SHEENA BARNETT: Rebel of the airwaves

As a general rule, middle school girls shouldn’t listen to any advice dished out by high school boys. I’m a rebel, though, so I did just that – only once, of course.
And this older boy’s one piece of advice was actually a good one: Listen to Rebel Radio.
I don’t remember much else about the conversation, other than we discussed our mutual appreciation for the alternative bands of the day, like Bush and Smashing Pumpkins.
If I wanted to hear more of the same, he said, I should tune into the station.
I did, and, about 13 years later, I realize Rebel Radio, the student-run radio station at Ole Miss, has had as much impact on my taste in music as my mother has, which is saying something.
In a time when MTV played only clips of music videos, Rebel Radio introduced me to so many bands and artists, like the Meat Puppets, Jeff Buckley, Jimmy Eat World, Cake, K’s Choice, Cowboy Mouth, Jane’s Addiction, Rage Against the Machine, The Breeders, Luscious Jackson.
Some of these artists are essential listening, while some today are nothing more than fun nostalgia.
The station also helped hone my Taping Songs off the Radio skills. For the young ‘uns who know only iPods, Taping Songs off the Radio went something like this: 1) Insert cassette into your stereo, 2) Wait (im)patiently for the station to play Your Favorite Song of the Moment, 3) Hit the record button the second the song started, and 4) Pray you didn’t cut off much of the song and that the DJ won’t talk over it.
By the time I rolled onto the Ole Miss campus as a junior in 2003, I already had a well-worn Rebel Radio bumper sticker on my car.
I started working at The Daily Mississippian, the Ole Miss student newspaper, and, at the time, Rebel Radio and The DM were across the hall from each other in the basement of Farley Hall. The most contact we had with the station was yelling our song requests across the hall.
After the Student Media Center moved from Farley to Bishop Hall, we were encouraged to try a converged newsroom, in which the broadcast and print students were supposed to work together.
That didn’t always happen, but I, for one, loved the idea.
The year I was editor-in-chief at The DM, my managing editor and I begged Rebel Radio’s station manager, Bailey, to give us our own radio show. He did. We never showed for it, not even once. We blamed our absences on our late nights with the paper.
Convergence worked a few times, though, and it was interesting to see the kids who switched teams – either from broadcast to print, or from print to broadcast – based on their time trying both the newspaper and the radio or TV stations.
Rebel Radio’s done a lot for me over the years, from introducing me to some vital music to teaching me about the profession I love.
These days, the station provides both entertainment and nostalgia.
Just last week, I was driving home from an interview in Oxford and I turned on Rebel Radio. The station played a song by Oxford band The Preacher’s Kids, followed by some Lady Gaga and a track from the late ’90s by K’s Choice.
Who could ask for more?
Contact Sheena Barnett at sheena.barnett@djournal.com.

Sheena Barnett / NEMS Daily Journal