UT Radio Station’s Community of Women DJs

dj station

Who is a DJ?

A DJ is the one who keeps the constant, steady flow of the radio going. 

What would the world sound like without DJs? 

Long car rides would be silent. Your favorite station that plays music by the pool every summer would turn static. Every store that keeps a constant stream of early 2000s pop on while you shop would be filled with emptiness.

DJing has long been a male-dominated field, but like all other areas, women continue to leave their mark on the industry. 

WUTK (90.3 The Rock) serves as UT’s College of Rock. On WUTK listeners can find a wide assortment of genres, various variety shows, sports coverage and more. WUTK does everything from promoting local artists to hosting and interviewing musicians as they pass through Knoxville.

I started DJing at WUTK in September 2022 and joined a small community of other women DJs at UT. It has been one of my favorite parts of my college experience thus far. My weekly shift at 90.3 The Rock has given me an on-air voice, allowed me to meet other people who are just as passionate about music as I am and helped me gain the confidence I’d never dreamed of having before starting college.

Fellow DJ at WUTK, Sydney Spangler, shared what led her to DJing as a freshman studying journalism.

“Coming to UT, I knew I wanted to be involved in music. I plan on going into music journalism or business, so it was important I found that community. WUTK seemed like the perfect place to try and do that. I’ve played music in the past, but this was my first opportunity to focus more on talking about it. It also gave me a space to feel like I was performing a bit which is something I missed doing,” Spangler said. 

WUTK is a unique way to get involved on campus while building valuable resume experience and connecting with people with similar interests.

Freshman Public Relations major, Maywyn Haydamack, has had a positive experience with WUTK as well. 

“As a female DJ, I haven’t noticed anything different than those who are male DJs. Overall the experience has been really great and I always look forward to coming to the studio,” Haydamack said.

Although Spangler’s experience has been positive as well, she has noticed some differences between being a female DJ in a male-dominated field. 

“I think being a female DJ at WUTK is a unique experience. It’s a very male-dominated space…I vividly remember when Rece Davis came in last semester before College Gameday at the beginning of my shift…There were at least 20 guys in the studio, and my co-DJ and I were the only women. There definitely is a sense of comradery among the female DJs at the station since we are outnumbered,” Spangler said. 

Similar to the comradery that can be formed between women in male-dominated spaces, having a studio such as WUTK where like-minded people can find each other is certainly useful if someone is searching for a community on campus.

“One time I got a phone request and a nice man requested a song and asked for my name. He said I was doing great and that he loves listening to WUTK every day while working. It was a very rewarding day because sometimes you don’t realize how many people are listening and hearing you in their everyday lives,” Haydamack said. 

The radio is a part of so many people’s everyday lives, and with this comes an opportunity for DJs to make an impact. Hearing a woman’s voice could inspire a girl to pursue her dreams.