“The Boys Are Back in Town” is a student-run radio show on KRUA, the university’s radio station. The show is performed by three close friends every Friday night. For two hours on the air, The Boys listen to music, make jokes and conversation and even accept guest callers.
“It’s just three guys having a conversation over the radio,” Radames Bradley Mercado-Barbosa, boy No. 3 and journalism and political science major, said. “It’s a show about normal people, normal things and everyday topics.”
The show first aired in November of 2017 and was inspired by when Mercado-Barbosa had two of his friends from high school as guests on his personal music-based radio show. When their conversation became more interesting than the music, they knew it was something they wanted to pursue.
Although it’s mainly for fun and doesn’t come with pay, the group views “The Boys Are Back in Town” as a way to build skills that will help them with their majors and possibly turn into a hobby in their futures.
“It’s something I’d like to do after I retire. I like playing music for people,” Nial Masuda, boy No. 2 and accounting major, said.
KRUA gives its radio shows a lot of freedom. The boys have small guidelines to follow, such as no cursing and only playing clean songs, but the content is entirely up to them. The three take advantage of this freedom by hardly planning out their shows and just going with the flow.
A typical show starts with the boys asking one another about their weeks, and the conversation builds from there. Although it’s mostly improvised, segments such as Ask Siri, Mad Libs and Leaving Town appear regularly.
“We try to keep it very free flowing and normal. People don’t talk with scripts,” Mercado-Barbosa said. “It’s two hours of pure randomness.”
Another main aspect of “The Boys Are Back in Town” is accepting guest callers while on the air and inviting guests to physically be a part of the action. Guests can request songs or topics, give advice or simply hang out and interject when they please. According to The Boys, they are always looking for people to join the show.
“One of my favorite parts is the callers,” Nick Parker, boy No. 1 and journalism major, said. “It’s fun to hear an outside voice when you’re stuck in a booth for two hours.”
Despite being UAA-based, the radio show gets listeners from outside of the university, as well as outside of Alaska. They’ve had callers from the Lower 48 and even met up with a local Anchorage fan after one of their shows.
Mitchell Hershey, a fan of the show, tries to tune in every chance he gets and occasionally appears as a guest.
“[The show] adds a sense of community and brings people together,” Hershey said. “It’s nice to know friends from high school are still talking and laughing with each other.”
For all three members, “The Boys Are Back in Town” is a way to be themselves and escape from the stresses that come with being a student.
“Part of it is relaxing from a long week, which is every week, and being able to talk about stuff that doesn’t matter,” Masuda said. “People enjoy it even though it means absolutely nothing.”
No matter what takes place during the week before, the boys enjoy their time making each other and the audience laugh.
“I look forward to Fridays,” Parker said. “I just get to forget about schoolwork, hang out with my friends in a radio booth and relax.”
The boys were back in town for their first show last Friday night. If you want to be a part of the action, tune in to 88.1 FM or kruaradio.org on Fridays from 5-7 p.m., or call (907) 786-6807 to appear as a guest.