Joy Verner’s ‘Generation Jones’ Does It Old School
by Michelle Simmons
June 29, 2010
Joy Verner, assistant to the vice president for student development, channels Generation Jones for her listeners every Wednesday at noon, using her own CD collection. “It’s whatever I owned in 1994—that’s the joke,” she says.
It’s five minutes to noon, and Joy Verner is frantically digging through her canvas tote for her Melissa Etheridge greatest-hits CD. She finds the case, flips it open, gently plops the disc into one of the three CD players arrayed before her and presses the forward button to “Similar Features.” The song begins, exactly at noon.
“I’m old school,” Verner says, adjusting her headphones. “I use only CDs. Most students plug into their laptop or iPod. I’m still pretty prehistoric on that.” Verner’s day job is as assistant to the vice president for student development. But on Wednesdays, from noon to 1 p.m., she is host of “Generation Jones” on WDCV, a quirky show that features women artists from the ’70s to the ’90s, punctuated by stream-of-consciousness commentaries on her busy life.
Verner clears her throat several times, flicks a switch. Her smooth contralto fills the air.
“WDCV, 88.3 FM at Dickinson College,” she begins. “That was none other than Melissa Etheridge. She’s the feature of this hour, simply because I was running late and had to do a couple of things, and my bracelet is jingling in the microphone. … We’re going to be featuring things from a compilation. See, that’s a sneaky way of getting in different eras of music when you’re on a tight timeline and you changed cars this morning, and the disc you really wanted to feature today is in the other car. Does that ever happen to you? If you identify with me, raise your hands and get down with Disappear Fear. Generation Jones—the hour of power for old people.”
Verner removes her headphones and turns to her visitor. “Generation Jones is the generation between boomers and Generation X,” she explains. “I was going to call my show ‘Old Lady Music,’ which just isn’t going to work. All I had was what I had bought, which doesn’t really represent an era or generation—it just represents me. One day I did only Indigo Girls, and for two shows I did only disco, which I got from the [Waidner-Spahr] library.”
A former speech-communications major at Edinboro University, Verner started in radio as an undergraduate and did a stint with local Christian radio station WJTL. In the early ’90s, while pursuing her master’s in counseling, she interned at Dickinson and hosted her first WDCV show. She went on to work at LaSalle University, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and the City of Harrisburg. When she returned to Dickinson in 2008, she knew that she wanted to get back on the air.
Verner shifts to the mic. “WDCV. Yes, we’re still here, Generation Jonesers. Right now, we’re going to ride that wave with something from the best dance album of 1994. This is a little something to get you moving in your office chair, ’cause the day’s halfway done.”
Already, the hour is winding down. “We have to get another Melissa in for sure; I’ve only done two. We’ll do one more song and end with Melissa,” she says, cradling the CD in her hand.
“Radio is my wellness, like my Qigong class. I’m not going to buy equipment; I’m not going to DJ weddings. This is a fun thing to do, just to see if I can still do it. Where else but on a college campus can you say, ‘Can I do a radio show basically playing my stuff?’ And they’re like, ‘Yeah, whatever.’ ”
To learn more about WDCV, read "No Static at All."