By Maureen Thaete | Culture Editor

Dora Turkovich shares her love of music with the Bay Area community every Wednesday as “DJ dturk”. (Courtesy of Maureen Thaete)

Dora Turkovich ‘18 is the type of person who finds it difficult to go anywhere without her headphones. “It’s important to me,” she explained about her relationship to music. “You turn on music, and that in itself is an activity.” For music lovers like Turkovich, belonging to KSMC, the Saint Mary’s radio station, is a perfect outlet.

Turkovich is one of over seventy students on KSMC’s roster of DJs this semester. On the air, she goes by the intentionally lowercase name “dj dturk” and hosts an hour-long music experience every Wednesday at 1 p.m. “I don’t do too much talking,” she said, opting to let the tunes run the show.

For an hour every week, any student can host a show of their choosing. These segments can range from talk shows to more music-focused sets like Turkovich’s. Anything is fair game as long as it satisfies the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) regulations. These rules prohibit some expletives and moderate certain subject matter, but students otherwise have complete freedom to develop and execute their own shows.

Turkovich has had her show for almost two years. What’s her sound? Currently, it’s mostly “soft, female indie pop,” she said. She cited the environment of the KSMC station as an occasional influence for some of her playlists. The station is incredibly cozy with its walls of posters and string lights. Whenever she’s in that space, she said, “I always want to listen to softer stuff.”

Some of her favorite artists to play are FKA twigs and Grimes. Her go-to song? “California” by Grimes. However, she also lamented that FCC regulations limit the variety of music she actually can play on her show. “I would play more rap if it was easier to find versions that are okay to play on the radio,” said Turkovich. From time to time, she, like many other DJ’s, might use the soundboard to make an explicit track more radio friendly, but the trickiness of this process ultimately makes it easier to avoid the risk altogether.

Challenges aside, Turkovich still has fun with her show. Some of her favorite shows from the past, she said, are the two Halloween-themed segments she has had the opportunity to prepare. A part of what made these shows so memorable was her personally assembled Halloween playlist: “I’ve got some classics on there like ‘Devil Woman,’ ‘Casting My Spell,’ and ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper,’” she said.

Playlist preparation is only a part of the job for Turkovich. She mentioned that one of the skills this position has encouraged her to improve is the ability to improvise. The time limits and pressure to consistently fill the dead air can cause some serious trepidation. “Being a DJ has given me more practice in thinking on the spot,” she said.

For somebody who already goes about her life to the sounds of a personally curated soundtrack, working as a DJ is essentially second nature. Turkovich admitted it can be challenging to design a brand new playlist every single week, but overall, the experience is worthwhile because of the freedom to play exactly what she wants to hear on the radio. To get a sense of her exceptional taste in music and knack for punchy playlists, tune in to KSMC on Wednesday afternoons.

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