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Radio Girl

Sixteen-year-old Keili Hamilton is the youngest D.J. in WFMU’s history. Her show, “Beastin’ the Airwaves!,” is broadcast live on Sundays at three in the morning.

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I’ve loved music since I was in my mom’s tummy, dancing to Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana, and PJ Harvey. As a kid, I had such a tight obsession with certain songs my dad made a two-song tape: “Ain’t Nuthin’ But a She Thing,” by Salt-N-Pepa, and “Baby It’s You,” by the Shirelles. I would sit there and be like, “Again! Again!”

My friends growing up were doing stuff in this new DIY all-ages scene. I e-mailed WFMU off-the-cuff with an idea for a show about that, and after a listener hour and two auditions, they gave me a Sunday-Monday overnight slot.

I would spend the whole weekend preparing—asking bands to send their music, making the playlist, preparing everything I wanted to say. Then I would go to sleep at 6 p.m. and wake up at 1, so I wouldn’t be a zombie. The show would end at 6 a.m., and I’d go straight to school.

Now I’m on Sunday mornings, three to six. There’s something so awesome about being up that late. It’s morning in Europe, and my biggest audience is there. Once during a listener fund-raising marathon I got a $3,000 pledge over the Internet from this guy Frederic from France. He said, “One night I asked you how you came to be who you are and you said, ‘I was raised by atheist punks.’ That comment made me love you. I set my alarm to listen to your show, and I haven’t set my alarm since before you were born.” How awesome is that!

Have good intel? Send tips to intel@nymag.com.

As told to Alexis Swerdloff.

Hamilton’s show this Sunday features a live performance by the band Knyfe Hyts.


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