Things I love are coming to an end. My classes, my radio show on WOBC-FM, Game of Thrones, and the collection of Marvel Cinematic Universe films are winding down all at once, and this synchronicity is making me all the more emotional.
In order to address these feelings of finality, I thought that it might be productive to speak about them through the framework of these stories that I am so fond of, in the hopes that it will deter me from assuming my final form as a Big Emotional Baby. This particular post will center on the end of my radio show days here. I hope to write more about some of the other aspects of college that I will soon be leaving behind in the coming weeks.
As Tony Stark/Iron Man says in Avengers: Endgame, “Part of the journey is the end.” While this sentiment alone might make me feel emotionally attacked (“what do you mean stories have to end?!”), this hits like a double whammy because of its occurrence within my final days of college. Tomorrow I will go on the radio for the last time at WOBC for my show, ‘‘Sounds of the Silver Screen,’’ which I have done every year of my college career. This particular fact seems most bittersweet to me, and I’ve been in the process of unpacking just why that is.
Essentially, my radio show was a one-hour period each week where I provided my thoughts on the things I love most besides friends and family, to an audience I could never see. In a sense, it’s quite similar to writing for Oberlin Blogs, only that I had to regularly appear every week on the airwaves. The fact that I’m getting choked up while writing this says a lot about what that’s meant for me all these years.
My radio show gave me the space to connect to others around the very human activity of storytelling, as well as the enjoyment of listening to music. One of the things I will miss most about doing my show every week is that it allowed me to bask in my favorite aspects of movies while also challenging me to think critically about how music affects our movie-going experience. Sometimes I gave my perspective on films as a second generation Asian American and Pacific American, as a woman of color, as a violinist, as a composer, and as a filmmaker myself. I took this very private experience of being all of those things and brought them out into the open each week on the show.
When I started the show in the fall of my freshman year, I was at 9 am on Saturdays. As I wrote in a post all those years ago, I couldn’t believe my luck in getting such a great slot. I was nervous my first semester on the show; my voice would sometimes shake when I spoke into the microphone every 15 minutes to announce station IDs (“this is WOBC, 91.5 FM, Oberlin College and Community Radio…”). But as the semester wore on, I got more and more comfortable with sitting in a chair, in front of a mic, in rapt attention for an hour, that I started announcing weekly themes for the show, first starting with ’80s movies.
Gradually, the show expanded such that I spent about forty percent of the time offering my thoughts on each of the films represented that week, and sixty percent on playing the music. I found that it wasn’t enough to just announce the presence of the film in the show that week—I wanted to break down the parts of it that I love, and the parts of the track that caught my attention in the first place. There were just so many great score and soundtrack moments in films that really made it impossible for me to keep my thoughts to myself.
I covered themes ranging from David Fincher’s filmography, to movies featuring things I am personally afraid of (drifting off untethered into the depths of outer space? No thank you!), sports movies, monster movies, movies set in the future, Bollywood, and modern myths. What will always be tough about saying goodbye to this show is that this particular genre is essentially inexhaustible. Even so, what I’ll take from the experience of doing this show is the process of thinking comparatively across ten or so different films at once, and identifying how they tackle a particular problem related to the limits of representation that comes with cinema. I hope that I’ll be able to continue this line of thinking upon my departure from Oberlin.
One of the most rewarding parts of the show was when someone would call the station phone, and tell me that they were listening, and enjoyed what I was doing. As I said earlier, I never see my audience, which is why it was always so special when someone took the time to call the station’s phone number and send along a few nice words. College can sometimes feel a bit isolating, but getting a phone call from an excited listener on the other end would always break that feeling down.
To everyone who’s ever listened to my show: thank you so much. As I’m sure you can tell, it meant a lot to this nerd to be able to share her love of Guillermo Del Toro’s filmography and Michael Nyman’s Gattaca score with all of you over the past few years.
I hope you take care, and that you continue to love the mysterious phenomena that we call cinema. A part of me itches to pull a Spock quote right now, but I'll leave that to you to catch my meaning.
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