WINTER 2009
Vol. 39, No. 3
 
FEATURES
Table of Contents
 
Column: Eye on Isla Vista
By Emily Einolander
  UC Santa Barbara Keeping Focus on Students During Economic Downturn By Rob Kuznia
  Transforming the Alumni Association Web Site into a Gateway By Andrea Huebner '91
  Gear Up for the 2009 All Gaucho Reunion in April
  Alumni Association Awards to Honor Gauchos Giving Back
  UCSB Alumni Association Annual Report 2007-2008
 
DEPARTMENTS
  Editor’s Note:
Defining Success for the New President
  Research Roundup:
Scholar Examines Global Trade of TV Shows
  Around Storke Tower:
News & Notes From the Campus
  Sports Roundup:
’78 and ’79 Cross Country Teams Honored
  Alumni Authors:
Food, Drink and Politics
  Milestones:
’50s to the Present
   
COVER
  Julie Ramos ’03 is one of the voices behind KTYD’s The Morning Show in Santa Barbara.

Cover photo by Alexandria Cooper
 
ADVERTISING RATES
COASTLINES HOME
ALUMNI HOME
On the right frequency
Radio personality Julie Ramos, ’03, dials up college lessons at KTYD
By Starshine Roshell

There are things you can’t learn in a classroom. Like how to do a live broadcast from inside the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile. Or how to keep calm when Jakob Dylan sings to you, alone, in a sound booth. No professor can prepare you for the moment when, during a live “face your fears” segment, someone drops a snake in your lap.

But it was, in fact, a freshman writing class at UC Santa Barbara that launched the radio career of Santa Barbara radio personality Julie Ramos.
The former Gaucho co-hosts the popular KTYD Morning Show at 99.9 FM. Thousands of listeners tune in between 6 and 10 a.m. every weekday to hear the affable, smooth-piped Ramos deliver the day’s news, announce contests and banter with fellow DJs David Perry and Hayseed between classic rock tunes.
“I love what I do, and I want it to be good,” says Ramos, class of ‘03. “But I never thought I’d do this as a career. It was: I’m in college, this is fun, I’ll do it for a while and then get a real job.”

A self-described bookworm and theater geek who sang in the high-school choir, the Sacramento native wasn’t sure where she wanted to go to college — until the moment she saw UC Santa Barbara.

“It’s what I thought a college campus should look like,” she says. “I couldn’t even believe a place like this existed.”

She planned to study theater, but the classes filled up faster than she could enroll. She switched to film studies, but found the focus too theoretical for her taste. She wound up majoring in psychology. “I loved studying how the mind works, and how people interact with each other,” says Ramos, 30. “My psychology studies play a huge role in my everyday life. Having a general interest in people and their lives has helped me connect with my audience.”

She had an assignment freshman year to write about an interesting career. Intrigued by the idea of broadcast journalism, she called the local alternative radio station KJEE and got an interview with a DJ. It led to an internship there, then a receptionist job, and she began to learn the business of radio.
One day, the afternoon DJ had to leave the studio for an hour, and asked her to fill in. “He’s like, ‘Here’s the microphone button, here’s the on and off.’ And he left. He was gone,” says Ramos — who found the experience thrilling. “I loved it. In a way, it’s kind of like performing, except nobody can see you. And I love the control, pushing buttons. It’s cool doing different mixes, tapping into that creative side.”

Ramos’ musical tastes span the radio dial.
“My iPod is crazy,” she says. Her all-time favorite artists are U2 and Stevie Wonder but, “I love Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix. I love the really heavy Metallica. But I’m sorry, I love me some Celine Dion, I don’t care what anybody says.”
Ramos is the same in real life as she is on the air: vivacious and unpretentious, curious and compassionate. But her sultry voice belies her girl-next-door personality.

“I grew up a tomboy. I have an older brother and a lot of cousins,” says Ramos, whose mother died of breast cancer when she was only 2. “I’ve never been good at being girly. I don’t know how. Don’t ask me about any fashion advice or stylish haircuts, ‘cause I don’t know!”

At home in her apartment, she likes to hole up in her pajamas and bake, read or watch “Law & Order.” But outside those walls, a fierce competitive spirit has spurred her into boxing, sparring and running a half-marathon. “I get so motivated,” she says. “When I decide to do something, it’s on.”

But when KTYD came a-calling in 2004, inviting her to co-host its popular drive-time show, she had no idea what she was in for.

“Morning radio is a completely different monster!” she says. On weeknights, Ramos has to be in bed by 9 p.m. so she can leave for work by 4 a.m. On the upside, she doesn’t have to look glamorous when she gets there! “I brush my teeth, throw on a hat and I’m out the door,” she confesses.

Before sunrise, she’s in KTYD’s small Eastside studio, scanning the news wires for interesting stories and writing briefs to read on the air. During the show, she checks for breaking news and traffic reports as she chats with callers.

After five years on the Morning Show, Ramos is still surprised when fans recognize her voice around town. “The other day I got recognized at Nordstrom,” she says, “and I was buying bras and panties.”

She doesn’t feel like a celebrity. And she certainly doesn’t act like one. “I’m still shocked every single day,” she says, “at what I do.”

The radio career of Julie Ramos, a co-host of KTYD’s The Morning Show in Santa Barbara, was sparked by an assignment in a UC Santa Barbara freshman writing class.


Photo Credit: Alexandria Cooper/Coastlines