Know Your DJ: Noah Fence

DJ Name: Noah Fence
Freeform Show Name: It’s a Nice World to Visit
Freeform Day/Time of Show: Fridays, 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Interview by: Beanie

Beanie: When did you first start DJing and how long have you been volunteering with Freeform Radio?
Noah Fence: I started as a radio DJ in 1988. I saw a flyer posted on a bulletin board at my local record store by a local community radio station, KAZU. They were looking for people interested in being DJ’s on the radio. I had no radio experience, but contacted them regardless, and they trained me to be a DJ. A couple weeks after contacting them I was on the air for the first time. My show was called “Blank Generation” and was broadcast Friday nights / Saturday morning Midnight to 3 AM. I held that time slot for five years. My last two years at the station, my show moved to Thursday afternoons, 1-4 PM. My experience at KAZU was very similar to my experience at Freeform Portland, in regards to the fact that they were willing to accept people who had no experience, but had the urge and desire to be radio DJ’s.

I have been volunteering at Freeform Portland since April 2016. I was among the first group of DJ’s to be part of the station when Freeform Portland began broadcasting. I think I have turned my radio experience around full circle, as one of the volunteer tasks I do to help Freeform Portland is to assist in training new DJ’s, every six months when we rotate or update our schedule.

Beanie: What do you hope to communicate to your listeners on ‘It’s a Nice World to Visit’?
Noah Fence: This is definitely something I have struggled with for a long time now. When I started out as a radio DJ, it was well before the internet was available to us, so the knowledge you gathered from your record collection was important. Despite not being the most overt person in the room, I felt at that time I was playing a selection of songs that most people listening would not have heard otherwise.

In 2019 though, specialized knowledge from years of years of collecting & cross referencing can basically obtained in an afternoon by visiting a few web pages. Consequently, my high minded “I’m educating the people” stance is long gone, and the aim of my show is to entertain. I put together old favorite songs, along with new releases, in the hope that segues from one track to the next will be a pleasant experience. That being said though, I am still proud of the fact that I can play music by bands such as Pere Ubu, and have a listener tell me that they had never heard of the band before hearing them on my show, and they liked them so much they sought out albums by the band.

Beanie: What’s the best show you’ve been to this year?
Noah Fence: Sadly, I have a job with an early morning start time, so I do not get out as much as I did when I was young. I did however make an exception to see The Scientists play Dante’s on Sept. 28th 2018. It was their first ever tour of the United States despite the fact the band started in the 80’s. It was a better experience than I could have imagined or for which I had hoped. The Scientists were ferocious, loud and thrilling. Everything I could ask for from a Rock n’ roll band.

Beanie: What advice would you give to aspiring DJs?
Noah Fence: Put aside your fears or trepidations, and do it. Get yourself a radio show. The two hours I spend each week at the station are always among the better part of my week. Music is fun. Being on the radio playing music for other people is fun. Life should be filled with moments like the time I spend on the radio.

Beanie: What do you think makes Freeform stand out in the realm of community radio?
Noah Fence: To my mind, what makes Freeform Portland stand out and be a success, is the people who volunteer to be part of the station. Freeform Portland is an all volunteer run radio station, which is fairly unique, as most community radio stations have at least a couple of paid positions. By being all volunteer run, Freeform Portland has managed to gather together a group of like minded people, dedicated to making the station the best possible radio station it can be.
One of the most genius ways of assuring the station stays vital is to have the schedule change every six months. By doing so, Freeform Portland brings in new people, with that new DJ fervor, and also gives existing DJ’s a chance to renew their dedication. No other station does that to my knowledge and I think it is one of the significant reasons that Freeform Portland is a success.

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