When did you decide you wanted to DJ?
It was my first semester. There was a really great radio station back home that did classic rock, and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to find a radio station I liked here that played the music I was into. I was like, “You know what? I’m going to be on the other side of the mic! If I can’t find classic rock then I’ll bring classic rock to Maine!”

What’s your show called?
Haley’s Comment. It’s a play on Halley’s Comet, but also a play on Bill Haley & His Comets, which was one of the first bands to make the transition between blues and rock as we know it today.

What kind of music do you play?
Classic rock. So I do everything starting with The Beatles in the ’60s to U2 in the ’90s. A lot of Springsteen, a lot of Queen. I’m getting into Electric Light Orchestra because they have the same way of fusing genres that Queen has. A lot of Styx, a lot of The Eagles.
Is the ’90s the cutoff point for you in defining classic rock?
That’s actually something I explore in my show, “What actually is this genre?” Whenever you have periods, there’s no defined lines, because classic rock is very much influencing what we hear today. For example, Jimi Hendrix had this really interesting singing-speaking way of going about how he performed, and I think that really influenced the rap we have today. 
There’s also the technology developing during this time. What Jimi and Queen were doing—the layering—you hear that a lot now. And they were only using four tracks.

How do you come up with music to play on air? Is there an art to arranging songs?
I try to have a theme for each show. Sometimes my theme is just “I’m going to play awesome music.” I try to balance out faster stuff with softer stuff, and I try to balance out more well-known tunes with more obscure stuff you don’t hear all the time.

What are examples of some themes you have done?
This week, I’m doing Rock & Roll Hall of Fame because the induction ceremony is soon, so I’m going to be playing some of the music of the inductees this year. Some of my other favorite themes are Styx and Stones, Women in Rock, and Southern Rock. My first show of every semester is dedicated to exploring what classic rock is and how we categorize music.

How is your show structured?
I get on, I introduce my theme, and then I play music and either before or after I’ll have comments.

How do you want people to feel after listening to your show?
I’m really hoping to expose people to different ways of thinking about this music to give them bits of facts that they can hold on to and appreciate what was going on with the history and the performers and these songs. 

I also want to bring up these forgotten treasures that are in these artists’ repertoires, artists who have been performing for decades. You always hear the same songs from Bruce Springsteen, but my favorite album of his is one that you never hear on the radio.

This semester especially I’ve also been trying to take advantage of the turntable that we have in the studio and play at least one song each show that is on a vinyl. 

The digitization of music at times negatively affects how we experience songs. When sound files are compressed, the music loses a lot of depth; dynamics are lost, the low sounds don’t come through as well, it does not feel like the singers are in the room with you. 

With this older medium of vinyl comes a much richer listening experience and it’s this sort of listening experience that I want to expose my audience to.

If you got to pick your own theme song, what would it be?
“Rock and Roll is King” by Electric Light Orchestra: “She loves that rock ‘n roll and she plays it all night long/it’s all she ever tells me when I call her on the telephone.”

What’s the song that’s had the biggest impact on you and your taste in music?
It was actually two albums: “The Rising” by Bruce Springsteen and “Looking Forward” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. The person who really inspired me to get into this genre of music is my dad, and those are the two CDs that were playing in our car when I was seven.

What’s something you think most people don’t know about you?
I have the most diverse taste in music. My favorite band is Queen, but my second favorite band is this German gothic rock band. I also really enjoy Tuvan throat singing and Mongolian overtone singing. And my favorite female singer is a 1920s pop-jazz singer named Annette Hanshaw. She was really popular in her day and she’s just another one of those gems that’s fallen through the cracks of time.