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Featured Show: Radio Del Rey

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KOXY’s Featured Show series is back this February with Caroline Shehan’s Radio Del Rey. We sat down to talk about teen angst, corporate music, and how being alone in the booth opens up a whole new community. Interview by Mariana Martinez.

Mariana Martinez: First, if you could introduce yourself, your year, and your show.

Caroline Shehan: I’m Caroline, I’m from New York, I study Art History here, and I’ve been doing Radio Del Rey on KOXY since my freshman year.

MM: Cool. Could you tell me a little bit about what your show focuses on or what kind of music you play?

CS: Well I should also say that I also did Radio Del Rey in high school – I was lucky enough, fortunate enough to have a radio booth in high school. It was so sick. I started my second semester of my freshman year in high school. I was just a big music nerd. I named it Radio Del Rey because that was the year I started listening to Lana Del Rey. That was the summer of 2011, was probably the first time I heard her, and then, I was thinking about a name for a radio show. “Del Rey” just means “king of” so I was like “Radio Del Rey is perfect”– people always think it’s only Lana Del Rey music, but it’s totally not. It was just the inspiration. I did it all through high school too, and basically the premise is that I play music and I always talk about it. Just being a music nerd, I love reading about bands: their music processes and production processes, about the musicians and artists. I just like talking about it and researching about it

MM: And how do you think your show has evolved over the years, from when it started in high school to now?

CS: Ovie and I started doing it together because we would get together and share music naturally and spontaneously and energetically. That is different than what it used to be for me because I was alone listening to music.

MM: Me.

CS: Yeah, yeah. Like any high schooler, just getting really into sad things. But something I think that’s changed is that I’ve been more open about things. Obviously once you get to Oxy you start thinking about things in social justice contexts. Especially nowadays, music and politics are so closely intertwined. That’s also an evolving thing of the research I do, just finding out about things.

MM: Oh, that’s interesting.

CS: So many of our favorite artists are playing into whatever movements we think are going on right now. And then on the flip side of that, there’s some bad people. I don’t support you, but like, be adamant about that.

MM: XXXTENTACION – that’s like the first person that comes to mind.

CS: Girl, that was a big turning point for me, because I used to be like “Whatever, I still love this music.”

MM: Yeah, you’re into a lot of the rap and the hip hop and you don’t realize –

CS: It’s not just pertinent to hip hop and rap music, but other genres where there are artists who are just horrible people, and I remember the XX thing happened and my brother called me was like “I can’t listen to this music anymore.”

MM: Yeah, I can’t support that.

CS: I can’t. I love Kodak Black’s music but I don’t listen to it anymore. There’s like some other people, just a recent thing that’s been happening, obviously, but once my brother called me I was like “I can’t do this anymore.”

MM: It’s almost like the least you can do is not listen to the music because they always make so much money off their art. I definitely relate. Just what you were saying – this is a little off-topic from the interview but just like how, music ties into politics a lot these days. Like, for example, Bruno Mars winning album of the year was like “what the hell.” Kendrick, he gave the social commentary of the year, in his album.

CS: That’s was a big point of conversation from last year, last semester, when they released the Grammy nominations. Ovie and I talked about it for a while, because it’s just obvious, it’s really whitewashed.

MM: Because unfortunately it is the epitome of recognition in the music industry, but I don’t think it matters to be honest.

CS: Increasingly it is not mattering anymore.

MM: Especially with the power of the internet.

CS: And I really like that aspect, where we’re moving with music, because I feel like everything should be free for everyone. I hate Tidal.

MM: Like for-profit type stuff.

CS: And this Grammy thing is obviously filled by money, and popularity. And the radio plays into that too. Getting back to Radio Del Rey, one of the things I always wanted to do was play music that would never get played. The radio is so generic and formulaic, you know. I feel like it used to be this different animal. It was mutable and changeable, it was a different kind of medium. Now you think about Sirius Radio, it’s recorded.

MM: Top 40.

CS: Yeah, it’s like “Oh yeah, I don’t get that.” Does everyone really want to listen to the Top 40? When I first started listening to music for myself, like in the fifth grade, I would read through all of the Top 40 and listen to them all. Then I started listening to all this other music and it was like “What the hell? This is so good? Why have we been doing this? Why are we listening to all of this stuff on the Top 40?” And I also – nowadays, people don’t do the whole album through. I bet most people who really like the Kendrick album really like HUMBLE.


CS: But that’s something I try to do on the show, is play other songs on the album, that do not get played, because there’s a lot of richness.

MM: Just a wrap up question. What does KOXY mean to you as a platform, or what has it done for you? Why do you think KOXY matters?

CS: I do think radio is important in the increasingly digitized world. I think it’s important that we know the skills in the booth and have this close relationship to the music. It’s satisfying so get food from the Marketplace, but it’s really satisfying to be in a kitchen and make it yourself. We’re not mixing –

MM: No, but you are curating a show.

CS: It feels really good. It’s a space – radio booths are really good for me. It’s funny, because you feel so alone in that space, but you’re broadcasting out, and you never know who’s gonna be listening. That’s something I also learned. I really do think radio is important. And I think that all of y’all who work at KOXY, who keep it up, you don’t falter.

MM: I definitely want to make more of a community with DJs. The stuff you’re saying is important, it matters, and I want to talk about it in a support system, a community.

CS: Extremely important community to me.


Tune in to Radio Del Rey Mondays at 8:00 PM. Check out the show’s blog at

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