Rainy Dawg Radio is completely student-run and includes a year-round management staff and a “massive collective” of DJs. Photo by Lucas Anderson
It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon. While most students are fighting for space in the Quad, senior Hans Anderson is tucked away in the basement of Condon Hall.
“We’ve been in a lot of basements lately,” he said.
Anderson, the music director for Rainy Dawg Radio, is hosting his weekly show “Milk and Cookies.” This show, like many at the station, is part of a progressive trend — bringing in live music every week.
“We’re not playing the same thing you would find on KUBE 93,” Anderson said. “We’re not playing the same thing you would find on commercial radio. It is a college radio station, and we are using it to push music that we like.”
Being a student-run station can also have disadvantages, though. During the HUB remodel, Rainy Dawg was relocated to the basement of Condon. General manager Sam Mouser said this location has been an obstacle for the station. However, he felt they have done well overcoming it.
“I think all the problems have led to really cool solutions,” Mouser said. “Our space in Condon is really nothing that exciting — it’s an ugly little basement. We’ve actually turned this ugly little basement into a place where a five-piece rock band can play in studio, and we would get an awesome recording.”
Mouser remembered hosting local songwriter Bryan John Appleby earlier this year in the basement. Appelby played in the basement hallway of Condon for the station. The unusual setting, Mouser said, provided unique acoustics. Such live performances help the station strive in the competitive market of Seattle radio. Mouser said the unique programming of Rainy Dawg has allowed it to distinguish itself. Anderson’s show, for example, hosts musical guests weekly and interviews them as they eat milk and homemade cookies.
Hans Anderson, music director and host of “Milk and Cookies,” hangs out in Rainy Dawg studios in the basement of Condon Hall. Anderson spends his Saturdays here every week interviewing local musicians and eating baked goods.
This week, however, Anderson didn’t have a guest. Instead, his efforts have been focused on the radio station’s ninth birthday celebration: a three-day music festival.
Featuring Oneohtrix Point Never, The Thermals, and Brother Ali, the festival will take place in the UW Ethnic Cultural Theater this week. Beginning Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., each show will include two local openers and a headliner. The festival offers the unique opportunity to see these headliners in a small venue.
Although Rainy Dawg has hosted birthday celebrations in the past, this is the first year it will have more than one show. Each night focuses on a different genre, which, Mouser said, is representative of the station itself.
“Rainy Dawg has really eclectic programming,” Mouser said. “We have electronic shows. We have hip-hop shows. We have rock shows. We’re not trying to shut people out or the type of music they want to listen to out.”
On-campus concerts, such as this week’s festival, are also a way Rainy Dawg is hoping to expand outreach. Frequent shows in the Parnassus Cafe and collaboration shows with other student groups have helped the station reach new listeners.
“I think what it’s done this year more so than ever is reaching tons of types of student groups,” said Ryan Baker, Rainy Dawg’s community outreach intern. “I think it kind of epitomizes what Rainy Dawg is about.”
Last month Rainy Dawg hosted a show featuring slam poets, visual artists, and musicians. Baker said this could not have happened without collaboration with Manic Mouth Congress and other student groups. The birthday festival is also a collaboration show with ASUW Arts & Entertainment. Baker said he hopes to continue collaborating with other ASUW entities. Later this month, Rainy Dawg plans to live stream ASUW election forums for the first time.
Dawgie Style, a new show focusing on sex, dating, and relationships, is another example of the station’s diverse programming. The ASUW Student Health Consortium collaborated with Rainy Dawg to develop the show. Expanding the station’s programs is something Mouser said helps each year’s staff set themselves apart; Rainy Dawg hires a new staff every year. This year, Mouser said, they have worked to “one-up” last year’s shows.
“We wanted to shoot a little higher — that’s the trend I think every staff wants to set,” Mouser said. “Every staff member comes in with a different set of goals they want to accomplish, so Rainy Dawg changes a lot every year.”
The opening of the HUB will also be a new development for next year’s station. Not only will the station be housed outside a basement for the first time, but there will also be more venues for concerts.
“It will be a much more interactive experience than in Condon,” Mouser said. “Ideally, if we’re in a visible space, students can walk by and see a band playing and stop by.”
Baker said he hopes the new venue will also improve collaboration efforts.
“The relationships that we have built this year have been strong and mutually beneficial,” he said. “I think Rainy Dawg has always had a lot to offer, but there’s always room for improvement and growth.”
Meanwhile, Mouser said the station will continue to explore new venues for concerts on campus and continue to host live performances in its basement.
“Hopefully a lot of people respond to live music,” Mouser said. “I think that’s really cool. Being able to walk a block or two away and see a really cool show is something when I was a freshman didn’t happen very often.”
Reach reporter Jillian Stampher at email@example.com. Twitter: @JillianStampher
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