30 years of KJHK: Brooks Rice

Why'd you involve yrself with KJHK in the first place?

I was really into Kansas City's KKFI shows starting in junior high, and I always wanted to be part of that world. I was able to hang out at KKFI with Pat Hopewell and the like during their shows once I started high school. I just hung around and occasionally got to play records. I loved it.

I knew the station manager, David Day, a little bit in Lawrence and my buddy and roommate Brandon Burke was really involved at the station, so that's how I started at KJ. It was my sophomore year (1994). I was lucky, I never had to do a late night, red-eye rotation show. That was nice. I just started DJing with Brandon and sometimes other friends on their shows and then later I had my own show. Brandon and I would play 2 LPs and 2 CDs simultaneously and we thought we were blowin' Lawrence's mind ... probably just blowin' our own minds.

What show did you do, and why?

My show was called "Artists Only". I wanted to play the bands and artists that I liked and found important and play them in bulk. I figured people needed an hour or two of Captain Beefheart or John Fahey. Not sure if the people agreed, but I didn't mind, it was a blast for me.

How have yr experiences w/ KJ helped/hindered your life now?

I think the experience helped actually. I met a lot of excellent people, and my tastes and dislikes were enhanced because of my time there. I've always been into records, and I was able to search the basement and stacks and try out all sorts of interesting things. I started getting into pre-war blues and old timey music because of KJ. I still love that stuff, and I probably should tip my hat to KJ for that. I have to admit that I wasn't a very good DJ, I have a monotone voice and I had that rookie, college DJ pause thing that made me sound boring.

What the heck are you up to these days?

I live in Brooklyn, N.Y., and work for Paper Magazine. I got married a year ago and have been enjoying married life and trying to stay afloat in the city. I still collect LPs and I've found that NY is a brilliant place to scrounge around. How's Lawrence?

What's yr fondest/wierdest/worst memory of KJ?

I think it was Brandon Burke that this happened to while we were in school, I could be wrong, but there was a guy who showed up at the station one afternoon with a few crates of LPs. Turns out that this guy was an alcoholic and was going through the 12-step program and one step was to return the things you stole (I have no idea what the steps are) or something like that.

The dude stole a bunch of LPs in the '80s and was returning them years later. I thought that was pretty wild and admirable on his part.

I also remember when I was first learning to DJ there, the news was in the same booth area as the music DJs. I was DJing with this girl Eleanor and she had no idea how to fade in the newscasters once our hour was complete (Bed knobs & Broomsticks show). There was always a minute or so of silence. Literally a minute. The journalism students were pissed. I found it hilarious. Basketball scores were always a few minutes late, KU Bookstore ADs were all off the mark. Pure disarray.

How badly do you still kinda wish you were a KJ DJ?

I do miss the freedom of playing whatever I want for a few hours at a time.

I live in a building with 4 other apartments, and I'm not so sure any of the tenants would want to hear 2 hours of CAN or Beefheart at 1 a.m. on a Tuesday.


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