Old Vinyl Night

Written by on September 20, 2018

We all search for something to hang our hat on. That one thing that we can look back at and say “Dang, I’m proud of that.” For me, that moment happens every Wednesday at 7 PM when I look up at the audience that’s gathered at Ad Astra Books and Coffee in downtown Salina to hear me play records.

Old Vinyl Night (OVN) is the highlight of my week. From setting up at 5 PM, to getting the gear back to campus at 7:30, the show has grown to be more than just an assignment. 

The program started as a simple idea from KWU Media Production Manager Paul Green, who taught our Digital Publications class. He assigned myself, along with my classmate Preston Vetter (KWU Class of 2018), to haul our remote streamcasting gear up to Ad Astra Books and Coffee, hijack the music stream from KKWU, our online radio station, and spin vinyl like the DJ’s did in the old days as a prelude to the tradition of the “real” Old Vinyl Night that kicked off on Wednesday nights at 7. But once we started spinning records, it proved to be an intense process.

Jordan Waymaster (l), and Preston Vetter (r), prepare a set of vinyl to spin for KKWU’s “Old Vinyl Night” program, streamed live from Ad Astra Books and Coffee in downtown Salina.

Preston and I arrived at Ad Astra at 5 PM, to beg, borrow or steal a place on the stage. Next came setting up the turntables, hooking up the computer and mixing board, testing the sound, and by 6 PM we were off and spinning vinyl with chai lattes in hand and something from the 80s on the platters making its way onto the internet and around the world. KKWU enjoys not just a local audience, but reaches across the country and around the world, with listeners from as far away as Northern Europe and even Africa.

Our efforts were far from perfect, though. Preston and I were learning on the fly, and take ownership of more than a few mistakes. But, even after breaking a turntable stylus needle, killing a speaker cable, and being late to a handful of shows, the process got easier with every outing. The next thing we knew, the show was a hit, with an audience who loved it. For that reason alone, it became an intensely personal experience for both of us. For Preston, just the simple act of playing something as archaic as vinyl records really struck a resonant chord. “The fact that we used my dads vinyl almost exclusively made it a really personal experience,” he said. “It was a great way to remember my dad.”

The show began with records that came exclusivelyfrom our own personal vinyl collections. In the future, KKWU will be pushing to do vinyl drives and fundraising so that more students can enjoy what for many will be the unique experience of enjoying music the “old-fashioned way”, without the need to provide their own records to play.

This year, Old Vinyl Night is back and better than ever. With a new host, Stephen Loader, and soon, a DJ coffin that houses all of our turntables and mixing equipment. Stephen is bringing his own twist to the formula that’s sure to break the mold we created last year, and help us come up with something new for our audience at Ad Astra, and the folks listening at home around the world.

Expect more audience participation, and even more guests. Our first visitors to the show are the associates of Up With People that have come to Salina to spread the word about their show and what it’s about. We’re also taking vinyl donations during the show and may play some fresh old vinyl from Paul Chester, the ringleader of the spinning circus that is Old Vinyl Night. Old Vinyl Night is not only our show, but the community’s show. So if you have records you want the world to hear, sign up on Old Vinyl Night’s facebook page, bring your friends, and most importantly bring your vinyl! KKWU broadcasts our show every Wednesday from 6-7 PM and Ad Astra kicks off their show right after we clear the stage. You can listen to the show live anywhere in the world on kwustudentmedia.com!

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