Senior James Rinker prepares for his final show at WKNH

Senior James Rinker came across WKNH by accident as a sophomore in high school.

Rinker’s mom would tune into channels through the Monadnock Broadcasting Group and one day tuned to 91.3 FM in the car, the station number for WKNH.

“I vividly remember just hearing this crazy jazz-like track, like this crazy jazz kind of conglomeration,” Rinker said. “I immediately was like ‘I want to do a show like that, I want to be on air.’”

Being introduced to college radio as a high school student caused Rinker to factor that into his college decisions. When Rinker committed to Keene State in 2018, he was waiting for the opportunity to join WKNH.

“Literally the first table I went to at the Student Involvement Fair in September 2018 was WKNH and I was like ‘This is really cool, I don’t know what I want to do, but I want to be a part of this organization,’” Rinker said.

Four years later, now general manager of WKNH, Rinker is preparing for his final show at the station. On December 16 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Rinker will do the final broadcast of “James’ Junction.”

“I am basically backtracking the past four years in four hours,” Rinker said. “It’s just a rewind, just reflecting back, talking about college radio, talking about the people who have helped me get here.”

Rinker will be ending the show with the first song he ever played on air: “Corrina Corrina” by Bob Dylan.

“I just wanted to take that last chance to honor the past four years [and] see how I’ve grown both as a person and my music taste has actually improved,” Rinker said. “Just celebrating new beginnings.”

His show has evolved over the years, going through various titles and shifts in genre focus. Rinker said he was also evolving along with the show.

“WKNH and being on air with WKNH has really allowed me to come out of my shell as a person,” Rinker said. “I came into college very reserved. I still am an introvert, don’t get me wrong, but it has allowed me to really grow into someone that can be a mentor, that could be a leader.”

Rinker continued, “It’s a space that I can feel safe in; it is a place that I can escape the world for two hours a week. It is something that I feel my college experience would have not been the same without.”

Being a member of WKNH has been a cornerstone of his college experience, Rinker said. The radio show, Rinker said, has allowed them to have a safe space to grow and have fun.

“Having it, first and foremost, be my space and be a space that I, without judgment, can just play the music I like, spend two hours a week just dancing literally by myself and having so much fun has been such an integral part of everything,” Rinker said.

Rinker said they will, most of all, miss the people in the WKNH community. “We have people graduate, people come and go, but the memories of the station are always going to sit with me for a very long time,” Rinker said.

Preparing to graduate at the end of the Fall 2021 semester, Rinker left some words of advice to current and future KSC students: “To any student that is hesitant of just joining a student organization, regardless of whether it is WKNH, any media organization or just getting involved, don’t be afraid to take that plunge,” Rinker said.

Rinker added, “You’re never gonna know what’s going to happen until you actually go and do it. And it’s rather to have that experience than regret not having it at all.”

 

Caitlin Howard can be contacted at

choward@kscequinox.com

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