Help Get WKNC an Encore on mtvU!

Back in September you may have seen WKNC featured for a week on mtvU’s College Radio Countdown. We had some of our wonderful staff put together a video and more, that can be found here. mtvU shared on Twitter that they would be having an encore feature of the most loved college radio station (who we think is us, duh).

But we need your help!




So, if you’d like to see WKNC featured again, tell the Twitter world! Make sure you use the hashtag #CRC to get your vote in.

Thanks everyone!




Record Store Black Friday: Thoughts from Local Record Store Owners

Hey y’all,

I hope everyone is excited to get fat and stuff on Thursday.  And then on Friday, to buy LOTS OF LPs!!!  You can peruse the releases that you (might) be able to purchase here (more on that later), but first, check below to see what some real local record store employees are excited about for this upcoming sales extravaganza.

Schoolkids Records’ employee Kyle Rosko is excited about a whole lot of releases.  Namely, the Beach Boys Surfin’ Safara 10", the White Stripes Live at Hotel Yorba 7", and the Skrillex Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites first press to wax.  I may have made up that last one.

Chaz of Bull City Records fame is really excited about the Scettore Studios Sessions from The Velvet Underground.  This is an acetate release from way back before The Velvet Underground & Nico was released, and features demo/alternate versions of some songs that ended up on that classic album.

Some guy from Offbeat Music in Durham, NC (sorry I didn’t catch you name, but your store is great!!)  is apprehensive about the day, because as of when I called him, he didn’t know what was going to be coming to the store.  He brings up an interesting point–that retail can be stressful, especially when you’re dealing with a bunch of stocking agencies that are smokin’ doobies rather than employing high-quality analytics systems that can give record store owners a better idea of what they’re getting.  Alas.

That’s all I got,

Have fun, eat good food, buy good music!




K-Pop: The New Rising Genre of Our Generation or Just a Current Fad?

I’m sure everyone by now has heard PSY’s international hit “Gagnam Style”; whether you hate it by not or not may be a test of endurance as this trendy tune has swept the nation. Flash mobs and radio stations alike have jumped on the bandwagon. However, arguably before PSY, K-Pop appears to have been picking up publicity and popularity in the United States since the debut of groups such as Super Junior and Girl’s Generation.

But what is K-Pop, and what distinguishes it from other genres besides the language sung? What is making is so popular?

Is it just a temporary fad thanks to the sweeping explosion of “Gagnam Style”? Perhaps not…

Since about the end of 2011, K-Pop has been capturing the music hearts of many with their appealing style very nostalgic to our 1990s N.S.Y.N.C. or Backstreet Boys. A majority of the artists in K-Pop are actually in groups ranging from two to more commonly six or seven. The music is typically made with synthetic instruments, distinguished by their catchy beats and elaborate dances. K-Pop artists take music to the next level by presenting a variety of different moves to their music, calling the listener to not only enjoy the music from their headphones, but to actually make a physical exercise. Perhaps they go onto try to impress their friends with their newly-learned footwork. It becomes a means of an activity for the ambitious dancer, or a group of friends wanting to hang out in a new way.

Each song is unique in their own way, ranging from different emotions and cultural shifts occurring in South Korea at the time. For example, the incredibly popular “Gagnam Style” was actually PSY’s jest to the younger female and older, wealthier male populations. He targeted the superficiality and materialism present as younger women focus more rich older men instead of the young men of their generation. Definitely a lot deeper than what you’d expect from such a upbeat-sounding song? Each song has their own meaning, but of course it’s a little more difficult to understand as we are not all fluent in Korean.

Which brings me to my next point: if we can’t understand it, why is it still becoming so popular? Perhaps this day and age our generation is becoming more tolerant of other cultures and respecting the language differences. Next to math, it’s said that music is a universal language. As the internet has been tying different countries together through sites such as YouTube, it is evident that diversity is becoming more and more known, and while intolerance continues to grow, perhaps tolerance and acceptance is growing faster in the world. The growing popularity of K-Pop may be signaling the birth a new mindset and furthermore a new genre that distinguishes our generation as pioneers of a whole new level of music diversity.

In it’s own way, K-Pop is starting off the promotion of international music. At this rate, it won’t be before long other genres of music pick up. Perhaps K-Pop will stay at the top under its many awesome artists, rhythmic beats, and enjoyable dances.

Interested in listening to more than just Gagnam Style and curious about other awesome K-Pop artists out there such as EXO-K, Two X, E-7, and NU’EST? WKNC has a K-Pop show known as “KJAMZ”! Tune in every Saturday from 12PM-1PM to rock out to awesome beats!








Mixing Music with Politics

Speakers thumped out bass-heavy remixes while flashing neon lights danced through a fog machine. Blue banners hung behind the make-shift stage and from the third floor balcony of Witherspoon Student Center, matching the rectangular area on Harris Field bound by Obama yard signs. This was all part of Wolfpack for Obama’s event featuring Rock the Vote with Passion Pit. Two members of the band took turns playing a DJ set, featuring remixes of popular songs and random assortments of beats. The crowd awkwardly toe-tapped during the 6:00 p.m. set. They did take the time out, however, to say, “I don’t care who you vote for. Obama, Gary Johnson, whatever. Just don’t say Romney, because you’re educated. You know better.”


Musicians have been using their celebrity to try to persuade fans’ political opinions for ages, but with the upcoming presidential election and accessibility to every kind of social media platform, we’re seeing more of it than ever before: email blasts, tweets, Facebook posts, Tumblr reposts, stage banter and of course, the sharing of infamous memes. Some artists just want to end the apathy of voting by teaming up with nonpartisan voter registration organizations like HeadCount and Rock the Vote. Wilco, for example, took a team of volunteers with them for every American tour date this year to canvas the audience.

Others want to voice their opinions about politics not so subtly. Many local artists during the spring Shakori discussed voting against Amendment One and what that vote would mean to them – informational calls to action without any sugarcoating. Like Passion Pit, other artists have participated in rallies, forums and concerts supporting a particular candidate or party. President Obama’s reelection campaign has been supported by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Jay-Z, Beyonce (and probably Blue Ivy, too), Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Katy Perry, Jon Bon Jovi, Kanye West, Dave Matthews, The National, Pete Wentz, Mariah Carey, Lady Gaga, Joel Madden, Jason Mraz, Gwen Stefani, David Grohl, Cyndi Lauper, Adam Levine and more. In 2008, Durham-based Merge Records hosted Obama rallies featuring their artists, including Grammy-winner Arcade Fire. Superchunk, Baobab and Future Kings of Nowhere have more or less live tweeted the recent debates, not being shy whatsoever about their thoughts.

It’s harder to find the same allegiance among musicians on the conservative side.  This year’s Republican National Convention’s lineup included Oak Ridge Boys, Conrad Oberg, Lynyrd Skynyrd,  Philip Alongi, Neal E. Boyd, Lane Turner, Randy Owen, Jack Blades, 3 Doors Down, Ayla Brown, Beau Davidson, The Kantinas, Danny Gokey, Taylor Hicks and BeBe Winans. Nicki Minaj, despite having Obama’s endorsement in her fight against Mariah Carey, favors Romney on Lil Wayne’s newest mixtape. The Killers, who Romney allegedly enjoys, would “be open” to performing in support of the candidate.

Now, it’s not all that surprising that musicians tend to lean towards more liberal views. The imbalance is interesting though. Why do so few indie bands (that aren’t offered to play big gigs) publicly support conservative ideas and candidates? And if there were a “Wolfpack for Romney” group on campus, who would they get to perform? Even in the 2008 election, there was a significant difference in musicians’ support between parties. Hank Williams Jr. and Gretchen Wilson were among the most prominent McCain supporters.

Is this just a genre division? If you’re trying to reach younger voters through music, what’s the best way to accomplish this?



For What It’s Worth

I am subscribed to probably hundreds of North Carolina band email lists. That’s a lot, I know. I don’t have to, but it helps me stay connected to the massive amounts of musicians in our state whose music I promote on the Local Beat every Friday evening. Most send out emails every few months or so usually promoting a gig or sometimes promoting a Kickstarter campaign or new album. More often than not it’s purely informational and promotional, nothing out of the ordinary. Every now and then though I read one that is a little different, a little odd, something that stands out.

Back in May an extremely talented North Carolina songwriter, Steph Stewart, sent out an email to her subscribed fans that struck a nerve with me. I quote:

Dear Someone,

My heart sinks a little every time I bring my fellas into a gig that ends up costing us more to play than we make. When you play for tips or a cover charge, it’s always a gamble. It’s a hard balance to find and one that most musicians struggle reaching: To get out there and be heard WHILE making somewhat of a living… or at least not loosing money. And of course, it isn’t really about the money so much in the end as it is about the art.

Me personally? Well, I’d rather play to a room of 20 attentive and appreciative folks than 1000 folks who would rather talk over our background hum. I suppose, like with anything, there must be balance. There is an equilibrium, and as an artist, I need both. The well-paying gigs fill the pockets. They pay rent and bills. They put gas in the tank and food in the belly. This is essential.

Last night we played an incredible show at the Greenbean Cafe in Greensboro, NC. We performed to a small crowd of maybe 30 and had the pleasure of sharing the stage with some talented whippersnappers from Concord, NC and a fella touring from Kent, OH. We left with a grand total of $15 and gurgling guts from our PBRs, but it was all worthwhile. You see, those 30 or so strangers connected with us. For that hour, they were bold enough to follow us into the world of our music, and they reminded all three of us that we are worthwhile. This music we make, it’s worth a listen… So maybe it didn’t fill our pockets, but it damn well filled our souls.

Thank you Greensboro. We’ll be seeing you. And as for you, dear someone… we hope to be seeing you sooner.


So much rings true in this letter. As an avid supporter of the numerous talented musicians in our area I often hear about how most of them don’t “do it for the money.” Money helps, no doubt, but that shouldn’t be the reason someone stands behind a microphone and performs for an audience, whether it be 30 or 1,000. It shouldn’t be the reason why someone creates a piece of artwork or publishes a poem. They should do it firstly for themselves and their own creative expressions and secondly for that interpersonal connection Steph talks about, that understanding bond that all people seek from others. We all have to make a living and no one is disputing that, but the best artists in our area are not doing it primarily for the money. They are not cheating themselves or their abilities.

So I want to use this letter to encourage you, the audience, the one who is so often reached out to by our local artists, to reciprocate that back to your community. Go see live shows. Tip a street performer. Buy the record from a record store. Request their music on the radio. Do your part in that artist-audience relationship. Most of our local bands are hardly doing this to make a buck, they are doing it for you.



WKNC is proud to announce that it is a part of this year’s MTVU College Radio Countdown, a showcase of some of the best college radio stations around the nation. Starting today, Tuesday the 18th, through Friday the 21st, WKNC will be airing its spot along with our top ten music video countdown. Be sure to tune in and check us out on mtvU, and also check out the MTVU Tumblr for our “WKNC pick of the day’s.”


WKNC Sticker Photography Contest!

Do you love listening to WKNC?  Do you like going to cool places?  Do you have a knack for photography?  If you answered yes to any, all, or none of those questions, WKNC is hosting a social media contest for listeners to take a cool picture with an 88.1 WKNC sticker at a awesome location to win some sweet merchandise.  Maybe take a picture of your sticker at a music festival, a cool spot in downtown Raleigh, or even on top of Mount Mitchell; get as creative as you can!

To register yourself to be included in the contest, and receive a free WKNC sticker to compete, send an email with “STICKER” somewhere in the subject line and with your name and mailing address to, then we will send you a sticker via the mail.  After taking your photo, you can send your photograph in via Twitter, Facebook, or to  When taking your photos, make sure there is no profane, explicit, or illegal material in the photograph, WKNC holds the right to refuse unsuitable images.  The contest runs from today and ends on October 24th.   On that day, the WKNC staff with narrow the selection down to 10 finalists, post them to a Facebook album, and the contestant whose photo receives the most “likes” will win the 1st place prize of a WKNC t-shirt AND Double Barrel Benefit CD and the 2nd place winner will receive a Double Barrel Benefit CD which can be mailed to the provided addresses.

Feel free to get as creative as you want and remember to have fun!  If you have and questions feel free to ask us on Facebook, or direct them to

This WKNC t-shirt could be yours if you enter the contest.



WKNC’s Bucket List for Triangle Music Lovers

The fall semester is on the brink of starting, and it made me a bit nostalgic as I’m beginning my last semester here at NC State University. I came to Raleigh from a small town in eastern NC so I didn’t know much about what I think is the triangle’s most redeeming quality – its music scene. So, we made a bucket list for all you music lovers out there so you don’t miss out on anything.  It’s in no particular order.


Enjoy – and feel free to add your stories and suggestions in a comment!

1.             DJ at WKNC You can also help out with promotions, production, web, engineering, sports and public affairs. You’ll be first in the know about anything music. We hold interest meetings each semester (even summer!) for NCSU students. This fall’s interest meetings will be held August 20 at 5:30 p.m. and August 21 at 8 p.m. in 201 Witherspoon Student Center.

2.             Bike to First Friday | You can venture to First Friday, a monthly arts event in downtown Raleigh, by starting at NCSU’s Bell Tower at 7PM with fellow bikers. Be careful not to drink too much free wine if you’re biking back.  "Go to first friday – there’s usually live music performances outside!!“ – DJ Trillian

3.             Go to Hopscotch | Hopscotch Music Festival will be September 6-8 this year. “An annual festival held in downtown Raleigh that showcases some of the finest live acts that the state has to offer.  Put on by Raleigh’s Independent Weekly Magazine, this festival boasts an eclectic lineup of local and touring artists from all walks of music, indie-rock, hip-hop, folk, electronic, and pretty much everything in between.  This year’s lineup features The Roots, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Yo La Tengo, Built To Spill, Danny Brown, The Mountain Goats, and much more!  With free shows starting at noon and lasting until around 5:00 p.m. each day, there’s no reason not to check out this unique festival experience right here in Raleigh!”  -GRZA

4.             Heck, hit all the venues. | Let’s be honest, we’re lucky to live here. In Raleigh you have Kings Barcade, The Pour House, Lincoln Theatre, Slim’s, Berkeley Café, Tir Na Nog Irish Pub, Dive Bar, NC Museum of Art, Southland Ballroom, Deep South, Disco Rodeo, Five Star, Raleigh Amphitheatre and concert halls. Chapel Hill/Carrboro area has Cat’s Cradle, Local 506, Nightlight and The Cave. Durham is home to Motorco, Pinhook, Casbah, American Tobacco Campus and DPAC. And of course, the “other” schools’ concert halls and auditoriums. They’re all great. “Attend any and every Future Islands show.” –May Day

5.             Attend Fridays on the Lawn | This is WKNC’s bi-semester free concert event. It’ll always feature local music, food and swag. Usually on Harris Field (rain locations are necessary sometimes), you’re encouraged to bring some friends and a blanket. This is open to the public, and dogs are welcome, too!

6.             There’s also Music on the Lawn at American Tobacco in Durham | Grab a beer from Tyler’s and enjoy some live music. There’s also dance, movies and jazz events that take place here.

7.             Explore SparkCon | This year, SparkCon will take place September 13-16 in downtown Raleigh. In its 7th year, it will encompass everything from music and film to fire dancers and bartending competitions.

8.             Camp out at Shakori Hills | Located in Pittsboro, Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival happens twice a year, fall and spring. The fall festival will be October 4-7. Camp out with your friends in the woods, make new friends, and wake up to the sound of banjos. Paint your face, dance, cook over a fire…..also, get a Veggie Thing. It’s amazing. “A stellar 4-day music festival in Pittsboro, NC that boasts everything from bluegrass to soul to funk.  Filled with good vibes and good times, this family friendly festival is loaded with diverse music, yoga, and dance workshops that take up the few minutes of the day that don’t have wonderful tunes permeating throughout the farmlands.  A guaranteed beautiful weekend that rolls around twice a year.”     -GRZA

9.             Dance at Rowdy, Rowdy Square dances | “This is a good way to experience square dancing with young folks, and hear some good ol’ music! Be on the lookout for these dances!” -Cosmic Cowboy

10.          See a band in the Brickyard | The past few years during Shack-a-thon (fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity), WKNC has hosted acoustic performances from local artists. You can also catch the occasional student strumming a guitar, playing accordion or one of NCSU’s a capella groups performing. 

11.          Picnic for a show at Duke Gardens | Beautiful, serene, and BYOB. Share a blanket and dinner with some friends while watching local bands perform into the sunset. Make a friend at Duke so your tickets are cheaper.

12.          Listen to a pianist in Caldwell Lounge | If you’re a student in CHASS (College of Humanities and Social Sciences), you’ve probably already done this. There’s a piano set up in Caldwell Lounge that is frequented by talented students. So while you’re between classes, cramming for a test or taking a lunch break, it’s nice to spare a second to listen.

13.          Grab a beer at Local Band Local Beer | Local NC brewskis on tap and local bands on stage. This 21+ free event happens every Thursday night at 10PM at Tir Na Nog. 

14.          Read The Independent Weekly | It’s an alternative weekly (free) newspaper that has all the best music, arts and political news. It also keeps you up to date with what events are going on around the county.

15.          Join a drum circle at Pullen Park | Channel your inner hippy.

16.          Celebrate Christmas with Trekky Records | Trekky Christmas puts a new spin on classic songs by featuring their bands and mix-matched members.

17.          Rock out at Bull City Metal Fest | If you’re a metal head, it’s a must. Two days of heavy metal in downtown Durham, pulling national and local acts.

18.          Enjoy a performance at DPAC | It’s nice and classy. See ballet, theatre or music here. The last one I went to was BB King. Badass.

19.          Go to a concert at Memorial Hall | Another very nice venue that will get various acts. It’s can be a bit pricy, but it’s worth it.

20.          End August with Stars in the Round at Shakori | "Great if you don’t have 4 days to devote to camping. Usually 3rd weekend in August” – Mollypop

21.          Catch the Diggup Tapes show series | It’s a free show series at Kings each month. This is 18+.

22.          Go to both nights of Double Barrel Benefit | “For people new to the triangle there is no better time than right now to clear your calendar for the next Double Barrel Benefit. It’s going to be the 10th anniversary, and it’s going to be all kinds of awesome.” -DJ Ones

23.          Party with the triangle’s finest at Indy Week’s “Best of” Party | Each year, Indy has its readers vote on the best in the triangle. In June, they throw a party to celebrate the winners and finalists. In other words, hear the best music, eat the best food, drink the best drinks and get acupuncture.

24.          Run in the Krispy Kreme Challenge | This annual charity events challenges its participants to eat a dozen donuts mid-race.

25.          Drink a PBR during PBart | I’m sure you’ll drink one regardless. But PBart has bands and PBR-themed art on showcase, as well as the occasional ropes performers.

26.          Buy records on Record Store Day  | Internationally celebrated, it’s the third Saturday in April. Labels put out special limited edition releases and stores have in-store performances, swag and discounts. There’s usually a line so go early.

27.          Compete in the pants off dance off at TRKfest | Okay, so you don’t actually have to take your pants off. Trekky Records has a day set aside each summer to share its music with the triangle. Not to mention this also means local beer, food trucks and local arts vendors.

28.          Drive to Haw River Ballroom | “Beautiful venue.  if you have time before the show, go to the Haw River General Store before hand for the best gourmet food you’ll find at a convenience store. Seriously.” – Mollypop

29.          Dance at Discovery and Dirty Mega | Lights, glow sticks, photo booths and dancing until the lights come on. Then a little more of each.

 30.          Give the saxophonists on the corner of Martin/Fayetteville St. money to play “Careless WhisperHis rendition is on point. It’ll get stuck it your head, but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. 



Special Recognition Local Lunch, May 18

It is with a heavy heart that I relinquish my title as general manager of  WKNC on May 20. My tenure as general manager would not have been made possible without the advice, positive reinforcement, and generosity of my fellow staff members, advisors, and the community at large.  I am certain that DJ Ones, the next general manager at WKNC, will continue to make WKNC the best radio station in the world.

I want to take the last local lunch shift of my time here at WKNC to thank all of the amazing local bands who have helped me and WKNC out throughout this past year.

These are the bands that played shows like Double Barrel Benefit and related Day Party, Fridays on the Lawn, small concerts that may or may not have been successful, and the birthday party. These amazing members of our community donated their time and their talent to WKNC and deserve to be recognized.

This local music scene and related community has made my job worthwhile. There will be airbreaks full of reminiscing, shout outs, and gratitude.

Tune in for the grateful local lunch, Friday May 18 starting early at 11:30 a.m. and going until 1 p.m.



Mickey Mouse-Joy Division shirt is great and risky at the same time

Joy Division‘s Unknown Pleasures has one of the most iconic album covers of all time, and throughout the years individuals of all merchandising types have been able to capitalize on Peter Saville’s design. However, with the release of the new Mickey Mouse shirt that takes inspiration from the iconic album cover, one can’t help but ask, “Why?”

Firstly, it’s easy to see why this is such a great idea. Working on the pure novelty of it, music nerds of all shapes and sizes might be brought into the idea of having the altered album cover on their chest. It’s subtle enough to show Mickey’s legendary profile yet still have the essence of that original cover. Combine the love of Joy Division with Mickey Mouse and it’s easy to see why one could fall for this in a heartbeat.

Indeed it might be the sheer impulse buy that Disney is seeking, however, from looking at such a limited market, production could be seen as incredibly confusing. The market necessary for Disney to see this as a worthwhile investment is incredibly limited. Your average Joe won’t be shelling out the money for such a silly purchase. This is also going on the assumption that people who like Joy Division are Disney shoppers or would be willing to pay for some Disney-based product. Personally I couldn’t see the two matching up in perfect harmony. That’s not to say it won’t work, but the odds that this thing is successful seems incredibly low. Like most things, it will be the dollar vote of the consumer that decides the ultimate failure or success of this perplexing item.