Class Year: 1999
College: College of Arts and Sciences
Major: Communication Studies
Stepping outside your comfort zone can open the door to a world of opportunities you might otherwise not have known existed. But something can also be said for immersing yourself in the familiar surroundings that served as the breeding ground for a burgeoning career.
Such is the case for Adam Chapman, aka Adam 12, the midday DJ on Boston alternative rock radio station WFNX (101.7 FM).
Chapman, AS’99, got a taste of working at ’FNX in the mid-1990s as both an intern and co-op student while at Northeastern, doing a little bit of everything. That man-of-many-hats approach continues for Chapman, who, in addition to his on-air responsibilities, also serves as the station’s online content editor, and develops social media strategies geared toward marketing and promotion.
“I took a [Communications] class in my freshman year with a kid who grew up in the town next to me and worked at ’FNX,” Chapman said. “He was wrapping up his internship here and said, why don’t you take it over? He interned in the music department. That’s pretty much how I got my foot in the door.
“I grew up listening to stations like ’FNX – in fact, when I was in high school, I was really into ’FNX. I was listening to the DJ and thinking, what a dork this guy is. He just sits there, cracks bad jokes and talks about and plays good music. If I could get paid to do that, it’s pretty good work.
“I entered Northeastern as an undeclared student but it wasn’t until I started DJing at [student radio station] WRBB when I realized that this is really something I wanted to do. I wanted to be on radio.”
Chapman’s work at WRBB included year-long stints as music director and program director, and as DJ he reveled in the freedom to play anything he wanted on-air, so long as it was FCC-compliant.
“It was great to have that kind of independence and be able to express yourself with the music,” Chapman said.
Chapman returned to WFNX for each of his co-ops, working in the music department, operating the sound board, and occasionally getting on-air. Before graduating from Northeastern, Chapman had already been working part-time at the station and was the youngest DJ on-air in Boston.
“I think that co-op helped me prove to my supervisors that I was very capable of doing a lot of different things,” Chapman said. “Co-op allows you to try a lot of different things and discover what you like. By getting that experience and understanding, I think I became more valuable because I knew how things were expected to be done.”
Chapman moved out west and DJ’d at stations in Denver, Salt Lake City, and Albuquerque before returning to Boston in 2003 to work for WBCN. In fact, Chapman was the last full-time DJ hired by long-time program director Oedipus at WBCN, the legendary rock radio station that went off the air in August 2009 after 41 years. Chapman joked that one of the reasons he got the gig at WBCN was because he already knew how to pronounce “Gloucester” and “Worcester.”
Chapman returned to WFNX on a part-time basis after WBCN was shuttered and became the full-time afternoon (2-7 p.m.) host in January 2010.
He has, in a sense, come full circle, returning to the roots that took hold during his days as a student.
“I knew coming to Northeastern that because of co-op, not only would you have a degree after four or five years, if you played your cards right you’d have a job and you’d be working in a field you had experience in. That’s what I wanted to get out of Northeastern, and Northeastern gave me exactly what I wanted.”
Learn more about Adam on his website, Adam xii