By MEGHANN MCBRYAN
Special to the Sun-Gazette
(EDITOR'S NOTE: McBryan is a Mass Media Communications student at Pennsylvania College of Technology).
It's Tuesday, the day after dreaded Monday and the day before Wednesday, the famous "Hump Day." To most people, Tuesday is an average run-of-the-mill day, nothing too special. You wake up, go to work, eat dinner, spend time with your family then head to bed. Just a typical Tuesday.
For me, Tuesdays are constructed in a slightly different manner. I mean on Tuesdays I wake up and go to bed just like everyone else, but the hours in between, well, they're not so typical.
It's 7 a.m. and I hear the sound of a rooster blaring through the speaker of my cell phone, a reminder that it's time to start the day. I unwillingly get out of bed and get dressed, and getting dressed on Tuesdays consists of making sure my pajamas match. I head out the door, which by this time is usually around quarter of eight. It's time for my daily commute to Penn College.
I zombie-like walk through the doors of WPTC, Penn College's radio station, drop my bag and walk back out the door and across the hall to Penn Central, where I am never happier to see a pot of coffee than I am then. Liquid energy in hand, it's back to the station to begin my three-hour radio station operation and production lab.
I should take this time to mention that I am a Mass Media Communications student at Penn College. As part of the program, we are required to work in the college radio station, which for me, is the best part of the program. Radio station operation and production is just one of my many classes focused on radio work.
The lab starts with my professor assigning production work, such as Public Service Announcements, promos, programming spots, etc. There is a three-hour air shift that is part of the lab, which we all take turns covering.
On this Tuesday, it is mine and my on-air partner, Cody's turn to work the shift. From 8 to 11 a.m. Cody and I are on air introducing the music, talking about campus events, playing productions that we have prepared for the show and interviewing individuals from organizations on campus and our classmates who are "Out and About" at campus events. We run our own little morning radio show, and as tired as I may be at this hour, I will gladly take all of the on-air experience I can get.
The station is on-air 24 hours a day. Everyone in the class has designated time slots to be on the air. It just so happens that mine also is every Tuesday - from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. So, this particular Tuesday, after the three-hour lab is complete, I will immediately begin my three-hour air shift. If you're counting, that's six consecutive hours on air. Thankfully, I am told I have a good "radio voice," so listeners are not bleeding from their ears after all that time.
During my individual, three-hour shift, I constantly have to monitor the computer as it plays the music and other programming. When a couple of songs play in a row, I ration the time to run to the bathroom or smoke a cigarette. The cigarette usually trumps the bathroom.
There is a strict rule at WPTC that there is no food allowed in the studio, so lunch is really not an option for me on Tuesday afternoons.
When 2 p.m. comes around, my shift ends and my replacement shows up. One would think I would take this opportunity to grab some lunch, which would be my ideal situation; however, I don't believe my sociology professor would appreciate me skipping her class to stuff my face. So, my hunger is put on hold and I go to my last class of the day, which ends at 3:30 p.m.
Now, at this point in the day, most students are finished with their classes for the day and are heading to do homework or hang with friends or whatever it is that they do with their free time. I, however, do none of the above. I leave my sociology class and go directly to work. I do not pass go. I do not collect $200.
I am at work until 7:45 p.m. rolls around. Then, as they say, the third time's a charm. I return to the radio station at 8 p.m. for my two-hour specialty radio show called "Ladies' Night," music for chicks by chicks.
Now to fill you in on the inspiration for my show, you should know that of the eight students in my radio classes, I am the only female. It is me, a 26-year-old woman, and seven guys ranging in age from 18 to 22 - the modern-day Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. And naturally, as young men do, they take every opportunity they get to poke fun at my show.
Of the eight hours I am on-air Tuesdays, this is by far the best two. It's where I feel the most comfortable, with music that I listen to on a normal basis and am more knowledgeable about. These two hours are when it really feels like the real thing. It's just you, the equipment and the music.
I end my Tuesdays at 10 p.m. On the air, in the radio station, I put in an eight-hour day - like the full-time job most of you probably work - but I do it for free, I do it for the experience, I do it to prepare myself for what's to come in my career, and I do it to learn.
Although eight hours on the air in one day makes for an exhausted girl, I wouldn't give up the opportunity. Most professional on-air personalities work a four- to six-hour shift on average, so it makes me confident that if given the opportunity in the future, I will thrive. So while the rest of you overlook Tuesday each week, I use up my "TueNsdays" for all I can.