Rebel Radio, the University of Mississippi-run radio station that airs live from the Student Media Center at Ole Miss, offers students an opportunity to become radio DJs and host their own shows. They recently created a weekly program that will shine a spotlight on Mississippi musicians.
Chauncey Taylor, 20, is the program director for Rebel Radio. “I’m in charge of making sure our commercials get cut, and I get to decide what music plays on air when there are no DJs in the studio,” he said. “I’m also the head of Local Hour, which is a new thing we’re starting.”
Local Hour will include music and interviews that showcase area talent.
“Local hour is literally an hour every week where we play music from local artists around the Oxford area, Mississippi, even sometimes Memphis,” he said. “There’s a lot of talent in this area so we want to try to showcase it by way of the radio.”
Taylor said Local Hour will be open to all music genres, and he encourages local musicians to submit music.
“You can go on myrebelradio.com,” he said. “There is a tab that says ‘submit music.’ Artists can go and send in up to three songs, and they will get voted on by our committee.”
Rebel Radio’s current programming includes hour-long shows hosted by UM students. Music ranges from Top 40 and alternative to rap and hip hop, and is complimented by talk shows with subjects like sports, advice and movies. Taylor said the opportunity to become a DJ is open to all UM students
“If somebody wants a show, they can audition with me and our station manager, DiAndria,” he said. “Basically, you come in, and it’s like a job interview. We ask some questions about your show, how you would do it, what it would be about, and we pick the best ideas out of who auditions.”
Taylor said he loves his job as program director for Rebel Radio because of his lifelong passion for music.
“I have a love for music, so I love being able to work and listen to music simultaneously,” he said. “It’s awesome. I like meeting people too, and I’ve met some really cool people through the program, like the DJs are really cool. I like being here. It’s like home.”
One DJ, Caroline Kuyrkendall, said she decided to audition during her sophomore year after seeing how much other students enjoyed hosting their own shows.
“One of my friends had a show on Rebel Radio last year, and I always thought it looked super fun,” she said. “I saw posters advertising the auditions, and I liked the idea of finding good music and being able to share it with people.”
Kuyrkendall enjoys making weekly playlists for her show, which mainly plays alternative and indie music.
“I like putting music in a cohesive playlist so it sounds good and flows well,” she said. “Working for Rebel Radio allows me to help people discover new music. It’s also fun learning how to use the equipment and gaining experience as a DJ.”
Kuyrkendall said she wanted to make radio a more interactive experience for listeners through the use of social media.
“We started an Instagram to promote our radio show, but we wanted it to be interactive,” she said. “We wanted people to be able to send in requests and see pictures of us so we would feel more connected with our listeners and they could get to know the hosts better.
“It also reminds people to check us out when we go on air. We recently got our friend to design a logo for us, which we used to make stickers to give to people as just a cute, fun way to promote us and be involved in our show.”
Kuyrkendall has advice for people who think they may want to audition for Rebel Radio.
“Just try it out,” she said. “I was always too scared to do it even though I really wanted to, and now it’s so much fun even though I’m still learning. I’m very glad I did it.”
Kuyrkendall, who also works at Proud Larry’s, says she plans to be involved in Local Hour because of the many local musicians who perform there.
Local Hour will air Wednesdays at 6 p.m. and will be hosted by a weekly rotation of current Rebel Radio DJs.
A full schedule of Rebel Radio programming, including show names and their weekly air times, is available on myrebelradio.com, where you can also listen to the show live and even watch a live stream of the DJs in the booth. Listeners can also download the RadioFX app to listen live and chat with the DJs of the hour. Rebel Radio plays on 92.1 FM 24 hours a day, seven days a week.