John Young just plain loves radio. As a professional musician, he has performed or been featured on national programs such as NPR’s Weekend Edition and World Café, as well as on many local stations across America. As a writer and researcher on the global environment and related issues, he has made hundreds of appearances on radio networks around the world, including NPR, Voice of America, Deutsche Welle, and the BBC. When he’s not on the radio, he’s probably listening to it.
John caught the radio bug as a student, when he became a regular DJ and served as Assistant Engineer and station board member at KRLX-Northfield (Minnesota), the voice of Carleton College. During his time there, the station garnered the necessary funding and licensing for a complete studio rebuild, a power upgrade (from 10 to a whopping 100 watts!), and a transition to stereo broadcasting. John gained an appreciation for vintage ribbon microphones and learned to love the smell of rosin-core solder. He also hosted both a late-night jazz program (“Round Midnight”) and a punk show (“Blitzkrieg Bop”).
For WRFI, John has cleaned fuzzy black crud from the innards of the station’s control board, which was recently recovered from a Tompkins County barn, scoured the Internet for broadcasting equipment (anybody got a spare 950-MHz parabolic antenna or two?), and soldered together studio wiring harnesses, among other tasks. As an experienced live sound engineer, he has devoted special effort to making it easier for the station to host live, in-studio music performances. In his occasional on-air moments, he also has enjoyed reacquainting himself with the tactile joy of back-cueing vinyl records.