By Meggie Schultz
I remember the first time I heard my voice on the radio. I had called in for an on-air talent contest and the listeners of Sacramento were graced with the lyrical sensation that was middle-school me singing “Hakuna matata.” I giggled as my voice echoed back and, although I didn’t win the contest, I was so proud to tell everyone I saw that I had been on the radio! It was so exciting to know that for a 2 minute period, people were listening to me doing something I loved.
The second time I heard my voice on the radio, I had officially joined the team of AS Women’s Center radio interns as DJ Vagtastic. Every Thursday from 6pm to 7pm, I join fellow intern DJ Gynomite in educating the listeners of kcscradio.com on feminist issues within our campus, community, and world.
As an intern, I’ve assisted with putting together several events, including last semester’s Take Back the Night and this semester’s Maggie Awards. I’ve stood in protests, holding signs to show my support for my cause. I’ve sat at informational tables, educating students about women’s issues. And I’ve proudly stood beside my fellow interns, joining them in changing our campus and community for the better. And yet I had never considered going on air to share current events, social issues, and my own unique opinions as a form of activism.
In Philadelphia, a group of volunteers came together in 2008 to build a radio station for their local community as an attempt to bring people together. Inviting all community members to come on air and get involved, the volunteers created an opportunity for people to share their own voices on issues influencing their community. One of the members commented that “This is an extremely positive endeavor…I see this as a venue for voices that are often marginalized or drowned out.” Having the radio has allowed the community members of West Philly to have their voices and opinions to be heard; far too often, the voices of communities are ignored in mainstream media. As far as discussing social and political issues, one community member sees the radio as “an opportunity not just to preach your politics but work together to build an institution.” Including local news, hit music, and community announcements, the radio station, although often facing economic hardships, has worked to bring the community together and have their voices heard.
On the other side of the globe in 2011, young women in Fiji joined together to use a community radio broadcast to address daily issues that affect the lives of young women in their area. This group of 21 women included those from Labasa, Nadi, Suva, the autonomous region of Bougainville, Tonga, and the Solomon Islands. This radio program became an opportunity for these young women to raise their often ignored and unheard concerns; the main goal of the group was “to develop some radio series on issues that connected women in all divisions.” The women wanted to discuss issues of women’s access to appropriate housing, food security, health issues, and education. They even emphasized their desire to provide information on a pap-smear, including how it worked, its purpose, and the danger of cervical cancer. By using this radio program, the women of Fiji have been able to build a strong community of women who are educated on issues concerning their lives and their bodies.
Today, Chico’s KCSC radio program has become an opportunity for me and my co-host DJ Gynomite (Hannah Clause) to use our voices for activism. Each week, we come together to raise awareness on important feminist issues, sharing with our listeners knowledge, opinions, and lots of laughs. Whether it is women’s rights issues or women’s pleasure issues, we are ready to step up to the mic and talk it out. DJ Gynomite remarks that she has “been able to express my activism to anyone who will listen…using forms of media is one of the strongest ways to get ideas and issues circulating in the public, and the DJ show allows me to be the one to put that information out there.” For me, using the radio program has allowed me to show my support for women’s rights and my concern for women’s issues, while also building my confidence in how I can truly be an activist in my community.
Listen in every Thursday from 6pm to 7pm at kcscradio.com.
For more information, search for the AS Women's Center Radio Show on Facebook!