There is a hidden world in the basement of North Court. Behind a dark brown door near the varsity tennis courts is WDCE 90.1 FM Richmond, where shelves are filled with colorful CDs and records and the iTunes server has 40,000 songs.
The world of the University of Richmond WDCE station contains an office, a sitting area with couches and chairs upholstered in bright yellows and oranges and a sound-proof studio.
The sound-proof studio is now home to 55 DJs, which include students and Richmond locals, whose shows play from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. every day.
The WDCE office, which used to be on the third floor of the Commons, moved to North Court in October 2008, WDCE general manager Ben Russell said. During its short time in its new location, the station has sparked an interest among students to create their own radio shows.
Juniors Megan McNamara and Sadie Runge host "The FSO," also known as "The Fluorescent Spectral Octopi," from 9 p.m Monday to 1 a.m Tuesday. "Your Favorite Mistakes," hosted by senior Chris Equale, "DJ Quals," and junior Dave McIntyre, "DMac" is on from 5 p.m to 7 p.m on Tuesday. And immediately after their show, "DJ Tay$'s Funktastrophe" is hosted by senior Taylor Doyle.
McNamara and Runge became interested in having their own show because they had friends who had done it in the past, they said.
"Our show is 80 percent music and 20 percent talk-based," Runge said. The girls have segments such as "Pokemon of the Day" and "Today in History."
They also talk about the appreciation of things that often are not appreciated, such as grilled cheese, McNamara said.
The music on "The FSO" is extremely varied, McNamara and Runge said. They play everything from folk tunes to hip-hop and 80s music, they said.
Like McNamara and Runge, Equale, McIntyre and Doyle became interested in the station because some of their fraternity brothers had hosted their own shows.
Equale and McIntyre play punk and "emo-esque" music on their station with artists like Brand New, Blink 182 and Taking Back Sunday, while Doyle plays electronic artists like Daft Punk, Justice and Passion Pit.
DJs are not allowed to play songs that have been on the Billboard Top 100, senior and WDCE program director Mike LaMonte said.
"We don't want to play mainstream songs because they're already on the radio," he said.
Equale and McIntyre had to shadow a DJ twice before they could have their own show, they said.
"It actually only took us about an hour to prepare to have our own show," Equale said.
Doyle agreed. "It only took me about 45 minutes to learn how to use the system," he said.
But after only a few short weeks on the air, these new DJs have gotten callers on their shows.
"That's by far the best part: seeing who calls in," Equale said.
People from Maryland and Indiana have called into the show, Equale said. McIntyre said one of his friends called in from Guatemala.
Friends who are abroad and at home can listen to the show on www.wdce.org, McNamara said.
"My Aunt Cheryl called in last week," Runge said.
All of the new DJs give shout-outs and accept requests from listeners via WDCE's phone number, (804) 289-8790, Facebook chat, Gchat and text messages, they said.
Sometimes they even have giveaways.
"Last week we auctioned off DMac on the air," Equale said.
At the 15- and 45-minute mark of each hour, DJs must give a public service announcement that they may create on their own.
McNamara and Runge have given public service announcements about slippery leaves and melanoma, they said.
"It seems as if there's more awareness this year about the station," Doyle said. But despite this new awareness, Runge and McNamara said they had still been trying to break into "double-digits" with their listeners.
A box on the Web site indicates how many people are listening online, but cannot calculate who is listening to the shows on the radio, they said.
McNamara and Runge would like WDCE to be played in D-Hall, they said.
"We should be playing at The Cellar," LaMonte said. "It doesn't make sense that a student program isn't playing there."
LaMonte also recommended that the station play in the gym or on the indoor basketball courts.
If students are interested in hosting their own shows, it's not too late to sign up.
"We're still looking for more DJs on Fridays and Saturdays," Russell said.
All the new DJs share an enthusiastic spirit when they talk about WDCE.
"It's two hours where we can do whatever we want with no one telling us what to do," Equale said.
McNamara said, "The greatest part about [having a show] is being able to influence people with sweet music."
Contact reporter Ryan Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org