Freeform DJ: DJ Bubble Tea, DJ Devil Child & Karen
Freeform Show Name: Weekend Family Music Hour
Freeform Day/Time of Show: E/O Saturday 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Interview by: Beanie
FF: How did Weekend Family Music Hour begin?
DJs: Ayler- Weekend Family Music Hour began by mom asking us if we wanted to be on the radio.
Opal- I thought it would be fun to play music that we like & express my music interests to people.
Karen- My friend Jeffory told me that there was a new radio station starting that was inspired by X-Ray so I signed up because I thought it would be a good family activity for us. It’s a privilege to enable my kids this experience at young ages. We went to early meetings before launching & it was great to be part of the beginning process. I thought it would be fun to have a ethnic family music radio show who played diverse music & talked about kids stuff & things related to what we deal with.
FF: What is your favorite part of being a DJ?
Ayler- My favorite part of being deejay is being a character I can create. I like being funny & talking in different voices.
Opal- My favorite part of being a deejay is I learn a lot about music & I am always excited to hear new stuff. I feel like my music interests have expanded more, I found I like more rock music. I really like Guided by Voices, Black Sabbath, David Bowie, Velvet Underground & Lou Reed these days.
Karen- My favorite part of being a deejay is sharing in the experience of having a radio show with my growing kids. I’m so grateful for the privilege to have my kids involved with radio & learning the aspects of radio broadcasting. I think if children are enabled experiences they can participate in, where they can listen to their contributions, it builds a sense of confidence which can benefit them in their later years.
FF: How do you decide what to play on each episode?
Karen- I make a lot of the playlists & ask Opal & Ayler if they want to add any songs. We usually focus on current events that are enraging us & will build off a theme for that week. Or we focus on the upcoming holiday if it’s important to the kids. Most of the time I make playlists based on ethnic musics. We like adding Happy Birthday shout outs to friends by adding- Luke Skywalker’s “It’s Your Birthday.”
Opal- Mom makes most the playlists, I recently made a small playlist & I recommend songs to her to put in the playlists, whenever you hear David Bowie, that was me. I’m making a playlist for David Bowie’s bday on Jan 8th.
Ayler- I have played some Japanese 45s like Jun Mayazumi on our Asian Lunar New Year Show, our stepdad Jim was also on that show. He is part of our family so he is part of Weekend Family Music Hour sometimes.
FF: In what other ways does music inspire you?
Ayler- I don’t know….
Opal- Music inspires me by making me feel better when I’m sad. It also distracts me from my problems…I don’t really have any problems except homework, school & not having ice cream or bubble tea.
Karen- Music is a coping tool for me to deescalate from crisis work from talking to people with real world problems. Music makes me happy & it also impacts others to feel happy as well, if only for as long as the song is playing. I think if a medium can change someone’s behavior or emotionality to a more positive state in an instant when the song is heard, that’s a powerful thing.
FF: What do you like to do when you’re not at the station?
Ayler- I like to chill, read, play video games & draw. Sometimes I’ll skateboard.
Opal- I like painting, drawing, photography, playing with my dog & skateboarding.
Karen- I like to watch David Attenborough nature documentaries & hang out with Opal, Ayler & Jim. Jim & I deejay out to enable eating out money for us all. We usually deejay under Center for Cassette Studies & spin records.
FF: Why do you think Freeform Radio is an important part of our Portland community?
Opal- Music is important because different songs appeal to different people. It gives everyone a voice when people don’t have a voice sometimes. Freeform Portland is important because it promotes diversity, we are kids who are half Chinese & white.
Ayler- we got something to say!
Karen- Freeform Portland is important because it’s as grass roots as can be. No one is paid & being an all volunteer run station you have a lot of passionate folks who are music nerds coming together for the purpose of community radio. Given the volunteer aesthetic there’s a lot of diversity that comes through. Everyone is given a chance to have a show regardless of experience because there is a deejay that was trained prior to new deejays teaching them. People are really nice & folks are dedicated to a common good without hierarchies that could be skewed by economic factors or ego. I like to think we’re all equal here & share a purpose of radio being fun. Freeform Portland is how inclusive community can be built.