Oakland University's independent student newspaper.

The Oakland Post

Playlist for the people

Ben Gagnon

Ben Gagnon

Ben Gagnon, Contributor

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If you’re tuning into 88.3 FM WXOU on a Saturday night, you’ll likely catch Marty Shafer on the air.

Shafer, a special lecturer in communication, has DJ’d with the college radio station since 2006. His original self-titled show, which lasted from 2006-2011, featured mostly classic rock hits. But it has recently undergone quite the makeover.

Since the recent reboot of his show earlier this year, the genre he plays is mainly electronic and dance music (EDM). Shafer is also known for chatting with listeners via texts and calls to get to know the listeners and their tastes better.

“It’s more about what a modern, younger audience [wants],” he said. “Fun, has a beat…that’s what they’re interested in.”

While many of his colleagues and students have pursued careers in broadcasting outside the university, Shafer chose to work with students. He’s currently the only radio personality for WXOU who isn’t enrolled in classes.

Shafer doesn’t mind being older than his coworkers and says he enjoys teaching and working within the flexible aspects of non-profit college radio.  

“It’s an outlet to play music that I enjoy and that people want to hear,” he said. “I like having the ability to speak my mind and talk about how I feel about the music.”

Shafer aims to keep his show interactive through his chatter with the audience. With a background in DJ’ing for house parties, he also looks to connect with listeners by incorporating live mixing into his show.

“People don’t always want to hear an entire song, but sort of the breaks in them,” he said. “Why not create a playlist for people to have fun with?”

Above all, hosting a radio show gives Shafer time to, in his words, “chill out”, relax and contemplate his future. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Bowling Green University and is also aiming to expand his “side gigs” like event DJ’ing and studio mixing.

In the meantime, Shafer plans to continue teaching audio and radio classes at Oakland University, where he earned his bachelor and masters degrees. As WXOU’s faculty adviser and coordinator of broadcast services, he hopes to get more students involved in producing their own shows. He actually got started by producing for WXOU as an undergrad and loves seeing others do the same.

“You get your own show—however you want to do it,” he said. “There’s students who have done a live show as part of their course requirements. I enjoy getting them involved.”

Producing a show for WXOU, Shafer says, has been a great opportunity for building his broadcasting knowledge, as well as giving him an outlet to do what he enjoys.

“No matter where I end up, I’ll always give WXOU—my favorite radio station—the credit for where I got started,” he said.

You can catch Shafer’s show every Saturday night, 8-9 p.m. on WXOU.

Outside the studio…

Skateboarding is one of Shafer’s favorite hobbies. He even appeared in a student documentary about the sport, where he described the skateboarding culture and its connection with music genres. For him, skateboarding isn’t about competing or doing stunts; it’s simply a great way to “ride around and escape reality.”

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