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WPCR Spotlight: Sydney Balch

By Hannah Huckins; For the Clock
On February 23, 2017

DJ Cool Guy Paul, AKA Sydney Balch, at the WPCR radio station.

My Mom Said No is a radio show that airs every Tuesdays from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. It’s broadcasted through Plymouth State’s student radio station, WPCR.

The woman behind the show is Cool Guy Paul, who goes by Sydney Balch off the air (or sometimes by her nickname, “Squid”). Balch is a sophomore social work major originally from Hudson, NH. Her stark pink and black hair matches her unconventional taste in music.

Balch mostly plays variations of rock music, including alternative, indie, and what some consider “underground.” She also plays music by local bands.

“I like to mix it up with hardcore music, but also really soft, more acoustic-y music. I like to put variation in my playlists,” she said. Listeners might hear artists such as Courtney Barnett, Sleater-Kinney,

Code Orange, Crying, and Tancred. Balch said she likes to play music by women artists. “I feel like they’re not mentioned enough, or really appreciated in the music scene, because it’s so dominated by males,” she said. “Especially in rock and hardcore music. I really love hearing women play music, because I feel like I connect with it more.”

Balch discovers a lot of her music through Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlists. “I find a lot of really cool bands that way,” she said.

Her show also features music by local musicians, including the band Rainsound (based in Lowell, MA) and the band Settler (Hudson and Marlborough, MA).

Almost every weekend, Balch attends local shows. She frequents UnchARTed, a music venue, art gallery, studio, café, and bar located in Lowell, MA. The shows are free. “I get to see a bunch of my friends play their music, and it’s a bunch of fun,” she said.

Balch was interested in WPCR, because she used to listen to her friends’ radio shows at UMass Lowell. “Along with being a lover of listening to music, I also really appreciate it a lot,andIwantthatasapartofmy life,” she said.

Her show’s late-night timeslot might discourage listeners, but it works for Balch. “I usually end up staying up that late anyway, so it’s actually kind of nice,” she said

Gaining a large audience isn’t Balch’s focus. She said the music has an importance to her. “It’s kind of like showing off a part of me.”

In the future, Balch hopes to get a masters degree in social work. She wants to work with inner city kids, especially in Lowell. She hopes to continue being involved with music, and maybe join a band.

Until then, Balch will spend her time watching “Grey’s Anatomy”, eating turkey sandwiches, sewing patches onto her jacket, and rocking out to some fantastic music.

Tune into her show, My Mom Said No, Tuesdays from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. at 91.7 WPCR. 

CLOCK PHOTO/SARAH LIEBOWITZ

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