But the main difference is vinython is mostly focused on music and vinyl records. College Radio Day…yes, we do play music, but it’s really more about the talking and specifically the theme, which is “Where All Voices are Welcome.”  And yes, there will still be music, and there’s still gonna be some people who talk more than others. There’s only so much I can do about that, but it’s still a lot of fun.

I especially enjoy the late hours, which are from 12:00 AM to 8:00 AM, where we normally don’t have anybody on live, but on that day we do. It is kind of fun being down here after hours and talking on air. And I know that this year will be a lot of fun. We have almost a full schedule now.

Ohh, wow!

Yeah. Are you signed up?

No, I’m not signed up. I don’t even know what times are left but I think they conflict with my schedule because I have both classes and then work because I work at the school’s Dining Hall.

Eden Kayser

Yeah, I know that not everybody will be able to do it because it is the beginning of Indigenous Peoples’ Weekend, and I know some people will be going home, and not everyone will stick around. But we still have a lot of people who did commit. Each two hour slot will have at least two DJ’s and no more than four. So. if you decide you want to do it, I guarantee you there’s still some spots open.

Well, that’s good to know.

And if you’re interested in knowing when I will be live, my official showtime is 12 AM on October 6th, so I’ll be kicking the event off.

Well, thank you Eden, for joining me for this interview.

Thank you for having me. This was fun.

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About the Contributor
Tyra Cole is Canadian and raised in Mississauga and Toronto. She first enrolled at Landmark in 2020 and has been here for 6 semesters. Tyra graduated in 2022 with an associate degree and is now pursuing her bachelor’s degree in communications. On campus, Tyra is in the theater club and has jobs at the bookstore and the dining hall. She also hosts a radio show on WLMC from 8-10 pm every Sunday.

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