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A Day in the Life of an Assistant Music Director at WICB

Written by John-Severin Napolillo '08

The author at the CMJ Music Marathon in New York

John-Severin Napolillo '08 was assistant music director at WICB his sophomore year. Here's how he describes the job:

When I arrived at WICB each afternoon, I held office hours much like professors have. I sorted through 20 to 50 packages filled with CDs and promotional materials. I then organized the music as part of our (sometimes overwhelmingly large) music cabinet. I spent an hour or two listening to new music, looking for songs that would be good to feature on my new music show and which to add to regular rotation.

I’d check my station email account to make sure that I had received all of the music that was expected, email record label staffers or artists who had contacted me,then begin hours of promoter phone calls. These calls consisted of “tracking”, which is informing the promoter of how much a given record is being played on the station.

This tracking information eventually becomes WICB’s contribution to the "CMJ Radio 200," the ranking of the top played albums on college radio, working in much the same way as the Billboard charts do for commercial radio/purchases. Every Tuesday morning it is the music director’s job to submit this information to CMJ, so they can compile their ranking for publication later that week.

I had a meeting nearly every day -- an executive staff meeting, general staff meeting, or music meeting where the music director and programming director (with their assistants) decided how the playlists and on-air programming for the week would work.

Depending on the day of the week, I usually had an on-air shift after my office hours. This was sometimes a regular “modern rock” shift, hosting the new music show, or taking part in a specialty show.

When the day was over, the work was not necessarily over, so many days I’d end up taking stacks of CDs home with me that I didn’t get to during the day, for some late night listening, while relaxing on the couch.



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