Keepin’ It Chill at WPRK

Station manager Maria Gutierrez ’16—aka the voice of Daft Chillin’ with Paz—discusses WPRK and explains the etymology of her radio show.

(Photo by Scott Cook) (Photo by Scott Cook)

Maria Gutierrez ’16 worked her way up from a DJ—well, technically she still holds that gig—to the top student post at WPRK, managing the more—dare we say—mundane daily aspects of Rollins’ thriving indie basement radio station.

On Tuesdays from noon to 2 p.m., however, Gutierrez really gets to let her hair down. That’s when she hosts Daft Chillin’ with Paz, spinning a selection of music the station describes as “most likely (being) curated by your really cool Colombian grandparents who spent most of their life traveling the world extensively on the hunt for records.”

How’s that for different?

Gutierrez, who’s majoring in international affairs at the Hamilton Holt School, transferred from Valencia College after receiving her associate’s degree. A native of Cali, Colombia, she immigrated to the U.S. at age 7 and has lived in Orlando for the past 10 years. At WPRK, she manages a staff of 12 and oversees a station that includes more than 80 live shows and 120 DJs.

Rob Humphreys: So, right off the bat, I’m curious to know the story behind your show. How did you come up with the name?

Maria Gutierrez: I wanted each word to embody things that are very personal to me. Daft came from Daft Punk, which is a band I’ve liked since elementary school. Chillin’ because I listen to music to relax, and I’m hoping that my music can do that for listeners. Paz is my middle name, which means “Peace” in Spanish.

RH: What’s a typical day like for you as station manager at WPRK? 

MG: A typical day would probably mean meeting up with the programming director, Carter Richard, where we try to fill slots for radio shows. Then I meet with the music event coordinator, Jonny Scoblionko ’16, to iron out the details of Fox Fest, our annual music festival. At some point, I sit down with general manager Greg Golden ’11 to update him on the development of each staff member’s projects. In the midst of all that, I’m responding to emails and attending any events where we want to establish the station’s presence. It changes a lot!

RH: Where might we find WPRK in the community? And what major events do you have coming up?

MG: As far as off-campus events, WPRK’s Community Advisory Council occasionally does community “get-togethers” where we have DJs play music and where people can come out to meet the staff and their favorite show hosts. Also, we use this opportunity to raise funds for the station. We’re still in the midst of setting in stone the details of our next event, but we encourage people to go to our Facebook page so we can keep them updated. As far as major events, Marco Benevento is coming January 15, and Fox Fest is tentatively going to take place the first to second week of April.

RH: Got any crazy radio stories?

MG: One of my favorites is when I was DJing. I played Herbie Hancock’s “I Thought It Was You” off his album Sunlight and announced that my staff members and I were going to dance to it. As soon as I hit play, four staff members and I blasted the speakers and started dancing to this 9-minute-long song. Good times.

RH: What are your plans after graduation? Want to stay in the broadcast business? 

MG: I would love to stay in the broadcast business, specifically working for NPR. Ideally, I would like to work more with the creative side of NPR, creating podcasts that have an investigative journalism angle.