By Rich Henrich
This weekend, the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System will hold the 77th Annual International IBS Conference and Awards in New York City where KCOD, College of the Desert’s student-run radio station has been nominated for multiple awards. One nomination is the Coachella Valley’s own musician Giselle Woo, up for Best Music Director and Best Artist/ Band Interview along with multi-award nominated Station Manger Toni Bakal, for their Coachella Music and Arts Festival interview with Joywave.
In the Fall of 2015, Giselle Woo had an opportunity to apply for a position as Public Affairs for the local college radio station. She did and she nailed it. “After meeting with Toni Bakal (station manager), I had an opportunity to do more. I really wanted to add a lot more local music to the format,” she says. The position quickly evolved. “Sometimes things happen not because you want them to but you realize looking back that they had to and it happens when you least expect it,” reflects the local singer/ songwriter.
When she was in middle school, she recalls listening to 100.5 and thinking how cool it would be to be that person on the other side of the radio. “I guess I had been manifesting this since middle school, it’s the only time I have envisioned myself as a DJ, really,” she recalls. Now she is the Local Music Director at KCOD and joins colleagues, Station Manager Toni Bakal and Social Media Director, Micaylee Johnson, who collectively are up for multiple nominations including Best Community College Radio Station. “The hard part has really been balancing my classes. I dove in as a volunteer. We all do it because we love it. I started to think if all the effort was really worth it. Getting the nomination(s) helped make sense of all the sleepless nights!” she exclaims.
Slowly but surely, the whole dream of a station that could be heard throughout the Coachella Valley with local music evolved into one that can be heard around the world thanks to technology, Tune In, which allows you to hear the music through the internet. “We have a couple thousand listeners around the world now. We are hoping to have an AM transmitter and expand our FM reach, too,” says the proud programmer. “I know as an artist, I just want to be heard and I wanted to create a program that allowed all these local talented musicians in the Valley to be heard,” the pride of accomplishment resonates in her voice.
KCOD has been nominated in over a dozen categories and as Ms. Woo says, they are just starting to benefit from their experience and becoming more refined and finding their groove as a staff and a station. “KCRW is a huge inspiration for us. I would love to be that for the Coachella Valley. I wanted to put local music in the system to be heard- high desert and low, the go together. No one is asking us to do it, we are just doing it and it’s helping a lot of bands,” she proclaims. Giselle Woo plays local music on KCOD M-F from 2-4pm that includes DJ’s, songwriters and a broad spectrum of musicians. She is proud to have been a part of creating this platform. “It feels good to be doing this. The bands are grateful and supportive, too. We are creating a greater sense of community. It gives me the chills actually!” Her wish is to encourage people to keep writing amazing music. “Just because a billion people are not listening, we want local musicians to know, we are still listening. Keep making rad music!”
The local singer/ songwriter is also working on her own single, recording at High Lonesome Studio. “I have a hard time hearing myself the way others hear me. I sang into that really expensive microphone and I finally heard myself like others do! It moved me to tears,” says the music major and incredible local talent. I am definitely looking forward to hearing her single in the coming months.
Congratulations to KCOD and the entire staff! We are proud of your accomplishments and wish you the best of luck at bringing home a Golden Microphone! Don’t forget to Tune In and listen to the talent of the Coachella Valley. If you are a musician and want to have your music considered for air play, e-mail an MP3 file to: KCODlocalmusic@gmail.com and remember to keep it clean, no swearing, radio edit only. Giselle and her station mates will give it a listen and soon the world will celebrate your beat as well!