KSLU targeting Guinness World Record for longest radio DJ marathon
Contact: Christina Chapple
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SLEEPLESS AT SOUTHEASTERN – From left, Southeastern Louisiana University senior Aaron Springer and KSLU’s Chad Pierce and Todd Delaney discuss the campus public radio station’s plans to tackle the Guinness World Record ™ for “Longest Radio DJ Marathon.” To break the record, Springer, a KSLU student DJ, will have to man the microphone solo for 126 hours from July 23-28.
HAMMOND – Call it “sleepless at Southeastern.”
Southeastern Louisiana University’s public radio station, KSLU 90.9 FM, is taking aim at the Guinness World Record ™ for the “Longest Radio DJ Marathon.”
To claim the record currently held by a disc jockey in Italy, Aaron Springer, a senior music education major from Baton Rouge and KSLU’s student music director, will have to man the mike -- solo -- for more than five days.
“The current record is 125 hours, so we’re aiming for 126,” said Chad Pierce, KSLU’s promotions coordinator. Springer will attempt to set the record from 6 a.m. Monday, July 23, to noon Saturday, July 28.
KSLU, Pierce adds, is not tackling the world record just for the publicity. “We plan to also ask listeners to make pledges with the proceeds going to a KSLU scholarship for a Southeastern communication major,” he said. Pledge forms can be picked up at the station in D Vickers Hall and will be available at www.kslu.org.
Pierce said he and General Manager Todd Delaney selected Springer from among the station’s student DJs because they thought he had the best chance of making it through the on air marathon.
“He has the 9 p.m. to midnight shift four days a week, so he’s the one who’s already used to being up late,” Pierce said. “We thought he probably had the best shot at doing it, energy-wise. Plus, he’s a music major, he works part-time at Global Wildlife, and plays the saxophone – so we know he’s very disciplined.”
Pierce and Delaney found selling Springer on the challenge to be surprisingly easy. He just responded, “Sure, why not?” -- leaving Pierce a bit taken aback.
“I told him, ‘Wait a minute, this is a big thing,’” Pierce said. “We’re not asking you to go 24 hours straight, we’re asking you to go 126 HOURS on the air.”
“I’ll fall asleep before I hurt myself,” Springer says, “I’m not going to have this opportunity again, so why not just go for it?”
Springer said his love of music and interest in radio attracted him to his student position at KSLU. “Music has been a part of my life big time since I was little,” he said. He was a marching band member and drum major at Tara High School and at Southeastern studies saxophone with music faculty Rich Schwartz and Glen Hemberger. He is also a member of the Southeastern Wind Symphony and jazz ensembles and previously participated in the university’s Spirit of the Southland marching band.
He is approaching the world’s record like an athlete training for the Olympics. Under the supervision of Jeff Day of Hammond’s Spoga Studio, he has undertaken an exercise and diet regimen to condition himself for his grueling stint in the KSLU broadcast booth.
“I’m going to be doing some cardio stuff to make sure I’m healthy since it is stressful on your body to stay awake that long,” Springer said. “I can’t drink caffeine or sodas or beer, but since I’m not a soft drink and energy drink person and I’m not really a beer drinker, that’s no problem. No coffee in the morning is what I’m worried about, but … it’ll be fine.”
Pierce said the Guinness World Record ™ organization, which has officially sanctioned the KSLU attempt, has a strict set of rules that have to be followed.
“Aaron has to talk before or after every song, and no song can be longer than six minutes,” he said. “He will be able to take a five-minute rest every hour, and those breaks can be rolled over like cell phone minutes, so that, for instance, if he goes 12 hours, he can build up 60 minutes of rest.
“The catch,” Pierce added, “is that bathroom breaks have to be taken during official rest time. So, it’s not like he can cue up a song then run down the hall to the restroom while it’s playing.”
Since he can air 15 minutes of news, sports, and weather every hour, Springer will also be able to catch some down time by cuing up a song-news segment-song combination, Pierce said. “Just so long as he introduces the first song, doesn’t exceed 15 minutes of news, then talks after the second song, he’s okay.”
To make sure that Springer is following all the rules, Guinness requires that independent witnesses be present on four-hour shifts. Pierce said he plans to recruit the witnesses from among Southeastern’s sororities and fraternities and student chapters of the National Broadcasting Society and Public Relations Student Society of America. He also hopes to tap Southeastern nursing students or faculty to provide required checks of Springer’s vital signs, such as blood pressure and pulse.
“He can also have support personnel there – that can be anyone … his mom even! – who can come in and encourage him,” Pierce said. “We’re going to set him up in our larger studio, which has a glass window, so the public is invited to come by the KSLU studios in D Vickers Hall and cheer him on.”
Springer said his family and friends have the same “why not?” attitude toward his “sleepless at Southeastern” on-air stint.
“It’s a once in a lifetime thing,” he said. “They’re excited to see if I pull it off. They’re going to be there for me no matter what.