LINWOOD — Mainland Regional High School football coach Chuck Smith is normally putting together his play book for the Mustangs, but recently he traded his play book for a play list as he was a guest disc jockey on the Sirius XM E Street channel, where it’s all Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.
Smith said he loves all kinds of music, rock, R&B, punk and alternative, but said being a huge Springsteen fan, he will often find himself listening to The Boss.
After an ad for the “Be the Boss” guest DJ gig on the E Street channel, Smith decided to give it a try.
“It was about a two-month process from the application to getting accepted to DJ,” said Smith. It was a two-hour slot that aired for a week at various times. Smith said filling in the content for the two-hour show was not difficult. The E Street channel provided the outline and he filled in the content.
While it was Smith’s first time spinning his favorite artist on Sirius XM, he does know his way around a microphone. Smith teaches the TV Production classes at Mainland and that includes the radio station, The Stang WMRH-LP 101.7 FM and Channel 97 on Comcast with Horseshoe Productions-The Mainland Channel. Smith has been teaching media production since 1992 and the radio station was launched in 2006. He said it was a learning process from the start, working with Federal Communication Commission regulations and teaching students about radio broadcasting.
Smith has seen Bruce and the E Street Band more than 30 times, the first being at Veterans Stadium in 1985 for the “Born in the USA” tour. His favorite concerts and venues?
Smith said, “All the shows are great, from his performances with the E Street Band to his solo shows. I loved the Amnesty International Tour back in 1988 but I have been fortunate to see him twice at the Asbury Park Convention Center for rehearsal shows. One for The Rising tour and again for the Seeger Sessions. It is a great, intimate venue on the boardwalk.” Smith said “Thunder Road” is his all-time favorite, with its four plus minutes of singing without a break.
A Jersey guy, Springsteen has many New Jersey references in his music.
“His songs carry a lot of meaning, from being young and trying to figure things out, to growing up and facing adult problems. Many of his songs and albums inspire the blue-collar mentality of New Jersey, with the aid of landmarks with Jersey connections like the beach, boardwalk and streets,” Smith said. “Music is a great forum to hit emotions, dreams and memories. As we get older, music provides a time stamp of periods of our life.”
Smith did not have the luxury of doing his “Be the Boss” Sirius XM show in front of a giant mixing board; he did it from his Northfield home with his phone. He recorded the story portion and emailed it to Sirius. He gave them his song list and they edited them in with his story/studio segments.
For Smith, the success of his E Street broadcast was anchored around being authentic and personal when talking about the music. He said he tries to bring that feeling out with media production students.
“I truly want them to enjoy the experience. It can be intimidating when they first enter the studio and see the massive mixing board. But they get to create their own playlist and have fun. This is the goal of any of the programs in our Media Production — have fun while learning.”
As Smith explained, his family is spread all over the country, and it was a lot of fun for a cousin to be listening to the “Be the Boss” segment from his condo in Florida and another at home with family in Lancaster.
“It was an awesome experience,” said the teacher and Mustang football head coach. He said that he even met his wife after camping out for tickets to see Springsteen at Madison Square Garden and added that now, three beautiful daughters later, his oldest daughter Brianna Smith has attended many Bruce Springsteen concerts with her dad.
Check out The Stang WMRH-LP 101.7 FM, and keep an ear out for some Springsteen tunes from the students in Smith’s Media Production class, a new generation of fans of New Jersey’s favorite son, Bruce Springsteen.