In a small room that manages to beat out the size of a closet by just a few feet, LPs adhere to the walls as decorative relics — a throwback to the heyday of turntables and a musical inception that transformed the world. Trendy concert leaflets hang close by to reinforce the rock “vibe” the studio attempts to emulate. A black micro-refrigerator sits in the corner, accompanied by a white piece of paper with a warning — the heading reads: “Rules of the Fridge”. But to Cody Scott and his partner J.D. Keith, who hit Norse Code Radio (NCR) air- waves every week with hard rock riffs, amplified heavy metal music and a mosh-pit of banter, rules of any kind — refrigerator etiquette or otherwise — don’t seem to apply.
“Yeah, we don’t have a formula or rule for what we talk about or play on the show,” J.D. says. “We just try to keep it on the subject of music and humor and wherever else it takes us. And if that doesn’t work, we throw a song on. Isn’t that right, Cody?” J.D. says. He’s looking to his right where his partner is fixed and perusing the Internet in silence.
“I’m not sure if my hearing aides are working today,” J.D. adds as he adjusts his head- phones, letting out a chuckle.
“You ready or what, Cody?”
“Yeah, let’s do it,” Cody replies, reaching for his mic, his eyes still fixated on the computer screen. J.D. swings his chair a quarter-turn, faces the monitor and pushes a button that makes a beeline for the airwaves, transforming the glorified closet into a music hub.
“This is Noise Pollution with Cody and J.D.!” Cody exclaims in tandem with the show’s intro song by AC/DC, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution.” The two-hour show, which airs on Wednesdays and Sundays, thrives on a hearty dose of streaming conversation between the duo, consisting of endless one-liners and mocking comebacks, only to be broken up by their distinctive musical lineup that inadvertently bridges the chasm between the very massive noise of artists like Black Sabbath and AC/DC, with the rock-legend sound of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
“J.D. brings the music in on his computer and I usually choose what to play,” Cody says.
“But you won’t find much discrimination when it comes to music. We try and play a little of everything.”
The variety of sound fits easily with the mixed-bag personality traits the two 19-year-olds bring to the mics. Cody, as the long-haired, head-banging half, delivers a knack for deadpan sarcasm and dry wit, while J.D., touting an aptitude for self-deprecating humor and a gift for the gab, initiates a hodgepodge of topics, gallivanting across uncanny takes on Internet sites, such as the world’s worst inventions, to delving into stranger realms, such as the ill-effects of Thalidomide on babies, and why Cody only owns a total of seven shirts.
“Their two personalities are unique,” says Michael Willis, freshman communications major and host of NCR’s, On the Mic with Mike, “It’s the situational humor that makes them hilarious to listen to.”
But the matchless rapport of Noise Pollution didn’t surface overnight. Although the show debuted this semester, their on-air dynamic — which features hard music, fast conversation and a multitude of guests — has been years in the making, going well beyond the confines of the studio. The pair met while attending Ryle High School, both growing up fairly close in Union, Ky. This allowed Cody to stay over at J.D.’s house often, becoming like a son to his parents.
“Yeah, his parents often tell me that I’m their favorite son,” Cody reveals with a short-lived smirk, dissolving into a straight face. J.D. reaches for the computer mouse, queuing up an Iron Maiden song to intentionally ignore his counterpart. As the guitarist breaks out into a solo, he pounds his hands in rhythm against the armrests until seconds before the song comes to an end.
“What do you want to talk about next, there, Cody?”
“Anything but sports or politics,” Cody responds.
The song reaches its end, giving way to the “on-air” signal. “So, how about them Reds on opening day, Cody?” J.D. says, stifling another chuckle with the back of his hand. The strange brew argue the facts on almost every topic, taking each opportunity to give the other a good ribbing. They can’t even assemble on common ground when it comes to their age.
“That’s because I’m older,” Cody says in hopes of provoking.
“Older by what? Oh, wow, two whole months,” J.D. mockingly replies. “It’s the same age.”
“Yeah, I know — but I’m still older,” Cody proudly replies as if he’s won a victory, even if of the small variety. Such is the antagonistic formula of Noise Pollution, any topic is fair game in terms of argument and commentary.
But for a show that seems to work, it almost never made it off the ground. It was while attending Thomas More College — where J.D.’s currently a freshman majoring in secondary education — that he realized the school lacked a radio station.
“I knew I wanted to do something with radio. So, I e-mailed the manager at Norse Code as a shot in the dark to request information,” J.D. says.
Kaira Simmons, the station manager, e-mailed back within the hour, J.D. says, informing him of the opportunity to create a show, but there was one stipulation of having a co-DJ who attends NKU. Cody — a long-time friend, rock bandmate and a freshman computer science major at NKU — was the natural choice for J.D.
“The first show was hard,” Cody says. “But as we learned the equipment, and how we’re able to bounce off each other, the show got better,” he says. “Even if we do run out of things to talk about or don’t totally agree on everything.”
But as much as these dynamic DJs part ways on any number of topics, they seem to agree on one thing: music.
“I like playing music to affect people and impact their lives,” J.D. says. “I think we both do. If we can’t do it on stage in our band, radio’s the next best thing.”
Story by Jeremy Jackson