In the Fall of 1998, fourteen-year-old Stef Buzzell’s father (a long-time WMPG listener and supporter) noticed she was listening to quite a bit of ska music. You know, he counseled, WMPG has a ska program every Friday night (“Stay Rude,” Fridays 8:30 pm-10:30pm). Soon Stef became the youngest WMPG listener in her household. She was hooked on “Stay Rude” and often called the show’s host, Rob Hoyt, with suggestions and to comment on his program. The two struck up a musical rapport and Rob invited Stef to stop by WMPG and sit in on a show. With the encouragement of her parents, Stef took him up on the offer.
Rob was eager to mentor someone as enthusiastic about his favorite genre as he is. And with good reason; you see, Rob had been tutored in much the same way just two years previously by Chris DeVere who had learned from Nate March, “Stay Rude”‘s previous hosts. And that, in itself, is one of the wonderful aspects of community radio. Like-minded and enthusiastic individuals pass the proverbial torch and a veritable family tree of volunteers is the result.
These visits to the station showed Stef just how exciting it is to be in control of a weekly radio show. At first, she was simply interested in learning more about the music. That grew into an interest in radio and in 2000 Stef signed up for the DJ training classes offered at WMPG (anyone interested should contact Dave Bunker at 780-4598 for more information on the training available). Within a year, a spot opened up in the schedule during the afternoon indie rock block and Stef had a show of her own (“Daisypusher,” Tuesdays, 3:00pm-5:00pm) and a new name, Stef Stylee, at the ripe old age of seventeen!
Her experiences at WMPG have expanded her musical tastes and taught her aspects of radio production that are the envy of many kids her age. What began as an interest in one band (The Mighty Mighty Bosstones) has evolved into a hobby that has been immensely rewarding. “It’s really cool to bring music to other people,” she says in her characteristically soft-spoken manner. And while she has a paying gig at Newbury Comics, her volunteer position gives her an opportunity to explore new music and connect with her listeners.
These days Stef is playing much more than straight-ahead ska. On any given Tuesday you might hear the Cure, AFI, Modest Mouse, or Bright Eyes. But there’s still a place on Daisypusher for the music that started her great radio adventure. Stef lists Bim Skala Bim as her favorite band to hear live and she’s into the Aquabats and Jimmy Eat World, too. And the Bosstones? As sure as 2 Tone evolved into ska-punk, and as sure as Nate helped Chris, who helped Rob, who helped Stef, there’s still a place in her heart for those rude boys from Boss-ton. Just like WMPG, there’s room for a little bit of everything.