Every Saturday evening, Thomas Grabinski ’15 and John Sachs ’15 let audiences vicariously experience their friendship, musical taste and eccentric conversation for two hours on “Radio on the Radio.”
“We were trying to think of names, and my favorite band is TV on the Radio, and we kind of just went with it,” Sachs said.
“I think it’s got quite the legacy now. It was spur of the moment but I think it was a good choice. It’s also fitting because we are a radio show on the radio waves. So ifyou think about it, it’s literal,” Grabinski commented.

Photo by Tela Ebersole

The two began their radio show in the spring semester of their first year. They were so eager to begin their radio show that they fulfilled their shadowing requirement in record speed.
“Last year we needed to get ten hours a week of shadowing [KDIC DJs]. We really wanted to get on the air quick, so we did it in two days. Ten hours of shadowing in two days,” Sachs said.
Their shows encompass a diversity of fun and lighthearted themes, interspersed with interviews.
“We’ve had a Pokémon episode, a Lord of the Rings themed episode: Beards of Middle Earth. And we play it pretty straight. What we do is that we have song pairings. John makes a list of songs he wants to play, and I make one, and then we pair them accordingly,” Grabinski said.
The duos have been able to feature some unexpected guests.
“Last year I interviewed Max Beamis from Say Anything. They’re a Jewish rock band from California. I went to one of their shows in Nebraska and got an interview set up ahead of time,” Grabinski said. “I think that’s what actually led to Beards of Middle Earth because we got into this discussion about Lords of the Rings and said that Viggo Mortensen and his facial hair could kick everyone else’s ass. And then John had a great beard and so it all came together.”
Recently, Kath Barbadoro ’10, a Grinnell alumna, appeared on the show when she was on campus to do stand-up.
Sachs and Grabinski generally play indie rock on their station. When listing music staples they included Jack White, She and Him, My Morning Jacket, Japandroids, Metric, Chromatics and Misfits.
For them, it’s mostly about the fun.
“It’s just a bunch of indie rock bands we like. Sometimes we deviate from that structure. In college radio stations, there’s no shortage of indie rock…we go into the studio and it’s about playing music really loud and kind of partying and just messing around, but it’s an open invitation—if other people want to tune in via their computers and party with us, it’s always welcome,” Grabinski said.
Indeed, their studio environment is so dynamic that they’ve considered adding a Google+ Hangouts component in the future.
“So we’ve got radio on the radio, it’s just audio right now. But the studio, I think the dynamic is just so dynamic we should bring it to the people,” Grabinski said.