Each Friday after chapel, campus is filled from the apartments to the art building by music blaring from the third floor of Colenbrander Hall.
Although Heemstra Hall was torn down over a year ago, the community it housed lives on in the two Heemstra wings, 3rd West and 3rd North, on the third floor of Colenbrander Hall.
These wings have carried over many of the traditions from their predecessor across the Green.
Every Friday after chapel through most of the morning and afternoon, a large stereo blasts an eclectic mix of songs across campus.
Northwestern students can enjoy a wide array of styles and genres, ranging from Disney musical numbers to hip-hop to the latest pop songs.
Freshman Rachelle Cole spoke for many students when she said, “I think it’s fun and enjoyable. It adds more excitement to Fridays.”
The legend of this particular Heemstra tradition is shrouded in mystery. Cloudy details make it difficult to tell a flawless tale about the origins of h* Radio.
Although the identities of the men involved are unknown, one rendition of the radio’s genesis starts one winter, when a few former Heemstrites blasted beach music from their dorm room. In the midst of the boppy songs, they announced the current weather in Hawaii.
Another legend is that a group of guys in Heemstra merely played music out their window to drown out the Christmas music which students can expect every Yuletide season from Zwemer Hall.
“This could have happened as many as 12 years ago,” said Tyler “Meerkat” McKenney. “All I know is that the h* Radio has been around as long as I’ve been at Northwestern.”
Whether the radio originated during that frigid day at the beach or over frustration at Christmas carols, h* Radio has continued to evolve.
“Back in Heemstra Hall, room 315 was held responsible for h* Radio,” said Justin “Gooch” Karmann. “It was a three-man room.”
In the old Heemstra building, a large whiteboard hung outside of room 315 where people could write requests for that week. The members of 315 would then compile a playlist to leave on throughout the day.
“We tend to play good music that we enjoy,” said Bryent “Scrappy” Slagter with a smile, “but in all honesty, we love it when people make requests.”
In order to make it onto the playlist, you will need to go to the new custodians of h* Radio.
Michael “Rip Van Winkle” Gutsche, and brothers, Bob “Rajah” and Matthew “Gadget” Latchaw live in 3rd West Coly, room 301. These three have inherited the task of managing h* Radio.
“We’ve been alternating between the three of us, so usually one guy is in charge of the playlist per week,” Rajah said. “It would be a lot harder to come up with a list of songs without requests.”
Rajah wants students to know that they can submit nearly any song they like.
“We aren’t restricted to themes,” he said, “but last week I made it easier on myself by putting together a 60-song Disney playlist.”
The three expressed that they also act as gatekeepers of a sort. They filter out any swearing, vulgar themes or Rebecca Black.
Ever since the YouTube video of Black’s song “Friday” went viral last year, pranksters have tried to get the anthem played on h* Radio.
Although the saboteurs have been successful from time to time, it has never been included in the original playlist.
Most other songs are fair game. Students who are interested in getting their favorite songs played all over campus can help Gutsche and the Latchaw brothers compile the weekly playlist by visiting their Facebook page at facebook.com/hstarradio and posting their request.
This unplanned tradition has continued to broadcast, even as its prime central location was demolished last year. Students can expect h* Radio broadcasts for some time to come.
“h* Radio is just like a hot dog,” said cafe worker Ethan “Cockpit” Kleinwolterink. “You’re not really sure what’s inside, but you just know it’s going to be good.”