Making Waves That Last At Chapman Radio

From left, sophomores Bella Gerencser and Emilie Haskell prepare to go on-air for their talk show, “You’re Not Like Other Girls.” Photo courtesy of Haskell.

Dodge men, ugh, thought sophomore Emilie Haskell as she read the list of Chapman radio shows scheduled for fall 2021. 

There was an overwhelming number of Dodge men scheduled to man the airwaves,  all of whom tended to give terrible advice to listeners, Haskell felt. She was sick of them. 

Haskell (bottom) and Gerencser proudly hold up an award for “Best Show on Air.” Photo courtesy of Haskell.

“I thought, ‘That’s so stupid, no one will listen to them,’” said Haskell, turning to her best friend Bella Gerencser. “But you know who they would listen to? Us.” 

After this realization, their radio show, “You’re Not Like Other Girls,” was born. One episode together soon became forty-five.

Early this year, Haskell and Gerencser’s show was announced “Best Talk Show” through the Intercollegiate Broadcast Systems radio awards. The two’s connection has also landed them “Best Original Show Concept” and “Best Show on Air” through Chapman’s radio awards.

However, the reality is most student shows don’t find the success that, “You’re Not Like Other Girls,” found.

In fact, most student DJs in Chapman Radio drop out of the program within their first year. So what exactly does it take to run a successful show?

Junior Ella Weil, a strategic and corporate communication major, did Chapman Radio for just one semester her freshman year.

“It was unfulfilling and unrewarding,” Weil said. “I didn’t feel like it was going to go anywhere further for me.” 

A picture taken outside of Chapman Radio’s headquarters, located in the basement of Henley Hall. Photo courtesy of Chapman Radio.

Haskell and Gerencser, students who have found more success, agree it’s no easy task. It takes a high level of commitment, a passion for radio, and of course, being entertaining. 

“Having a good niche is really the backbone of it,” sophomore Gerencser said. “If Emilie and I didn’t have a good, solid concept from the get-go, we would not be where we are now.” 

Airing every Wednesday from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m., the hosts of, You’re Not Like Other Girls,” contribute their success to one other factor: their friendship. 

“We don’t struggle to come up with stuff to talk about,” Haskell said. 

“Crazy shit just be happening to both of us all the time,” Gerencser added.

The pair, evidently, is lucky to have found each other – their friendship has blossomed into episodes about the powers of manifestation to detailed recaps of their dating experiences.

“We didn’t do this with the intent of having it go really well, we just kind of did it for fun,” said Haskell. “It just turned out that Bella and I are very lucky.”

Chapman Radio, the university’s independent online radio station run entirely by students, has been on-air since 1967. Yet it has only gained popularity in recent years – and now, so much popularity that it’s putting producers in a tough position. 

A closer look at some of the equipment inside Chapman’s radio station. Photo courtesy of Chapman Radio.

“I think a lot of people coming back from a year of COVID were trying to do anything to find a platform,” Haskell said. “Bella is the programming manager and it’s getting to a point where next semester she’s going to have to choose which shows go on-air.” 

For a lot of students, the news of limiting radio shows may seem like an extra setback. Especially for those just starting to get involved with the program. 

“It’s my first semester doing Chapman Radio,” said senior Nikki Trippler, host of Chapman Radio’s “KPOP Tunes.”

Trippler added:

“There’s definitely a learning curve I would say, but I personally love to learn and try new things.”

Those who have been triumphant have gone on to accomplish some impressive feats. Junior Gigi Sestito parlayed her time at Chapman Radio into a job as a college marketing representative for Warner Music U.

“Chapman Radio one-hundred percent helped me get my job,” said Sestito, Chapman Radio’s music director. “When I told [Warner Music] I have an executive say on what plays on air, they were like, ‘that’s perfect.’” 

Gigi Sestito, Chapman Radio’s music director. Photo from Sestito’s Instagram.

If any of Chapman Radio’s programs don’t seem familiar, then surely “Radio Dude,” the iconic green radio head which serves as the station’s logo might. 

“The green radio head guy was actually designed for Chapman Radio t-shirts some years ago,” Gerencser said. “People just liked it so I think that’s why we kept it.” 

Though Chapman Radio seems to be receiving a lot of attention this year, the same can’t be said for other radio programs nationally. With new platforms like YouTube gaining popularity, the number of traditional radio talk shows are declining

“Radio is a dying breed,” Gerencser said. “It’s nice to be able to keep it alive.”

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Hannah Nazari is a junior communication studies major with a minor in visual journalism. She is a self-described creative with a passion for writing and art, but mostly, she’s just a goof.