by: Mari Frank
Ziba is one of the first DJ's I met over four years ago when I came to train at KUCI. She was terrific then as she is now. One of the crucial requirements of DJ training is interning with experienced DJs to practice the skills that you learn from the required class and workbook. Just as in any new endeavor, it's critical to practice with a mentor before you are left on your own. Even though Lloyd and I knew we wanted to do a public affairs show, we also needed to intern on music shows. Ziba volunteered to take on us "old geezers." Since I am old enough to be her mom (my own daughter is a student at UCI), I was concerned that she would treat us as different ... uncool, but in fact she was warm, engaging, professional and eager to
help us to learn, which we did. She didn't laugh at our mistakes, but instead instructed us calmly and expertly. Since then, we always enjoy seeing her at meetings and at the studio. She's had a great show for eight years and has given of her time and energy to the KUCI family. Presently she is serving many hours as the Music Librarian on the KUCI Staff. If you don't know Ziba or haven't heard her show, tune in on Thursdays from 4- 5 PM on KUCI 88.9 FM or kuci.org and check out her website with interviews and band videos at kuci.org/zmradio.
Mari: Tell us how you came to KUCI?
Ziba: April 22, 2000, is when I first was introduced to KUCI. I was at the Earth day festival in Fullerton where I saw a booth for the college radio station which was handing out programs and informed me that I too could become a DJ. I was starting my first year at UCI later that September and wanted to find a way to keep involved with music while in a college science major. That year I remembered to tune in to 88.9 FM from campus on the weekends. I heard a show I loved co-hosted by a guy and a girl called "Less Talk More Rawk." They had interviewed Hey Mercedes (one of my favorite bands) as a guest on their show!
Mari: What's the name of your show and how did you decide on that name?
Ziba: I started training that winter and had my first show "Cannel Z" that spring at 3 a.m. I took a break while I studied in Mexico one summer (2002), so when I came back I had to re-apply. It was a hard time for me in school so I thought a co-host would work better. I met up with Minh at that point and we created "ZM Radio" as it is known today. It was to stand for our initials together Ziba+Minh=ZM . ZM could be used as an alternative to FM or AM radio, ZM radio.
Mari: How long have you had your show?
Ziba: I've been on the air for more than 8 years now. When Minh graduated, she left radio to pursue her career off campus (circa 2004) and I stayed on campus as staff at the UCI library, so I also continued to DJ on KUCI.
Mari: What is your show's website?
Ziba: It's kuci.org/zmradio Creating this website introduced me to the wonderful world of html way back when.
Mari: can see from your website that you have interviewed many musicians. Who was your favorite and why?
Ziba: One of my most recent favorite musicians was El Ten Eleven from this summer's Orange County Performing Art's Pinback show. El Ten Eleven are these great guys that evolved from math rock to almost electro instrumentals, yet nothing is pre-programmed. It's all live and full of energy. They really put on a show! You can see more about them and the interview at my website. I have an archive up online if you'd like to take a listen.
Mari: Tell us about the music you play on your show.
Ziba: It's music for work, study, and play-for the underground music lovers of all time. I call it an eclectic mix but it tends to be more indie. You can hear anything from electro, math-rock, space-rock, shoe gaze, garage-rock, rpm and more! I try to make the show to be known as a freeform music show because when I get a request I play it if I can find it in our music library. I had a listener request a really cool reggae song recently that was called "Guess Who's coming to Dinner" which I thought was funny because I had just learned about that movie in 70s American Cinema class (I'm a film major at UCI now,going back for my second bachelors). So anything goes!
Mari: How has KUCI changed since you first had your show?
Ziba: KUCI has a lot of stable shows that are still here from when I began. Moses Motorbike for example was a DJ I listened to Mondays when I first started training here; he always plays a very eclectic set which I enjoy while keeping up with the new releases. But there are a lot of great new shows too. I'd say we are making more of an effort to attract new DJ's and participate in community and more UCI events.
Mari: Describe the format of your show.
Ziba: I currently have a one hour time-slot from 4-5pm Thursdays so I try not to talk too much.
Mari: Who is your ideal listener?
Ziba: Anyone willing to call in and make a request-specially if it's from a band I love.
Mari: You've taken on the role of Music Librarian at KUCI. What does that entail?
Ziba: It entails organizing the music library with help from the KUCI staff. We get new releases added to the station every week thanks to our music director and genre assistants. So it's my job to keep it all together and easy to find (which is a great challenge!)
Mari: What do you like best about that position and being involved in KUCI?
Ziba: I love working with all the different sections of the whole library so that I might run into a band I didn't know we had or a genre I wouldn't think of playing until I had to help organize it! KUCI is a great place to be involved in because it's always changing every quarter and you get to meet a lot of great people with similar interests.
Mari: What effect do you think your music has on the KUCI community?
Ziba: I'd like to think the music I play on my show gives the KUCI community something to say: "Oh, I like that song too!" to or "Hey, that sounds cool. Who is that group?!" I've had those thoughts myself while listening to other KUCI shows, so I hope that my listeners will be excited by what I play too!
Mari: You were wonderful to Lloyd and me when we interned your show four years ago- What do you like about having interns?
Ziba: Thank you! I enjoyed having you both. Wow, was it really that long ago? It seems like yesterday. I love being able to be one of the first people to introduce eager radio minds to the KUCI studios hands-on. I remember I was so excited to get into KUCI that I interned on Evan Simon's Public Affair's show as well as Rob Roy's music show to get a sense of it all.
Mari: What would you like to see happen in the future at KUCI?
Ziba: I'd love to see KUCI expand our horizons into the community on campus as well as off. I still think not enough people know we exist! One of my favorite things was DJing live at KUCI booths we'd set up at OCC in the past.
Mari: What are your dreams for your future and radio?
Ziba: I hope to continue college radio for as long as I work on campus. I'd love to continue bringing in live bands and share my music interests as well as grow from others.
Mari: How has KUCI affected your life?
Ziba: My experience at KUCI turned me from a biology student to a film and media student!
Mari: Thank you, Ziba, for your wonderful show and for all the great work you do at KUCI. If you want to check out cool indie music listen to Ziba's ZM Radio Thursdays from 4-5 PM and check out her website at kuci.org/zmradio
Mari Frank is a local attorney and the host of Privacy Piracy, which airs every Wednesday from 5-6 PM on KUCI. She also presents the weekly public service announcements called “Orange County News and Safety Tips” sharing important safety reminders from our local Orange County sheriff.