Maddie Jennette, a fourth-year studying computer engineering, is the new general manager of WKNC 88.1, NC State’s student-run radio station. As general manager, Jennette is responsible for hiring, training and overseeing WKNC staff, as well as planning concerts and events.
“In terms of the day-to-day, I am here to be available for the DJs and other staff if any of them have a question or need help with anything,” said Jennette from her decked-out office with years of concert posters, Christmas lights and plush chairs. “With more structured things, at the beginning of every semester, I read over applications, do interviews and then eventually train new hires.”
Music has always been a central force in Jennette’s life and something that has been an integral part of her college experience.
“It’s been my big main favorite thing in life since middle school, honestly,” Jennette said. “I started out listening to a lot of the music that my parents liked, Nickelback, Evanescence, Three Days Grace, things like that. Then I started playing guitar, and in high school I played in a School of Rock [band]. It’s always been my main focus and just favorite thing in life, so I’ve been involved with it in any way I can.”
Finding out about WKNC actually ended up factoring into her ultimate decision to attend NC State.
“When I first found out about WKNC, I was in high school and knew I wanted to do engineering,” Jennette said. “I already knew I probably wanted to go to State but was still considering some other engineering schools, but I found WKNC and thought ‘I need to go here because of this.’”
In her second semester at NC State, Jennette took the DJ training course and became a DJ for the station. In the spring semester of her second year, she heard about an opening for the local music director position. Music directors are in charge of selecting music sets to play when live DJs aren’t in the studio.
“I had had an interest in local music for a while, and I knew a lot of bands, so I applied for the [local music director] position,” Jennette said.
After a semester in this position, Jennette applied for the position of daytime music director, a big step up in responsibility from her previous position.
“Daytime music director is a bigger position [than local music director],” Jennette said. “I went from working five hours a week to 10. It’s kind of like the lead music director, so I was there all the time and was still DJing and getting involved.”
As daytime music director, Jennette was able to focus solely on the music that she was so passionate about, something she misses.
“Daytime music director was the dream position in some ways,” Jennette said. “Getting to pick out the indie rock music that plays on the radio? That’s a dream come true. GM is more about the people which has still been really fun so far.”
Jennette’s favorite part of the position has been planning concerts and events for the station. The opportunity for this has been somewhat slim due to COVID-19 restrictions, but she is excited for future events.
“I like reaching out to artists to plan events,” Jennette said. “I’ve been dreaming of the ideal lineup for the annual Double Barrel benefit for a while now. It’s super exciting.”
The Double Barrel Benefit is an annual two-day concert featuring local NC bands to raise money for the station. After the 2021 benefit was canceled due to the pandemic, Jennette hopes that it will be held as usual in February of 2022, but its outlook is still unclear.
In addition to limiting concerts, COVID-19 has made it difficult for new employees to get to know everyone at the station. In the future, Jennette hopes to organize more events for DJs to get to know one another.
She also encourages anyone who is interested in getting involved to reach out to her via email, firstname.lastname@example.org. DJ training happens at the beginning of every semester with the next interest meetings being held in January 2022.
In the meantime, Jennette looks forward to another year of being involved in what she loves.