By day, she’s a professor of Latin, but one night a week, Associate Professor of Classics Zoe Kontes becomes an indie rock guru. She hosts a radio show on WKCO 91.9 FM that takes place every Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m, and in a new addition to her longtime solo show, she has decided to team up with Rachel Mitchell ’16.
Kontes’ weekly show is called Dalliance, a reference to a song by the British rock band The Wedding Present. Kontes admires the band so much that she recently purchased a collection of their records, as well as a limited-edition comic book featuring the band members.
Mitchell has had a radio show throughout her time at Kenyon and took a Latin course with Kontes. They ran into each other over the summer in Philadelphia, where Kontes was working, and decided to combine their passion for radio into a joint show.
Mitchell said she’s enjoyed the experience of working with Kontes. “It’s so nice to have someone else on my show that takes it so seriously,” Mitchell said. “She has so much passion for the music and the radio.” The title of the show is In medias res, Latin for “in the middle of things.”
In medias res will take place at 6 p.m., replacing the first hour of Dalliance. Kontes’ show will then continue as scheduled until 8 p.m. They will continue to play indie rock music, but both Kontes and Mitchell will also conduct brief, one-minute lectures on topics of their choice to break up their music and allow both to talk about anything on their minds that particular day.
Kontes’ passion for radio and indie rock dates back to her own college days. She had a radio show as an undergraduate at Bowdoin College. “I loved being on the radio in college, so when I got here, I signed up [for a show] my second semester of teaching,” Kontes said. She has consistently been on the airwaves since 2008.
Her show at Bowdoin exclusively focused on indie rock and was called Sludgefest an homage to a song by the indie rock band Dinosaur Jr. Kontes has also routinely attended music festivals, particularly when she was on sabbatical last year in Philadelphia. She plans on seeing Kurt Vile, a solo indie rock performer, over October break.
Although she sticks to playing indie rock, each show she airs tends towards a particular theme. Sometimes she just plays new music, or will focus a show on a particular band she’s been listening to that week. Kontes is a huge basketball fan and once played a song for every team participating in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament according to the order in which they were eliminated.
“I spend many hours planning my radio show,” Kontes said. “It’s two hours every week that I absolutely look forward to. My friends listen all over the world, so it’s about connecting to my students and my friends everywhere.” One of her friends, a scientist researching in Antarctica, routinely listens to her show and even calls in from the icy continent.