SIOUX CITY | Zach Schoenecker listened intensely to the occasional hiss and scratch from the vintage "Pink Panther" soundtrack album he picked for $1 at a local secondhand store.
"There's something really comforting about vinyl records," the Morningside College mass communications junior said, while hunched over a turntable. "Digital recordings sound too smooth while vinyl has more character and a unique sound."
Schoenecker, the student engineer and operations manager for the college's radio station, will be getting plenty of turntable action when KMSC 92.9 FM will go to an all-vinyl format for a 24-hour period, from midnight to 11:59 p.m. Saturday.
The student-run KMSC is one of 72 radio stations participating in the second annual College Radio Vinylthon. Organized by the College Radio Foundation, a Hewitt, N.J.-based nonprofit, the special day of programming is designed to remind audiences that college radio still plays music not heard on other stations.
In Schoenecker's case, he must rely on the private collections of Morningside staffers to supply him with an entire day's worth of material.
"We have people rummaging through their music at home," he said, inside the radio station station lounge that will soon double as its temporary broadcast studio. "Hopefully, this entire room will be filled with vinyl on Saturday."
So far, Schoenecker's selection seems surprisingly slim. In addition to "Pink Panther," he has a few miscellaneous 45 rpm singles, Kenny Rogers' 1977 album "Daytime Friends" and a British radio remake of Orson Wells' "War of the Worlds."
Well, at least, he didn't have to spring for a new turntable. Luckily, the station already had one in storage.
For Schoenecker, who grew up listening to country music in his native Belle Plaine, Minn., vinyl is throwback to a more romantic time.
"I love all kinds of music," he said. "I'm into everything from classic country to classic rock."
However, Schoenecker's favorite musical genre happens to be jazz. Indeed, his DJ name happens to be "Jazzy."
"At least, that's what I call him," Morningside mass communications junior and KMSC announcer Taylor DeVary said with a smile. "I like Zach but I don't like jazz."
And what kind of music does DeVary like? A genre she called "grime."
"'Grime' originated in England and draws influence from garage bands, dance hall and reggae music," the Welcome, Minn. native explained. "You may not know about 'grime' now but you will six months from now."
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Like Schoenecker, DeVary's musical education revolved around the country and rock sounds favored by her parents.
After she moved away from home, DeVary's musical tastes expanded to included music that is popular on the other side of equator.
"My DJ name is 'Aussie D' because I'm the girl who loves music that is currently popular in Australia," she said.
So DeVary's enthusiasm for "music from down under" essentially means she has no stray star vinyl records lying around, right?
"That's right, I have no vinyl," she admitted. "But I do like the sound."
Which is why DeVary has signed up for an afternoon shift at the "Vinylthon."
"I'm trying to fit it around my homework," she admitted.
Yet, Schoenecker is all in, tackling an overnight shift and, likely, concluding it nearly 24 hours later.
"I'll start it, go to my part-time job at Federal Express, get some sleep and head back to the radio station," he explained. "I'm planning to sleep in on Sunday."
And what will Schoenecker and his volunteer crew be getting in return? If they spin vinyl for 24 straight hours, KMSC will receive the College Radio Foundation's coveted Golden Slipmat Award -- which is actually made with the same synthetic material disc jockeys place on their turntable platters in place of a rubber mat.
In addition, they'll have the satisfaction of highlighting the quirky, anything goes appeal of college radio.
"We value the variety of the station," DeVary said. "A life without music is boring."
Schoenecker nodded his head in agreement.
"Vinyl is cool and it's also making a comeback," he said. "Maybe we can turn more people onto vinyl."