KSUA DJ blends business with pleasure

Rebecca Lawhorne/Sun Star Reporter
Feb. 28, 2012

Josh Collins, a DJ for the Morning Blend, in the KSUA studio on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012. "The Morning Blend" airs on KSUA 91.5FM from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. every weekday morning. Michelle Strehl/Sun Star.The Morning Blend is one likeable show, according to the web at least. The show has the most “likes” on Facebook of all the KSUA student radio shows, making it the Prom Queen of campus.  Host Josh Collins worked hard to make a name for himself in the radio world.

The show airs from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday on KSUA FM 91.5. Content varies from weird news to sports to music and movies. Josh Collins, 34 and a UAF journalism student, is in his fourth semester as a DJ for KSUA with his co-DJ for four days a week, Paul Miller, a history student. On Wednesdays, another co-host takes part in the show.

Local celebrities have graced the Morning Blend, including Fairbanks Grizzlies football coach Robert Fuller and Daryn College, a North Pole native who went on to play for the Green Bay packers in the 2010 Superbowl. Music guests include The Scurvies, Avery Wolves and Destroy Nate Allen. College’s interview was the crowning moment of Collins’s time with the show, Collins said. College answered questions via telephone just moments before boarding the plane that would take him to the Superbowl, which he would go on to win.

“Cheryl Hatch, who was the Snedden Chair, had someone at ESPN hook us up. That was pretty sweet. We got goosebumps,” Collins said. “We actually got in trouble for interrupting ‘Democracy Now,’ a syndicated KSUA show, because we let the interview go over two minutes.”

Working on radio is Collins’s career goal. The Minnesota native has split radio time with 95.9FM X-Rock radio of Fairbanks for the past three months, where he pre-records segments. This is called voice-tracking.

“I like X-Rock because it allows me better opportunities, like free tickets to local events,” Collins said. Collins favors his time on the UAF airwaves, he said.

“The biggest difference is that KSUA is live. You have to get up at 6 a.m., prepare your show, and try to get guests,” Collins said. The Morning Blend gives him the creative freedom to tweak his methods. “KSUA is better because it’s me, personally. It’s not a commercial radio station. I can say whatever I want, except for the seven dirty words.”

Collins was first inspired by watching and listening to sports shows and thinking, “I could do this.” Collins “wanted a show that was the voice of the people. Where people could call in and talk and I could have debates and discussions with them,” he said.

Covering a wide range of topics gives the show a better chance of connecting with more people and increasing the listening audience, Collins said. The week is a mix-up of talk show humor and listener involvement. Movie-fight Mondays consist of hosts picking two movies and listeners call in to debate them. The show also hosts Top-5 Tuesdays, Weird News Wednesdays, and UAF Thursdays, with Fridays usually open to whatever the hosts feel like discussing that day. The show gives away prizes, including pizza coupons, Gulliver’s Books and gift certificates to the UA Museum of the North.

It’s been a long road to get Collins to where he wants to be, he said. He met his wife, Amy, during college in Wisconsin, where Collins played football and Amy worked with his mother in the local nursing center. The couple have two children, Grace, 9, and Jabin, 6. He worked in retail for 12 years then moved to Alaska and taught middle school in Wasilla, which “felt more like glorified babysitting,” Collins said. Eventually Amy looked at him and asked “You’re not happy are you?” When he told her he wanted to be a radio DJ, Amy thought, “of course you do, you’re perfect for it,” she said.

After living in Alaska for several years, they began to visit campuses. When Collins saw the radio station, he said, he knew he was going to have a show.

“I wanted to do it right then but I had to wait until the semester started,” Collins said. Collins decided to take the plunge and follow his dream. The change has been positive and noticeable, Amy said. “It’s made him happy, and you can see it.” It can be hard not knowing if people are listening, but when that one phone call comes in saying how much they like the show, Collins said, it makes all the hard work worth it.

Currently a journalism junior at UAF, Collins works as a student assistant in the journalism department. Assistant professor Robert Prince works closely with Collins. Prince couldn’t have asked for a better student assistant, he said. “I hope he lives forever, he’s great.”

Amy always knew her husband would be perfect for a career as a radio show host, she said. “His mind is full of useless facts, which you need for the radio,” Amy said. The kids even get a thrill out of listening to the show, when they can catch it. “They think it’s pretty cool to listen to their dad on the radio,” she said.

Sports is the topic dearest to the DJ’s heart. Collins says he would like to focus more on the subject since there isn’t much coverage on a local scale but “the state of Alaska is not real huge into sports,” he said. The show follows the Green Bay Blizzards, an indoor football team whose head coach, Robert Fuller, was previously the coach for the Grizzlies during their financial demise last year.

“We’ve had the coach call us twice and a couple of the players call us,” Collins said. “We are hoping to get more interviews throughout the season.”

Collins would like to focus more on sports but radio is about “giving people what they want to hear,” he said.

Collins would like to pursue a career involving sports radio, which may require a move back down south he said. There aren’t any big plans for after graduation, Josh Collins said. He and Amy both agree that they are just taking it day by day.

“It’s not like, ‘okay, I’m going to graduate in two years, and this is what I’ll do.’ It’s more like, ‘okay, I’m going to wake up today and get dressed and go to the radio station and do my show, and then move on from there,’” Collins said.

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