Aaron’s first glimpse into the world of audio production came during his high school band practices in the 90’s when they recorded themselves for reference and, later, for early social media websites - think Myspace and Napster. But as the oldest child with access to the family video camera it was actually in the late 80’s when Aaron first began playing with video production experimenting with perspective illusions, stop and start techniques and sound effects in homemade videos with siblings and friends. The fun he had as a kid got serious in college when a Practicum in Radio class at UMSL introduced him to the professional world of radio and audio production - right here at 90.7 KWMU.
“It really is exciting” he says talking about the energy of live radio “...it’s like an airplane taking off. You feel all this energy here [in the studio] with all these people running around and figuring things out and you’ve just done mic checks and you’re monitoring air control for the handoff and then you hit the button and give a big [here Aaron raises his hand and with a flourish points forward with a loud whooshing noise]... it’s just fun.” In 2001 Aaron changed his academic focus from art to audio and earned an audio engineering degree from Webster University. Having returned to KWMU to for an internship requirement his graduating year he was hired as part time production assistant in 2004.
A typical shift of St. Louis On The Air sees Aaron, usually working alongside an intern (full circle moment) positioning microphones, cueing the start of the show, balancing audio levels, playing music breaks, airing call-ins, and fading in theme music. And there really are a lot of people in the room: there’s two or three producers monitoring show content, social media engagement, potential podcast excerpts. There’s a call screener too and when the room gets noisy Aaron puts on a (very nice pair of) headphones and zeros in.
Post production duties include editing the show and recording re-takes for the re-air if necessary, recording and uploading promos for the next day’s show, and separating the program into segments for the podcast.
Show inside jokes include yelling “Hit the dump!” when anyone on the air says something that could be construed as vulgar, and “Cue [song name]” when anyone on the air mentions something (even remotely) related to a famous song.
Aaron teaches guitar and bass guitar full time from his home studio in the Lindenwood Park neighborhood of south St. Louis city where he also hosts jam sessions for his adult students, live streams improvisational music over NASA tv on twitch, and maintains a growing collection of audio equipment. His wife Amy earned her PhD in Psychology from UMSL in 2010 and their dog Tallis has an adorable instagram account.