If you had told me when I started volunteering at KZSC that my cohost and I would be doing a kids show, I would have laughed in your face. It makes very little sense: KZSC is mostly listened to by people college age and older, and our past shows were filthy dance music and prog rock and experimental metal, respectively. When we initially came up with the idea for the collective, we thought it would be a lighthearted departure from our previous radio endeavors that followed a simple pattern: two Sundays were devoted to single soundtracks from childrens movies or TV shows, and the third was set aside for a compilation of songs that fit an overarching theme. While it is loads of fun, neither of us expected nostalgia to be such tricky business.
My first clue that DJing a kids program wouldn’t be so easy was when I swore to watch every movie that we devoted a show to. While some revisits were fun, such as My Neighbor Totoro, I realized very quickly: these movies don’t age well, and seeing them through an adult perspective is sometimes not the best. Thumbelina just about drove me to drink, and Anastasia prompted me to call my parents and apologize for making them watch it with me in the first place. Playing songs about waiting for your prince to come and needing someone “older and wiser” to take care of you (now that we are also “older and wiser”) is an uncomfortable affair. To keep things decent, we’ve cut out certain movies entirely (such as Disney’s Peter Pan: I cannot think of a single reason why “What Makes The Red Man Red” should ever be played on radio) and discuss in full any controversial content before it even has a chance before going on-air. So far, so good.
There is also the constant struggle with the thin line between being serving the public and serving your own nostalgia. Sure, it’s fun to play the sweeping sing-alongs from the animated Disney movies from the 80′s and 90′s, but not everyone grew up watching those. We received proof of that when we realized the two shows that got the most listener responses were none other than The Sound of Music and (I will never not enjoy this) David Bowie’s Labyrinth, proving that you should never underestimate the power of Julie Andrews’ voice and David Bowie’s codpiece. But I digress: research is necessary to break out from our own preconceived notions of what children’s entertainment. I’m waiting for the day where we can not only do movies, but TV shows, recorded stories, and the like. It’s just a matter of finding resources, but hopefully we can make this happen (no wishing on a star necessary.)
So, if you have any guidance, requests, or just want to explore your own past with us, you’re always welcome to listen in: every Sunday from 4-5 PM. This week, we’ve tried our hardest to squeeze Mary Poppins into an hour (which is harder than it seems.) Come on, let’s go on a jolly holiday together.