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WPCR Spotlight: The Captain

By Sarah Liebowitz; A&E Editor
On December 2, 2016

Shane Smith (aka the Capitain) mans his ship in the WPCR radio station.


"Oh wow, sure is dark outside, as usual. Please send help.” That’s a plea from the captain of the Starship Panther, who broadcasts his WPCR radio show from outer space. 

“Every time I’m on the mic, I remind the listener that I’m piloting a ship, and that I’m in space. I’m not in Plymouth, NH.”

The Captain’s show airs Mondays from 5-7 p.m. The first hour features space-themed songs like Rocket Man, Space Oddity, Major Tom, and Mr. Spaceman. “I have a whole playlist of different songs that either are lyrically about space, or they have a space ambiance to them,” said the Captain. The second hour of the show is more free-form, sometimes playing 80s music and electronic songs.

“To explain my absence from the summer, I was cryogenically frozen for three months,” said the Captain. Listeners heard audio of an automated voice and ice thawing out before the Captain woke up.

There are rumors that the Captain has some sort of connection to Shane Smith, a senior theater major with an option in acting at PSU, who claims to host the radio show.

Shane Smith aboard the Starship Panther.

When speaking as the Captain, “It does feel a little bit like acting, but I wouldn’t really call it a character,” said Smith, “more like an extension of myself.”

Smith joined the radio station last semester after talking with people from the Gaming Club, especially Eric Halin, who helped Smith start his show.

“Being a theater major, that I am, I’ve been trying to get my feet wet in every kind of style of media that I can, radio being one of them. And I’ve found that it has kind of grown on me,” said Smith.

Smith doesn’t know what specifically inspired his space-themed show, but “I found that it gives me plenty of opportunity to, I guess the best word for it would be role play,” he said. “I sort of, in my head, built this entire station for me to pilot, which I found to be very fun to do.”

“I think what sets it apart, is that it sort of has its own fiction,” said Smith. “I think it’s a very interesting premise of a radio station as broadcasted by somebody in space suffering from increasing cabin fever of being in the station by themself.”

The Captain shares his adventures with the listener, from how he eats food, to how much water is on the ship. “I find that the ship tends to break down a lot, and I have to fix it, and then explain what was broken,” he said.

Although most of his show is science fiction, the Captain occasionally chimes in with a real space fact. “For example, the nearest star to our sun, Alpha Centauri, would take about four light years to reach,” he said.

After graduating, Smith plans to move to Boston or the Greater Boston area and keep an ear out for stations looking for a DJ. “I think I have the experience of being at a radio station, and not to pat my own back, but I think I’m pretty decent at it.”

Smith said his dream job would be “just acting in general, whether it be onstage or in voiceover or radio or movies. Being not only able to entertain people on a regular basis, but also make it my main source of income, that is something that I have strived for a very long time.”

On Earth, Smith fiddles with the piano and writes some of his own music using the program LMMS. He puts original songs on SoundCloud under shanesmithofboston.

Smith is also a former chair of gaming club. He’s been trying to teach himself how to make games using the program Hammer, and 3D animation using the program Maya. He’s also a member of the improv troupe PlymProv. He sometimes does voiceovers for friends, and knows how to solve a Rubix Cube.

Shane Smith’s show, Starship Panther, airs on WPCR every Monday from 5-7 p.m. at 91.7 FM. 


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