Amazing Kids Part One: The Youngest DJ
Arthur Davis, Station Manager
Did you meet our nine-year-old receptionist? Zoe, now ten, is awesome: “May I ask who’s calling? One moment please.” KBOO does amazing work with youth, and today I’d like to share the tale of another young volunteer who—at three years old—is our youngest active volunteer. First, let’s set up the story:
Years ago, back in the early eighties, I was wearing combat boots, slam dancing at punk rock shows and bringing cans of spray paint to bear on empty walls (let’s call it an informal neighborhood improvement program), so when I turn on the radio and hear the music of that era, there’s always a sense of excitement and nostalgia. During International Women’s Day on KBOO, I enjoyed just that experience. We had a women-in-punk special during the middle of the afternoon. It took me back to “the day,” and the program sounded great, so I took the opportunity to walk back to the air room and find out who was bringing us this exciting programming.
Appropriately, there was a room full of people with leather jackets and blue hair, but imagine my surprise when I saw three-year-old Violet D’Alessio at the control board. Our own Erin Yanke was showing her as to what buttons and faders to push, but in Erin’s typical style, the session had the feeling of empowerment and mentorship rather than adult directives. Listening to the radio, you’d never imagine that this young kid was the “DJ.” After the program, I had a chance to speak with Violet’s mom, Heather. She’d been invited to put together a music special, and she in turn brought in friends from the music scene to assist.
Heather came of age with punk rock, and she’s experiencing some life changes now with a young daughter: “She’s not angry disillusioned and full of angst, so I don’t really play that music anymore, but I have some punk friends.” In the spirit of punk and DIY, Heather says, “I’m trying to connect with other radical unschoolers and build community around extended families.” Violet’s dad was a tree sitter and an activist, so Heather is trying to extend that spirit of community activism, retaining the energy of her younger life while “moving on to hope, possibility and continuance.” It can be a challenge because, “We don’t have elders…or they square up and get jobs,” so Heather came to KBOO: “It seemed like a perfect environment for creating community with families.”
Back to the radio show, Heather reports that in the first minute of the program, they got their first phone call: “That was shocking! I loved it! Who was that?”
We enjoyed the great radio, and it’ll be wonderful to see Violet and Heather down here to continue on-air production and community building. I’d like to share in an upcoming blog entry about Zoe—who I introduced above—and her sisters who are part of another wonderful KBOO family, literally and figuratively. These are the people who make KBOO a great place to work!