A WECB Show Profile: sik RADIO

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by Lis Steinberg

Music opens many different portals that allow one to explore new cultures and learn more about people from around the world. Often times communities, Emerson College included, are criticized for not being as accepting of different cultures as they should be. WECB is a beacon of light in this shortage because its free-form radio show style allows students to explore various genres and niche subjects. For example, K-Pop is explored on sik RADIO every Tuesday from 3:00 - 4:00 PM. The show is hosted by Andy Kim, a WECB radio show veteran. I asked a few questions about his show and what inspired him to bring K-Pop to the WECB Community. The expression on Andy’s face while he raved about his radio show and how important K-Pop is to him was enough to make me a loyal listener. Hopefully the written interview does justice to his evident passion.

How long has your show been on the air for? How has it evolved over the years?

sik RADIO, previously known as TOONIES RADIO SHOW, began in the fall of 2014. I started this show where I would only play K-Pop music, and to this day, I continue to follow the same format. Each week, I would pick a genre to explore and play songs within that genre. Sometimes I would explore certain Korean artists and discuss them live. Toonies Radio Show ran from the fall of 2014 until the spring of 2016. I had to leave Emerson for two years to serve in the Korean military. After I finished my service, I came back to Emerson in the fall of 2018 and immediately hopped back into WECB with the new name sik RADIO, which stands for “seeing inside Korean..”, which also resembles my Korean name: Hyung SIK!

Do you co-host it with anyone?

Nope! The show is entirely run by me!

Can you describe your show?

sik RADIO only (and will only) play K-Pop songs. The radio show does not follow a specific format. Imagine a Spotify playlist; I find a list of nice Korean songs and compile them on a list. The only difference is that I find the freshest, coolest, grooviest K-Pop songs for the listeners. K-Pop has stormed the American markets rapidly during the past years, especially during my absence at Emerson, K-Pop emerged from making memes like Gangnam Style to actually placing on the Billboard charts. The popularity of K-Pop is rapidly growing, the Korean entertainment industry is rapidly changing, thus my job to follow the music trends in Korea and translating that trend directly to our Emerson College community.

What inspired you to create a radio show revolving around K-Pop?

When I first came to Emerson College, I was quite disappointed to see how small the international community was. In fact, I found that the diversity at Emerson was extremely lacking considering how the school promoted itself as “liberal”. I was intrigued by WECB’s program where students had the freedom to create their own radio show. Noticing that WECB never had a K-Pop radio show back then, I pitched the idea to the executive producers that Emerson College needs a K-Pop radio station, and they immediately gave me a slot.

Can you describe the kind of K-Pop that you focus on?

Any song that is performed by a Korean artist! Sometimes I like to play the famous boy/girl groups like BTS, Red Velvet, TWICE etc. But I also like to play some songs that not even a lot of Koreans are not aware of. Every week is different, just this week I was playing songs that could “warm the cold weather”. As the weather was transitioning from being warm to cold, I played soothing songs by Zion.T, Hyuk Oh, Crush, Colde that focuses on genres like Korean Groove, Ballads, and R&B.

If there is any discussion/banter during the show can you describe it?

There’s really not much talking going on the show. Before, I did talk about a lot of Korean artists and discussed whether if their style of music appealed to an American audience. But, I felt that talking too much may distract my listeners from the music. I decided to talk less and play more songs because I want listeners to truly understand how good Korean music is, and it’s no longer the “tacky wacky” Korean idol groups, but something bigger than that.

What got you into music when you were younger?

Music has been a huge part of my life. I used to listen to Korean Radio at nights whenever I would study for an exam. I always listen to the radio whenever I drive in my car back home. Music and radio have been a huge part of my life. I was also stationed as a radio correspondent officer in the military, which means I touched AM/FM frequencies and all that radio stuff in the military which was pretty fascinating.

Do you have a radio show you use for inspiration?

I actually did have a huge influence before I began my radio show. Since it started off as a K-Pop radio show, I was influenced by the structures of how Korean Radio is formatted; Korean radios like to talk while tuning in music, and I tried to balance me talking while tuning music at the same time. I was heavily influenced by Lee Moon-Se’s “Starry Night” (이문세의 별의 빛나는 밤에), I used to use the same cue song from that show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUpTBTOSeRI

Can people access your playlists online if they can’t catch your show?

All you have to do is like the Facebook page: sik RADIO on WECB! I post the playlist every week right after the show. All playlists are on Spotify and Soundcloud!

Why do you do the radio show every year?

I love the WECB community and how free the station is regarding hosting your own show. I intend to do this program until I graduate and highly recommend anyone out there who enjoys listening to music to explore K-Pop by tuning in every Tuesday 3:00 - 4:00 PM!

K-Pop has only recently made its way to the United States in the past decade even though its roots trace back as far as 1885. It has become a powerhouse of culture and stands as one of the world’s most vibrant and dominant pop music industries. Andy attempts to introduce his listeners into the vast global phenomenon that is K-Pop while inviting them to explore it on their own as well.  This global phenomenon is referred to as Hallyu, which translates to Korean flow/wave. Staying relatively upbeat, it is almost impossible to be in a bad mood while listening to sik RADIO, as you enter the world of K-Pop with Andy Kim on every Tuesday from 3:00 - 4:00 PM.

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