The Day the Music Died: Manhattan College DJs Axed by Residence Life

Sept. 14 marked the end of a short-lived attempt to bring music to the masses, as the Manhattan College DJs were forced to cancel their tour early.

That Thursday, speakers facing out a 7th floor window in Lee Hall fell silent, much to the dismay of a large number of Manhattan students who had been regularly “tuning in” on their walks past Draddy Gymnasium.

“DJ Spaceman” and “DJ Supreme”, better known as sophomores Kyle Hollenbaugh and Peter Halliday respectively, were the brains behind the operation which garnered an impressive following over the course of its brief lifespan.

“It really started just because Peter has this crazy sound system hooked up,” said Hollenbaugh. “It didn’t start out with us putting the speakers out the window.”

Earlier in the semester the two would play music in their room, but their loudspeaker setup at the time often meant that sound would inadvertently travel outside their suite and into the nearby hallway.

“We got a couple complaints, [Residence Life] handled it pretty well,” said Halliday. “Our RAs are really nice people and they were like ‘just turn it down, be a nice neighbor,’ so we respected that obviously, turned the music down and kept it to a controlled level.”

The two later realized that orienting the speakers to face towards their window would prevent the sound from echoing in the hall. Not long after, people walking down the path between Lee Hall and Draddy Gymnasium began to hear music coming from the 7th floor dorm.

Hollenbaugh and Halliday started up their impromptu dorm DJ booth on Sept. 12., and as more students began to slow down to listen, some began to shout out song requests.

“We put up signs […] and a link to an Instagram page made to [direct message] song requests,” said Hollenbaugh.

The page, @manhattancollegedj, soon amassed over 40 followers, and messages began flooding in. The two would honor requests by playing music through YouTube and Spotify.

“Our last day we literally had to stay on our phone and sit there,” said Halliday, referring to the high volume of requests they were receiving, as small groups of students began to congregate by the fence outside the 7th floor room. “Some people were just hanging out there, [yelling] ‘play this song next!’”

Later that evening, they were instructed to stop operations by their RA Dan Sammon, who said that he had to respond “due to a noise violation.” Manhattan College DJ had been snuffed out after less than 48 hours of airplay.

Ironically, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird,” the iconic 1974 power ballad about having to leave one’s love to move onward, was the last request they received before shutting down.

“All good things must end,” read the caption of the team’s final instagram post. “It was good while it lasted but due to creative differences with the Lee residence life we are moving on to a new setting where we will have the creative liberties we require as artists. Farewell my brothers and sisters for this is the end.”

According to the Manhattan College Student Code of Conduct, “courtesy hours” are in effect 24 hours a day, 7 days a week within residence halls. While the two were not playing music during quiet hours, the noise levels emanating from their room were not considered to be “respectful of community living,” a violation which is usually handled via reprimand. Repeat offenses may result in suspension from dorming.

“It was all in good spirits, we didn’t think we were gonna last that long,” said Halliday.

The two continued to receive followers on their Instagram account and additional song requests for days. Many students were disappointed by the loss, not least of which were the DJs themselves.

“It was great, for the two days it was a lot of love, just people we don’t know, random people, everybody was making song requests, a lot of people were just jamming. We were watching people walk by and smile, it was a fun thing, ” said Hollenbaugh. “There’s not a lot of community and life on campus; people you don’t know, you don’t talk to, not much [is] happening. This was one of those things where you just saw people, […] it was cool, people were hanging out listening to music.”

“I just found it really cool when we were looking out and people were wearing headphones and walking by, [and] they would take their headphones off just to listen to the music,” said Halliday.

As of right now, the future of Manhattan College DJ seems dubious, but the spirit stirred up in short existence, as well as its impressive ability to reach hundreds of students in a matter of two days, is certainly promising.

“We might go mobile,” said Halliday as the two laughed.

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