Student life generally entails sleeping in (unless, of course, there are lectures to attend), maybe after staying up until 5am due to a hard night of $3 handles.
Not so for Murdoch Stephens, host of the VBC’s breakfast show, who gets up at 6:15 am to do his 7-10am show, Monday through to Friday. Unlike many of the genre or topic specific shows the VBC also host, Murdoch’s is about “nothing in particular. It’s just waking up in the morning”. Having past experience in radio – through Dunedin’s Radio One and the University of Texas’s KVRX – naturally, the next step was adoption into the VBC family. This initially just took “a few flirtatious emails filled with references to obscure musical journeymen such as Roy Orbison,” Murdoch states.
However, on gaining and keeping this privileged position, Murdoch admits it was an enduring process – with much hard labour involved in getting to his end result.
“The VBC is a lot like a frat-house. So I had to pass through an initiation, which was mostly bottom smacking and an oath of allegiance. My promise to go into the production of VBC breakfast muesli was the clincher to my induction to the breakfast show. It’s now available from the VBC office. Just tell them Salient sent you and receive a 10% surcharge.”
Murdoch – a man of a charming disposition incorporating biting wit, deep-seated sarcasm and slick car salesman-like clicks – is well suited to wake up the student body. Guests best be on their toes when interviewed. Salient editor Steve Nicoll is well accustomed to this – he is interviewed by Murdoch every Monday morning at 9:45am, which Murdoch notes is “more of a jousting than anything else, parries, one-up-man ship, that kind of thing”. Another regular feature on the breakfast show is Murdoch’s Thursday interviews with academics or people employed by the university in a teaching capacity, as well as regular interviews with different bands, people and plays. Also, if you are after an alternative look at the news, the breakfast show features a set of “news monkeys.” Murdoch credits these reporters as being responsible to “get the fruit of truth from the tree which grows outside the studio from the coffee grounds and the cigarette ash and the news truths of the past.”
Listen to the VBC breakfast show with Murdoch, Monday through to Friday, on the VBC 88.3 FM.