She makes a living in marketing, not the music business. But every step of Chelsea Norton’s post-UI career — from PR chair for the Twin City Roller Girls to her current gig, directing marketing and communications for the Champaign Park District — can be traced back to a one-of-a-kind stint playing music on 107.1 FM.
“I spent a lot of time in WPGU’s fishbowl studio on Green Street as a student. Being a part of the WPGU family was truly life-changing and led me to where I am today,” says the Gies College of Business grad (BBA ’09, marketing).
“I was already passionate about different types of music — from punk to indie to alternative rock and more — but WPGU was an outlet to express that and curate my own show to have a safe space on campus to be myself.
“I met a lot of interesting people that opened up my world view during my time there, important connections that helped me shape what I wanted to do with my marketing degree when I graduated. I joined a radio program that is still going 13 years later, although now on WEFT and joined by my husband and kids, met a ton of musicians, joined roller derby, and found a connection to this community that I never expected.
“I even landed a job at Champaign Park District doing exactly what I love because of my connections through WPGU.
“Mushy stuff aside, there were some hilarious times there. I often worked late-night DJ shifts and the view of Green Street from that window was so entertaining. I remember numerous Halloween nights with students in wild costumes dancing past the studio glass.
“I once had a person request ‘Purple Rain’ — an eight-minute song — by holding a note up to the window sometime around 3 a.m. It wasn’t necessarily the format at that time, but you can bet I played it and that he stood outside happily dancing and singing throughout the entire tune.
“I appreciated the chance to make my own space on campus through WPGU and will be a lifetime believer in radio because of it.”