This week, the Muhlenberg Weekly got a chance to sit down with Zeke Timen ‘21, the program director for WMUH, Muhlenberg’s radio station.
The Muhlenberg Weekly: I’ll just start with the basics, what do you do at WMUH?
Zeke Timen: I’m the Program Director, which means in addition to my two-hour show every Wednesday I am in charge of all student scheduling and am in charge of the service hours for the club. We run on a volunteer basis for putting together our concerts that we put on throughout the semesters, and for finding substitutes when someone can’t do their show.
TMW: How did you get started with that? Did you have experience with radio before Muhlenberg?
ZT: Completely by accident. On the first weekend of school I walked into the activities fair and I went to the WMUH table, and they had a really cool t-shirt. I said it was cool, and the person sitting at the table said I could get it for free if I wrote my name on the interest sheet. So then I got a free t-shirt and I thought “Okay, I’ll get an email about radio, but I don’t think I’m actually going to do it.” But then the meeting was on a Thursday night and I had nothing better to do, so I went. I thought I might as well audition for radio, and now here I am, a year and a half later, Vice President of the club. I fell in love with it while I was working on it.
TMW: So you had to audition for it? How does that work?
ZT: Yep! I had to go in and get trained by a student who already had experience working the programs. It was Brandt Sunter [‘20]. He showed me how to use the machines, how to talk into the microphone, the proper way to give a station ID, which is 91.7 FM WMUH Allentown, The Only Station that Matters. You’ve got to say all of those different parts in any order. He recorded me playing music, crossfading songs and reading a public service announcement and a station ID. Then the program director and president at the time decided I was good enough, or at least not horrible enough, to have them put me on air.
TMW: How did you come up with what you play during your two-hour show? Do you stick to a genre? Have you changed it over time?
ZT: Definitely. My show is called To Be Determined, so each week I determine a theme for that week, whether it’s a genre, an artist, a year or a decade or just a mood. Tonight, I played “night driving songs” so everything was kind of synth-heavy and had this bright, nocturnal-sounding production to it. But last week, I did a “Fake Beatles Week” so the first hour was all songs that sounded like they could have been by the Beatles, but they weren’t, and the second hour was all covers of Beatles songs by other artists. So it changes every week, and I play everything from jazz to hip-hop to acoustic folk to classic rock. Everything, really.
TMW: How many different DJs do you have?
ZT: Okay, so we’re on air with programming 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Some of our content is automated or pre-recorded, but most of it — I’d say upwards of 16 to 18 hours a day — is live. We have a combination of student DJs, 30 this semester, and community staff, local Allentown adults, some of who went to Muhlenberg or go to Muhlenberg part-time, others who just love non-commercial college radio and are just really about the community experience that radio gets to provide for people. They come in and they play their two-hour slots.
TMW: Is there anything about what you do or WMUH that you want to talk about?
ZT: I love radio because I love listening to music, and this is a great way for me to find out about what other people are listening to, plus the fact that every two hours you’re in for something completely different. I have one friend who does a classic rock show, I have another friend who does heavy metal and ambient electronic show, I have another friend who does Latinx music. It’s really everything in-between and around those genres too, so it helps me broaden my taste, it helps me talk about music that I love with other people and it’s just a really awesome way to engage with the community.
[…] Artist of the Week: Zeke Timen of WMUH (Muhlenberg Weekly) […]