Invasion of Privacy: Senior music director of WGSU Becky Lovell puts the "rad" in radio

For most students, picking one favorite day from their college experience would be a challenge. For senior Becky Lovell, however, it's easy.

She recalled a day during the spring semester of her junior year, when indie rock band The Apples in Stereo played to a large crowd of students on the College Union patio as part of Student Association's Springfest.

"I helped book them," she said. "There was a huge crowd, and everyone was dancing and jumping around. It was a lot of fun."

Originally from Merrick, N.Y., Lovell first came to Geneseo for the academic challenge it provided. "It felt like a right fit," she said.

Lovell, a communication major and English minor, has defined her student career by her involvement in the student-run radio and music scene. "I wanted to join even before I came here," she said, explaining that friend Noah Dreiblatt, class of 2009, advised her to sign up for WGSU prior to coming to Geneseo. "He told me the people were nice."

She began her radio career hosting a show called "The Outsiders" with fellow class of 2010 students Lucas Groth and Caleb Patrick, who has since transferred.

"I put a lot of time into that show," Lovell said. Along with playing whatever music was in rotation at the time, they also conducted interviews on-air and read children's books to ambient music.

Since then, Lovell has moved up the ranks and currently serves as music director for WGSU. "We get a lot of music from promotion companies every week, and my job is to sift through them," she said. "I'm kind of the gatekeeper." Lovell said she relies on assistant music directors as well as a staff of disc jockeys who review new CDs and recommend tracks to feature on-air.

Not only does Lovell spin others' tracks for the radio, she creates her own. "I've been playing in bands since high school," she said. "I'm happiest when I'm playing with other people, so it makes sense." She currently plays accordion, clarinet, keyboard and glockenspiel with senior Ben Morey and Molly Kerker, class of 2009, in folk-pop outfit New Socks.

The band recently went on tour over winter break with local bands Black Mold Lightning, which Lovell plays in with senior Steve Gennett, and The Awesomelies, which Lovell plays in with Ian Rickert of Athens, Ga. The bands traveled to Athens to open for Nana Grizol. "That was a really big deal for us," she said.

Blurring the typical boundaries between performer and audience is a priority for Lovell, who invites groups touring in the area to shows at the off-campus farmhouse she shares with other Geneseo alumni and current students.

"I realized that I wanted to book house shows when I saw Jason Anderson play in someone's apartment in Rochester," she said. "It was really moving. Everyone feels important at a house show." Lovell said she generally seeks out bands coming to the area by "spending a lot of time on the Internet," and occasionally bands have contacted her.

Lovell's efforts have expanded to students all over campus in a Facebook group she organized called "Awesome Geneseo Shows," which boasts about 250 members. "We're kind of in the middle of nowhere, and if you don't have a car, your options aren't amazing. So why not bring people here?' Lovell said.

"We try to make visiting bands feel comfortable here," she said, describing how they usually host a potluck for the band and spend time with them after shows. "I feel like we've done a good job at putting Geneseo on the map."

After graduation in May, Lovell plans to move south to Athens, where she spent the summer before working as an intern for music promotion Team Clermont. "I'd love to work in music promotion for college radio," Lovell said.

Location is also important. "I love Athens," she added. "There's a pretty large creative community, people who make art and music and are very friendly. At any time, you feel like you're surrounded by friends."

Edited 11:24 p.m. on Feb. 25