WXOU nationally recognized for “The Condom Song”

Kaley Barnhill, Staff Reporter

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Did you ever think that WXOU’s staff would write and produce a song titled “The Condom Song?” Honestly, neither did we.  

“You could get gonorrhea / You could get the clap / How about some chlamydia, riding your lap” are the opening lyrics of WXOU’s award winning PSA, “The Condom Song.” The brief song is a PSA about the dangers of not practicing safe sex.

Thomas Butcher, former Public Service Announcement (PSA) director, wrote, produced and performed the song while Jake Raponnoti, former general manager, played guitar. Bailey Ernst, current PSA director, also produced and Alexa Ellish did background vocals.

“There are a number of fantastic people who work at WXOU,” Butcher said on collaborating with fellow WXOU staff. “My college experience wouldn’t be the same without them.”

WXOU won a national award for Best PSA Audio from College Broadcasters, Inc. (CBI). Since the CBI awards are based in Seattle, Wash., Butcher said he was keeping an eye on the awards announcements on CBI’s Twitter.

“It felt very good and very rewarding,” he said. “[And] it felt like we were able to put ourselves on the map and gain recognition.”

Butcher reported he thought it was the first reward the radio station has won, and it “is nice to know we have started this [and] more people will believe in themselves.”

Producing PSAs and Promos was always one of Butcher’s favorite aspects of working at the station.

“I was ecstatic when Thomas told me that we won first place,” Rapanotti said via Facebook Messenger. “Working with him was great. He had everything planned out and coached me through my part. He’s really clever with this type of stuff, and I’m really thankful that he asked me to work on it.”

Rapanotti’s guitar playing was “essential,” according to Butcher. Butcher also said of Ellish, “I knew that she could do something special. The first time I [heard her sing her part] I was clapping like a seal, I was so excited.”

On Ernst’s contributions, Butcher said, “She has a good sensibility when it comes to producing and editing. I’ve valued Bailey’s insight for awhile now. [The song] could still exist, I don’t know if it’d be an award winner without anyone else.”

Butcher, who is also a filmmaker, said he has previously mostly made film compositions.

“As PSA Director, I knew I wanted to use music,” Butcher said. “This is the one [original song] I put out and we won a national award.” This was the first song with lyrics that Butcher has ever recorded and produced, but he said he has “a lot of music…that is just unreleased.”

Besides the singing and music, the song also features more clever lyrics, such as “Don’t forget you could wind up with a tiny human / Who doesn’t talk / Has no teeth / And can’t even walk / Cryin’ around the clock.”  

Butcher also has a podcast, The Thomas Butcher Podcast, that can be streamed through WXOU and Soundcloud. He said, “The podcast is an unrestrained comedy talk,” he said. He explained that he feels “It makes [him] a better communicator.”