JJSHS sophomore Isaac Cochran hosts Monday night program on KCHW
By Brandon Hansen/Chewelah Independent
Every Monday night you can tune into KCHW for both new and old country music.
What you might not know is Jenkins Junior Senior High School sophomore Isaac Cochran is the one running the show.
Having known KCHW’s Scott Schlafman since he was about 8 years old, Cochran has always been interested in radio and now he’s a year and a half into running his own show — Cougar Country — from 6-8 p.m. on Mondays.
“Scott moved in next to us in Chewelah and he was always messing around with sound and radio equipment and he eventually let me stand outside and hold antennas and whatnot when he was testing things out,” Cochran said.
Cochran was eventually let on KCHW’s morning show and then he also scored a year-long internship with the radio station. There he learned what it took for board operation, programming and video production.
Then Schlafman gave Cochran the chance to run his own show with the programming being country.
“I was excited since country and hip-hop are my thing,” Cochran said.
It started as Monday Night Country but made a change to Cougar Country since he attends JJSHS. While he says it was a learning process from the beginning he’s felt more and more comfortable the longer the show goes.
“Once you stop worrying about things going wrong, you can focus more on things like programming and what you’re doing in between songs,” Cochran said.
So every Monday night, the high school student gets a ride with his parents or walks/bikes to the radio station to do his show. While it’s all volunteer work since it’s a public radio station, Cochran spends about 10 hours a week on preparing and broadcasting.
“The biggest thing is you have to decide what to talk about and also what to play that will appeal to a wide range of people,” Cochran said.
Cochran tries to get the twangy country we all grew up on, along with the new country music with bands like Florida Georgia Line. He loads up his phone with 750 songs to listen to and decide if it’s acceptable for broadcast. The station’s own country music folder has swelled to an impressive 10 gigabytes worth of data.
“I have heard a lot of positive feedback from people that listen to the show and I also have a friend in England that listens weekly and there it’s like 1 a.m. in the morning,” Cochran said.
Between listening and choosing songs, Cochran also has to come up with content between songs which include community calendar events, Public Service Announcements and banter about the songs and country artists themselves.
It’s a tall order for a high schooler who is also getting an education, running cross country, working as the high school’s part-time PA announcer and basketball team’s manager. He also throws in biking, FFA and being a Boy Scouts. The Chewelah Independent is suspecting that Cochran actually might be two different people.
“I just have to make it work and be honest with everybody,” Cochran said. “I have to communicate with my teachers and Scott with what I can do.”
Cochran is also a member of the Naval Cadets program and plans to join the U.S. Navy two years from now. For now though, he’s found a pretty nice spot on Mondays.
“It’s super chill in here and it’s a good spot for me to be here along listening to good music, doing school work and making people happy with playing music,” Cochran said.
He said it’s been really rewarding seeing the radio station grow, get better equipment and really bloom into an important source of media for the town and county.
“It’s been awesome to see it grow from a garage to a full power station,” Cochran said. “We’ve had a lot of support from the community and a lot of volunteers. And Scott. Scott is the reason we’re here.”
Cochran added he’s had fun doing live broadcasts from Chataqua and conversing with listeners who call in to request their favorite songs. So if you want to tune in to the youngest DJ in the state, check out Isaac Cochran’s Cougar Country on KCHW every Monday evening.