As the clock hit 5 p.m. on Aug. 30, the voices of Leilani Martinez and Alina Nikitina crackled to life on WMUC 90.5 FM. Martinez introduced their first song, Rivers Cuomo’s “Longtime Sunshine,” and the show began.
The Weezer Wednesday radio show just entered its sixth year on the air, solidifying its position as the longest-running show from current students at WMUC. The current hosts, Martinez, a senior social data science major, and Nikitina, a senior computer science major, are relatively new to hosting the Weezer-centric hour.
Martinez became the new host of Weezer Wednesday last spring. She learned the ropes of the show from former host Mackenzie Martin, who was preparing to graduate. Nikitina, Martinez’s co-host on Supper’s Ready, the pair’s other WMUC show, joined this fall.
Allison Thompson, the show’s founder, broadcasted the first hour of Weezer Wednesday on May 23, 2018, wanting to have a “fun show to take a break from my usual stuff,” she said.
Thompson would go on to pass the show to Siddha Mavuram in spring 2019. Mavuram said he thought about creating a similar show before hearing about Weezer Wednesday, so he offered to take it over from Thompson upon her graduation before then passing it along to Martin.
“I was doing my first digital show, and then finishing up in the room over in the room over, finishing up, was [Mavuram],” Martin said. “I heard him playing a specific Weezer song called ‘Surf Wax America,’ and I kind of leapt up.”
For Martin, hosting the show continued her yearslong passion for Weezer. Members of the band, namely lead singer Cuomo, knew Martin as a fan long before she took up the mantle at WMUC. She jumped at the chance to host the long-running show as Mavuram ended his time at the university.
According to Martin, fans would listen to the show from outside of the United States via Mister Rivers’ Neighborhood, a Weezer chat room site run by Cuomo himself.
“I had a listener from Japan that would tune in, some from California, some from Ireland,” Martin said. “I had one listener in Santa Monica once and I like to think it was a member of the band, but obviously I have no idea.”
This fall, Martinez and Nikitina seek to take Weezer Wednesday in a new direction by featuring other bands and artists who draw inspiration from Weezer’s music or share similar musical characteristics with the band.
For Nikitina, the future of the radio show is a tribute not just to one of her favorite bands, but to the necessity of musical discovery and independent radio in an era where radio’s popularity is declining.
“Another thing to highlight is the importance of having a space where you can give anybody access to music that they might not necessarily have heard of in any other capacity,” Nikitina said.
As to why Weezer Wednesday has such great staying power at WMUC, Martinez and Nikitina can’t quite say. Martinez attributes the show’s success to the variety of Weezer’s decades-long career.
The duo hope to usher the show into its seventh year in 2024 and plan to pass it along to new talent in the spring.
“I think it’s cool that every one of the other hosts kind of has their own spin on it, and they add a new flavor to it every time,” Mavuram said.
Thompson, who graduated in spring 2019, said she is just as shocked that her creation has continued to live on after her time at WMUC, attaching her to a legacy even after graduating.
Martin said she also didn’t expect the show to last for as long as it did, but the former host said she is confident that Weezer Wednesday isn’t leaving its storied position at WMUC anytime soon.
“In theory, it’s surprising that it’s gone this long because it’s relatively niche to just one band,” Martin said. “But I have full faith that Leilani will pass it [on] and that legacy will keep going.”