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The Scarlet & Black

Grinnelevance with Tyler, Harris and Schake

Sunday afternoons can be gloomy—classes lurk just around the corner and the burden of homework weighs down the final hours of the weekend. Graciously, Ben Tyler, Connor Schake, and Joe Harris (all ’14) dedicate an hour of their time each Sunday to bring some spice to an otherwise dark time.

Their KDIC show, Grinnelevance, airs on Sundays from 5 to 6 p.m., and offers a variety of genres, topics and guests that appeal to all listeners.

“We’re creating novelty with the show. It’s a chance to make what would be a Sunday, for us and those who choose to listen … something other than sitting in Burling doing homework and waiting to go to dinner,” Schake said.

Schake and Harris made their KDIC debut their first semester at Grinnell announcing football games. Later in the year, they signed on with their own show under a different name, were joined by Tyler, and thus, Grinnelevance was born.

Each DJ differs in his level of radio experience, but they all offer a laid-back charm and, together, a chemistry conducive to quality radio.

The greatest appeal of their show comes from the variety it offers. Grinnelevance has boasted a number of high-profile guests including Dean Bakopoulos, English, and the co-creator of Found Magazine, Davy Rothbart. Interview topics have included the decline of Detroit and the transition from Grinnell-Newburg High School to Grinnell College.

“We oscillate between having more serious shows and more laid back shows, but we’ve trended more towards playing music as of late,” Harris said.

The music played on the show also varies greatly.

“We all have pretty different tastes in music, and we had trouble coming to a consensus on how to transition between songs, so each of us puts together five or six songs in little segments, we each do our own, and we just talk in between,” Tyler said.

Harris described Tyler and Schake’s musical preferences as “fairly intricate, [favoring] really good indie music,” and described his own taste as “less refined [and] more mainstream.” The music played on the show mostly consists of whatever the three have been listening to that week.

“I’ve played stuff like slow-mo … 1940’s blues music and also like dream glitch hip-hop,” Harris, who was described as the “wildcard” of the group, said.

Past topics of Grinnelevance have included a history of apple cider, an Aaron Carter special and even a live reading of excerpts from Nicholas Sparks’ “The Notebook.”

“[What most people will like about the show is] the fact that they never know what they’re going to get, yet, it’s always relevant somehow in their lives, hence the name Grinnelevance,” Tyler said.

The creativity of Grinnelevance isn’t limited to the airwaves. Schake, Harris and Tyler have been known to advertise their show in innovative ways. In the past, Grinnelevance posters have been plastered on loggia ceilings, the ground and even suspended on the guard rails of bike racks using excessive amounts of duct tape. They have shown a specialty in obscurity.

All three hosts are excited to be back on the air this year, looking forward to the chance to hang out with friends and take a break from homework to bring quality content to Grinnellians.

Schake expressed how grateful he was for the opportunity to host the show.

“I think we forget, being sort of steeped in opportunities to do things creatively at Grinnell and ways to spend our time … [that] it’s useful to have a venue to really take advantage of the chance to … say anything you want and have people listen to it,” he said. “It’s not that many people listening, its not that big of an antennae. It’s usually just our friends live streaming the show. It’s just the chance to say something on the radio. I would never do that if I were not at Grinnell. It’s very liberating.”

All expressed the desire to increase listenership this year.

“One thing we’ve said time and time again is that it’s just kind of a rough period in the week, so just relax, and take it easy with us,” Harris said.

Harris, Schake and Tyler live in the studio. Photo by Parker Van Nostrand.
Harris, Schake and Tyler live in the studio. Photo by Parker Van Nostrand.
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