Rows and rows of vinyl line the walls of the University of New Hampshire’s student-run radio station, WUNH, giving DJs thousands of options to choose from for their annual Vinyl Week, which took place last week starting on November 4.
Vinyl Week is the one week a year student and community DJs can play whatever they want, disregarding the station’s rule of having to play 60 percent new music and 40 percent old music, with the number one rule being that they must play vinyl.
“When it is Vinyl Week, I was like ‘Don’t just play The Beatles, AC/DC, stuff like that. We have thousands [of records], just filter through. Go grab a random one and see how it sounds,’” WUNH General Manager Arianna Lemieux encouraged. The station consists of around 80 student and community DJs, according to Lemieux who is a senior international affairs and Russian major in her fourth year at WUNH.
“The reason why we do it [Vinyl Week] is because we feel like a lot of people don’t get exposure to vinyl anymore. They’re kind of making a comeback, but twice a year, once a semester, we like to have a week where we go back to our roots and play vinyl all week,” Lemieux said.
Lemieux did just that in her own show – with an inspiration coming from her mother who used to play artists such as Duran Duran and Poison around their house. She also did a “Beatles anthology session,” playing only influences of the Beatles, like Elvis Presley. Vinyl Week gives the DJs an opportunity to diversify their station and create something that’s unique to them.
She added that it’s also an experience in itself to learn how to play a vinyl. She went on to say that the sound of a vinyl is different than streaming music online.
“A lot of students, especially those who have never been exposed before, love doing vinyl,” Lemieux said. “It can be a little tricky sometimes because they skip, and a lot don’t know how to fix that yet.”
The collection of vinyl is mostly bought by the station, with a notable record being an original copy of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of The Moon.” Impressive as that may sound, Lemieux explains that it was “probably” just bought when it first came out. Her favorite one is from a Led Zeppelin cover band.
“The coolest one, it’s my personal favorite, by a band called ‘Dred Zeppelin,’” Lemieux said. “Their lead singer is an Elvis impersonation, so it’s like a mixture of Elvis and Led Zeppelin cover songs with a jazz/reggae vibe to them. I love throwing it in at two in the morning and be like ‘Now we are going to listen to something weird!’”
Artists love to send the station their music, and as Lemieux said, she’ll “go to the mailroom at least twice a week and come back with at least 15 CDs each week.” WUNH in the past has received so much vinyl that they had to stop accepting donations. In fact, they are close to hitting their weight limit with the Memorial Union Building in which they are located.
As Vinyl Week came to a close, WUNH transitioned into Marathon Week, starting this past Sunday at midnight and ending at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17, with a goal to raise money to stay a non-profit radio station. The station broadcasts all the way to Boston on 91.3 FM or is available to tune in online any time at wunh.org.