Knox students may appear to be asleep or studying in the comfort of their own dorms at midnight on Thursday mornings, but many are listening or contributing to “We make poor choices,” a WVKC radio show hosted by sophomores Sam Scheurell and Missy Preston.
This show is in its third term, but was not always titled “We make poor choices.”
“We had this pressure to pick something catchy, so I just put down the most stupid thing I could think of —‘Lokal Noiz,’” Preston said. “The people in charge titled us ‘We make poor choices,’ probably as a joke to us. So we took it.”
Preston and Scheurell give performers artistic prompts, which they must incorporate into their work. This past week, everyone was encouraged to respond to the “first significant piece of art you ever created.” Other topics have been “places you’ve traveled,” “family and your relationship with your parents,” and “the worst breakup you’ve ever had and how you got through it.”
“People were just so willing to talk about [their worst breakups] — it was really interesting,” Scheurell said.
The “worst breakup” show was the first of many on-air interviews, something Scheurell and Preston had not tried prior to this particular show.
“I asked, ‘What would happen if I interviewed these people?’ and more people started coming, because people like talking about themselves,” Preston said.
The interviews have now become a regular part of “We make poor choices,” but they are not typical radio show interviews.
“We want stuff that centers around an artist’s personal life, rather than their artistic life, especially since this time in our lives, [our lives] are not very developed,” Scheurell said. “We like to focus more on the people than the music. The music or the poetry helps us understand them.”
Scheurell and Preston appear to have a genuine interest and respect for the artists at Knox, and encourage anyone with something to share or say to come to the show.
“We have so many friendly and receptive people — especially to the art — here. I love that our show is not just about music or not just about poetry; it’s about everything together,” Scheurell said.
The two hosts are working hard to unify the Knox artistic community. They both perform on their show every week, which forms a connection between the hosts and the guests.
They also have plans to expand to the Galesburg community.
“There are teenagers in Galesburg who need outlets,” Preston said.
Preston and Scheurell plan on utilizing WVKC’s recording studio more, and would also like to explore more diverse prompts. Instead of asking performers to find old art that fits the prompts, they hope to get new work from their guests.
“Right now, we’re all digging in our past,” Preston said. “I want to start to try to create a new emotional response. Maybe get something a little more raw. They’ll all be different, but they’ll all be based on the same prompt.”
Scheurell echoes these sentiments.
“I’d love to start reaching out more,” he said. “It’s great to have people who come in regularly, but it would also be nice to get a wider breadth, because I know there are people who aren’t on our show who love to play music, who love to talk about their experiences with art. [I want to hear] new music, new poetry, new pieces, new thoughts. There’s such an appreciation.”