Abby Steinhauer at WRUV (photo credit Abbagail Wimett)

Abby in the WRUV record collection

Abby Steinhauer '21 is the Music Director at WRUV, UVM's student-run radio station. She is a double major in Music Technology & Business (MTB) and Global Studies, with a minor in French. We spoke to her about the valuable skills she has developed, and the intersection of music as an academic pursuit and an ever-growing personal experience.

How did you get involved with WRUV?

I actually got involved with WRUV completely on a whim. I was a freshman and saw a poster outside of the library and I thought it could be fun and funky so I went to the meeting. I was really intimidated, I had no idea what to expect, and I had absolutely zero experience. Fast forward to now, I have been a DJ since fall of my freshman year, I am now in the fall of my senior year and I am on the executive board as the Music Director.

Tell us about a typical day/shift at the radio station.

During a pre-COVID era at the station, I would usually start by checking my email to correspond with the staff and promoters. Whenever I can, I swing by the station between classes and kinda just hang out and respond to emails, listen to submissions, and open mail from promoters and labels! My favorite time of the week is when I have my show. I get to dance and groove to music that I play on air for two whole hours. We have a bunch of silly colored lights in the onair booth and they make for the perfect broadcasting atmosphere.

How have you adapted to the challenges of remote work and learning this semester?

I think as a music student, it has been really challenging. I would like to give a bunch of ways in which I have adapted but the reality is that it’s a process, and we’re all creating our own little pathways as things come at us. I try to just remember that although musical learning can be difficult to do outside of any special classroom or facility, the only thing that has changed is the mode of delivery. The music hasn’t changed, the passion hasn’t changed, and I still want to learn and create all that I can. I almost feel a bit more empowered to create on my own because of all the challenges. I think the two most important adaptations have been just the growth in patience and a new faith in my ability as a student and as a musician.

Has your taste in music changed or grown since you began working at WRUV? Or are you more devoted than ever to your favorite genres and artists?

Completely!! I have always had a soft spot for electronic avante-garde/experimental and ambient music, and I have found that that love has only grown, but since joining WRUV I have developed a huge appreciation and love for art rap. Because of my position at the station, I am exposed to so many different genres and artists from all over, it’s really a treat. I am a diehard classical musician, but I find myself enjoying the jazz music we are sent from promoters, if that gives you any idea. Starting out by listening to almost any kind of music objectively is such a lovely experience because appreciation and enjoyment can only grow from that point!

What skills have you developed as a result of your time at WRUV?

Big question. To answer it literally, I have gained mastery using a broadcasting soundboard, Spinitron (our logging software), and especially Professional Rule Following 101 when it comes to adhering by FCC guidelines. To speak more figuratively, I have learned how to communicate with a massive and varied staff. I can take calls with promoters and label representatives without batting an eye. I have gained such a valuable view into the music industry, and I can recognize and appreciate all the moving parts. Not to mention I can write a killer diplomatic email. Not only this, but I have also started live DJing! I have been DJing the on campus freestyle ski Rail Jams for the past year and a half, as well as 2 years of RALLYTHON, and a New Years Eve set at a local restaurant/bar back home. It’s a total blast, I have so much fun doing it.Abby Steinhauer (Tanner Slosberg)

What’s the best thing about working at the radio station?

I really think the best thing about our station is how powerful it is in the hands of the students. We (a bunch of college kids) run a fully functioning FM radio station that streams worldwide. It’s crazy. I feel so empowered here, after having held an executive position since my sophomore year— I feel like I can take on anything. I have confidence and faith in my and knowledge and I've been able to use that many times over. It’s often hard as a female identifying person to establish that so early on in life and in the music industry, and while I am so thankful for it, I know how hard I worked for that feeling. WRUV gave me that first step, and it’s helped me grow tremendously along the way. The best thing about being a part of the station is seeing all the positive change in myself because of my involvement in this place.

Have your classes at the Music Department influenced your work at WRUV? Or has your work at the radio station given you particular insights that were relevant to your Music courses? Why did you choose to major in Music Technology and Business?

I’ll probably combine this question and the first part of the next question! So I am very lucky, I have been playing classical piano since I was 5, music has always been in my life and in my family. I never really saw myself as getting involved with music academically. I didn’t really see it as an option, and getting involved that young kind of made me take it for granted. I needed to choose music for myself to make it more meaningful. I started work at the radio station thinking it would be a way for me to stay involved with music, I was a French major actually. I realized, yeah I love the station! But its not enough music for me! So, I added an MTB minor. I love piano but my passion more lies behind the scenes with the technology and production side of things. After a while, I thought okay great! I’m happy, I’m doing music, but I want more! So, second semester of my sophomore year, I changed my major to MTB. Almost every class I take, I view through the lens of the station. I notice that having that experience under my belt makes me feel like I have an extra layer, and I’ve even been asked to speak in my Music Business courses about my work at the station. The knowledge I have gained has given me an edge, so to say; it’s such valuable and applicable smarts for this field, I can’t stress that enough.

Do you have plans for after graduation?

Eek, I think so? In the wake of COVID, I am finding it really hard to visualize the music industry after I graduate but I am really thinking of continuing on with broadcasting. I love broadcast media, and I think that it can be much more tied to music than people may think. Right now I am producing/editing a series for the Center for Research on Vermont, it’s actually a series about the importance of college radio! I want to leap off of this experience and hopefully become employed by a small radio station in VT, but ideally I could sneak my way into VPR. I am staying in Burlington for the year after I graduate - I’m not ready to leave! This is a fancy way of saying I don’t have any shiny job offers or detailed plans but, I am hopeful!

What are some standout tracks/albums you’ve been listening to lately?

As I type this answer I am listening to Star Gazing by Emily A. Sprague! I’ve been listening to more and more ambient music, it’s really helpful while I do homework and if I ever need a time to really relax. Oneohtrix Point Never put out a little EP, it’s really fun and glitchy in the best way. I've also been working my way through the new Bibio album, it’s completely gorgeous, the man is a musical genius.