Fonky Fresh: One Radio DJ’s Megnificent Origin Story

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Many people use the term “hipster” lightly, but I really am the most genuine hipster there is. I listen to obscure music, I read obscure books, I drink obscure coffee and wear obscure beanies. Basically, if you’ve heard of it, it isn’t good enough for me.

When I came to college, however, I realized that my casual hipsterdom just wasn’t cutting it at a university where most every student is at least marginally hipster. So, how do you step up your game when being a normal college hipster just isn’t enough anymore? You become a supreme college hipster, and sign up for DJ training classes at the campus radio station.

Last February, my best friend, Roy, and I enrolled in KUCI’s ten-week training program in hopes that we, too, could become cool kids by learning how to spin Mac DeMarco records and play sweet tunes over the air. We had a purpose: to host our own show, something intriguing and wonderful that nobody had ever done before.  

After weeks of learning rules, regulations, and equipment handling Roy and I finally had to prove ourselves by submitting a final 15-minute audition mixtape in hopes of securing a spot in the program lineup. This mixtape, if it was fire enough,  was our ticket to finally being on college radio, and just maybe, finally being cool kids.

It didn’t turn out quite as cool as I’d imagined. We sat stumped in the studio for hours, as we struggled to find the perfect music for our mixtape. We shuffled through Cuban techno, acapella proto-disco, and Kentucky blues until finally, Roy found a dusty CD at the top of a shelf, by an artist called “Fonky Family.”

“Wait…is this French rap?” he asked me.

“No,” I said. “This is our future.”

With all of the reckless abandon of two desperate DJs, we quickly recorded a set of French rap and headed off to our final training class to hand it into our director.

A week later, KUCI released the spring schedule, and for some reason, there we were – DJ Royal-T and DJ Megnifique, hosting “L’Arrondissement,” Wednesdays from 4 to 6 a.m. We were officially French rap DJs.

At first, explaining our show to people was a struggle, but eventually, I got used to telling inquisitive relatives that yes, I did host a 4 a.m. French rap radio show, and I was damn proud of it. I’ll never forget the elation I felt after we received our first-ever phone call from a fan, during the still-dark morning hours:

“Hey, my name’s Pete, and I’m kind of high right now, but this is the greatest radio show I’ve ever heard.”

In the months since our first show, I’ve learned that KUCI is an enigma, full of eccentric and incredible people, who accept you and your French rap show for who you are, regardless of whether or not you’re super hip. As a college DJ, I may not have gotten the street cred I set out to claim, but at KUCI, I got something much better—I got a French rap radio show in the middle of the night.

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