Swaggnation lights up the airwaves at WRCT | Pittsburgh City Paper

Swaggnation lights up the airwaves at WRCT

The months-old hip-hop show has snagged interviews with rappers like Snoop Dogg

Swaggnation hosts Swagg (left) and DJ Goodnight
Swaggnation hosts Swagg (left) and DJ Goodnight

When it comes to the good old-fashioned radio dial, the place to turn for the latest local and national hip hop -- not to mention exclusive interviews with artists like Waka Flocka and Styles P -- isn't up the dial on one of the corporate-owned stations. It's the weekly Swaggnation show on Carnegie Mellon University's WRCT 88.3 FM.

Swaggnation, hosted by the team of DJ Goodnight and Swagg, has been around only a few months, but has already garnered a following and helped to banish any remaining notions that college radio is all awkward DJs and lo-fi indie rock. 

Between booking shows and running 1Livevision Multimedia group, DJ Goodnight has spent nearly 15 years working to further the local hip-hop scene. After realizing how many talented artists weren't getting radio play, he decided to start his own Internet radio show (which won Pittsburgh Hip Hop Awards two years in a row). He took on Swagg as an intern in 2010 and soon suggested he start his own Internet show, which he did. 

Things got a little complicated for Swagg after that. Finding himself in some trouble that resulted in a three-month jail stint, he spent his time listening to WRCT. 

"I started putting together my plan while I was in jail," he remembers. "And when I got out, I went right down [to WRCT] and started training for my own show." Soon after, Swagg and DJ Goodnight -- who possess the kind of easy, complementary chemistry that all good co-hosts require -- kicked off their first terrestrial radio transmission. "We play all types of music," Swagg says. "[DJ Goodnight]'s old-school and I'm new-school and we bring that together."

The interviews, which DJ Goodnight is able to snag through various industry connections -- and which have included a particularly warm and entertaining conversation with Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa -- are what make Swaggnation something special.

While pleased with these accomplishments, DJ Goodnight is still excited for the chance to promote local hip hop. "Pittsburgh has a concentration of talent that a lot of other cites don't," he says. "I'd say out of every 10 [local] CDs I'm given, six of them are something that I would play."

Swaggnation airs live, midnight–6 a.m. every Sunday, on WRCT 88.3 FM or www.wrct.org.