Baton Rouge – Chris Hailey, a senior finance major at Louisiana State University, pressed an unlit button on the soundboard in front of him, causing a red ring to illuminate around his microphone. He was live.
“Wassup Wassup Guys. This is ‘Under Cover’ with me, Tenacious C,” Hailey said in an upbeat tone that suggested it was 11 in the morning rather than 11 at night.
Hailey moved his hands in front of him, hitting a series of buttons and ending his motions with a sigh of relief as the first song of the night started to play through the headphones.
Hailey, known to his listeners as Tenacious C, hosted his late-night specialty show on KLSUs 91.1 FM station for the fourth time Monday night.
As a rookie radio host, he said that the difficulties of the job far surpass learning how to use the various pieces of equipment.
“The hard part is, for me at least, has been figuring out what to say- kind of talking back to yourself is kind of difficult. I don’t want to ramble, but I also want to have something cool to say. I want people to want to listen,” Hailey said.
Hailey said he got the idea to host a show based solely on song covers from his older brother, who hosted his own segment called ‘Under The Cover’ when he attended the University of Georgia.
“I tried to make as different of a name as possible and I guess maybe my creativity was lacking, but mine is called ‘Under Cover’,” Hailey said.
Hailey addressed the two-part meaning to his show’s title. He said that most people listening are probably under their covers due to the late airing hours, but also says after a small laugh that he feels like a secret agent when he hosts.
His segment is even introduced with a “Mission Impossible” styled-background theme.
Following his introduction, Hailey said he fills his three-hour time slot with a playlist that takes anywhere from four to five hours outside of the studio to create. He later adds these playlists to the KLSU website.
Although Hailey spoke highly of his interest in music, he said joining KLSU was a way to break free from a Greek-life-dominated friendship base and to make connections with people that shared similar interests.
After several years of being in a fraternity at LSU, Hailey said he got sick of the routine and the mindset of feeling like everyone has to be a certain type of person.
“I felt like I only knew Greek people. I wanted to meet people with other interests,” Hailey said.
Hailey applied to be a member of KLSUs team two times before he successfully interviewed and landed the late night gig playing covers of popular songs, he said.
His initial intent was to have a show that featured local artists covering music, but found it nearly impossible to match schedules every week when he himself has an 18-hour course load during his senior year at LSU, he said.
Instead, Hailey chose a more concentrated path for his show. Hailey said that even though he is a cover-show, he didn’t want to feature cover bands.
“I want the cover to have their band and personality in it. I don’t want to have a cover band that is just going to come in and play the exact same thing as the original,” Hailey said.
Hailey is excited to have a job with music that is giving him experience in something he wants to pursue in the future.
Even though Hailey interviewed with several local artists for his show, he said his greatest accomplishment so far was interviewing the Baton Rouge based electronic-chamber-folk band Minos the Saints.
“They were my first real local band,” Hailey said.
Hailey said his four-week role with KLSU has already started to open doors in the Baton Rouge music industry that may be beneficial to his future career path.
“One band manager has contacted me. Kind of being in the mix of that has been really fun- making connections and figuring out about all of these local bands that I’ve never heard of,” Hailey said.