|March 9, 2010|
Presidential playlist: Ainlay rules radio for one night
Stephen Ainlay loves to tell the story of when he proudly called his mother in Indiana four years ago to tell her he got the job as president of Union College. His good news, however, was trumped by his younger brother, Chuck, who had just called home to report that he’d won a Grammy Award.
The divergent career paths of the Brothers Ainlay intersected again on Monday night when President Ainlay sat in as the guest DJ on WRUC, the College’s radio station. For just over an hour, Ainlay focused on the music from the wide array of artists who have worked with Chuck, an accomplished music producer and recording engineer in Nashville.
President Stephen Ainlay and co-host Zachary Pearce '12 in the WRUC studio.
Appearing relaxed and comfortable for his first stint at the console, Ainlay kicked off his show with Faith Hill’s “Waiting All Day for Sunday Night,” the theme song for NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.” He closed with Wynonna Judd’s “Change the World.”
In between, Ainlay showed off his musical chops, chatting with his co-host, Zachary Pearce ’12 about his favorite musicians (Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, among others), the artists who have worked with his brother and which music he would choose if he were stranded on a desert island (“In a Sentimental Mood,” by John Coltrane and Duke Ellington).
It was Pearce, who, after attending a dinner for sophomores hosted by Ainlay at Everest Lounge last month, thought it would be “pretty cool” to have the president sit in as a guest during his weekly show.
Landing the president was a bit of a coup for WRUC, “the first station in the nation.” In 1920, Union students used makeshift equipment in a shed behind the electrical engineering lab to broadcast 27 minutes of music through the airwaves, widely considered the first scheduled radio broadcast in the country.
When Ainlay played “So Far Away,” by Dire Straits, the mother of a student from Middletown, Conn. called to express her appreciation because it was her wedding song.
Even Chuck, whose Grammy was for Best Surround Sound Album of 2006 for Dire Straits' “Brothers in Arms” 20th anniversary edition, took time out from working on Lee Ann Womack’s new album in Nashville to call in. He talked about his projects and the state of the music industry, calling it a “time of turmoil.”
He also razzed his older brother (by four years), asking him to share with listeners the story of when Stephen took their parents to a Led Zeppelin-B.B. King concert in New York city’s Central Park in the late 1960s.
“They never recovered from that,” the president said.
As his guest gig wound down, Pearce extended an invitation for a return engagement, which Ainlay promised to do. He then signed off, “Let me say one more time. The first station in the nation…”
To hear Ainlay’s turn at the mic, click here.
“Waiting All Day for Sunday Night” – Faith Hill
“So Far Away” – Dire Straits
“All That Matters” – Mark Knopfler
“Love and Happiness” – Emmy Lou Harris and Mark Knopfler
“First Cut is the Deepest” – Sheryl Crow
“Troubadour” – George Strait
“Solitary Thinking” – Lee Ann Womack
“Show Me the Way” – Peter Frampton
“Someday” – Steve Earle
“The Leaving Song” – Mary Chapin Carpenter
“Change the World” – Wynonna Judd