MD of the Month: Gavin Trutzenbach

MD of the Month: Gavin Trutzenbach

MD of the Month: Gavin Trutzenbach

North American College & Community Radio Chart (, September 2022

How long have you been involved with WGLS and how did you first hear about the station?

In fall 2020, the beginning of my freshman year of college, I saw a Rowan Radio sticker on the side of an air conditioning unit while walking down a sidewalk. I did a quick Google search and began listening, eventually following the station on social media. Not long after that I saw the station was holding an interest meeting, and the rest is history!

What advice can you offer other MDs regarding the ways you get your DJs to play the new music the station receives from labels and promoters?

As rock director at WGLS, I specifically handle our rock programming. These days I particularly love hard rock and metal, but I’ve learned there are so many kinds of rock music from the softer to the heavier, the more technical progressive stuff to the more mellow shoegaze-y tunes. Labels and promoters send me music from all different genres. We give our rock DJs nearly total freedom in what kind of rock music they air, and boy is there a variety—so when I get sent a record, I try to think who in our department might appreciate it and I let them know about it.

What part of your job do you love the most?

I love communicating with others and discovering new music. I’ve had so many great conversations with so many great people not only in terms of promoter/label contact but also in terms of listeners who text in while I’m on the air. I’ve also heard of so many great records that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

What is your favorite album released in the last year? Is there a 2022 release on the horizon you are still eagerly awaiting?

I think Mastodon’s October 2021 double album “Hushed and Grim” is a phenomenal record. It’s definitely my favorite album released in the past year and it was the album that made me love Mastodon. It’s got an amazing modern progressive metal sound, with tracks ranging from thrashy hard-hitting bangers, to near-bluesy guitar solos, to slower more emotional tracks that you can scream your feelings away to.

As for new releases, I’m loving the delightfully brutal singles that have been recently released off Slipknot’s upcoming album “The End, So Far”. It’s due out soon on September 30th and I can’t wait to hear the rest of it!

Do you have a favorite artist or album you never get tired of listening to?

I never get tired of listening to Tool, my absolute favorite band. Their discography varies so greatly that there’s always a track or album that suits my mood. They’ve got everything from epic vulnerable tracks like “Wings for Marie / 10,000 Days” to screaming thrashers like “Ticks and Leeches”. My favorite album of theirs is 1996’s Ænima.

Which artist/band has put on the best live show you’ve ever seen? Have you attended a live show recently now that tours are happening? If so, how was it seeing live music again?

I’m going to answer Tool again for that one. I’ve seen some pretty incredible live shows—Nine Inch Nails, Mastodon and Coldplay come to mind—but Tool’s marriage of an ability to play such technical tracks nearly indistinguishably from their studio sound while surrounded by a projection of out-of-this-world psychedelic visuals all around them leaves me in a trance nearly every time. I’ve seen them twice, once in Atlantic City in November 2019 and again this past February in Philadelphia. Even as a music lover I don’t make the following statement lightly: that November 2019 show was one of the most important nights of my life.

I adore live music and love that it’s made a return. I’ve crossed off so many shows off my “bucket list” in the past year, and I don’t regret a single performance I’ve seen. I’m going to see Ghost on tour with Mastodon and Spiritbox next week and I’m so excited!

Who is an artist or band totally outside the realm of the music you play on WGLS that people might be surprised to know you love?

Despite having not played a single of her songs on air, I love Adele. Her voice is a lively yet soothing instrument, and even her backing band are on-point (the bass line on “Don’t You Remember” comes to mind). Both of those aspects combined with the fact that her music is so well recorded and mixed makes me love her stuff. “21” especially is a really well-done album.

If you had the power to instantly change one thing going on in the world at the moment, what would it be?

This is a difficult question to answer because there are so many things going on in the world that I wish were different. It’s difficult to pick just one. That being said, while this is impossible, if I could somehow end mental health-related illness across the world I would. Sucky things do happen in life but it’s even more awful when amidst those things you have your brain working against you. So many people struggle with and have their life made more difficult by mental illness.

What event or person in your life would you say has shaped you the most as a person?

Getting my driver’s license was a very impactful event in my life. When I was 17 I got my probationary driver’s license and my grandparents bought me my first car, a 2007 Volkswagen GTI. It has an APR Stage 2+ performance package among other goodies, and it’s an absolute blast to drive. I knew I wanted a GTI for a long time; it’s always been one of my favorite cars, and I searched online for months trying to find the right one. It got me into learning more about cars, which prompted me to begin working at an auto parts store. This has now evolved into one of my most prominent hobbies and cars are a massive part of my life.

If you could choose, what time period in the past would you most want to travel back to visit and why?

Picking a single period is so difficult, but I would like to see the construction of something like Stonehenge. So many ancient structures either wholly or in part seem like they should have been impossible to create. How would someone thousands of years ago have built a structure that would be difficult to construct even today, or in other cases, how are parallel markings and symbols found between civilizations that otherwise seem to never have met? Whether this is the intervention of extraterrestrials or some higher power, I want to know.

Do you have a favorite restaurant in town (dine-in or take out) that you recommend people try?

I don’t really eat out a lot, but there’s a hibachi steakhouse here in Glassboro called Samurai. I love their sushi especially!

What in your life brings you the most joy?

My family and friends are the most important parts of my life and I would sacrifice anything for them. But to give a more interesting answer, number two would again be that I love cars. There’s nothing quite like hearing my turbocharger flutter when I let off the gas, or the feeling of ripping down an empty back road. Even just enjoying a peaceful evening drive with one of my favorite albums playing is one of my favorite things in the world.

Lightning Round:
Dog or Cat?  Dogs!
Morning Person or Night Owl?  Definitely a night owl.
City or Country?  The country, cities are too crowded.
Beach or Mountains?  Mountains—for great driving roads.
Watch TV or Read A Book?  Watching TV.
Sunny or Rainy?  Sunny weather. I love the rain if I’m indoors, but it’s not as fun to drive in the rain.
Restaurant or Home Cooking?  Home cooking. I’m not a very good cook but it’s always satisfying.
Pants or Shorts?  Shorts—preferably cargo shorts with plenty of pockets.
Warm or Cold drinks?  Warm drinks. I’m a big coffee and tea person.

Do you have any current favorite TV shows you’re enjoying/binging? How about a movie (new or old) that you’ve watched recently that you would recommend?

Despite my earlier answer of TV over books, I don’t watch as much TV or as many movies as I used to. That being said, I did see a very good series on PBS called “Country Music: A Film By Ken Burns” that goes through the history of country music from the 1930s all the way to the late 1990s or so. It’s worth a watch for any music lovers who aren’t averse to country.

Finally, with fall now here, all things pumpkin are coming back. Are you a pumpkin aficionado (and if so, what’s your favorite pumpkiny food/drink item) or do you loathe this orange winter squash with every fiber of your being?

I love pumpkin pie, especially with whipped cream on top. Pumpkin spice drinks were an acquired taste; it took repeated peer pressure for me to begin liking them at first, but by the end of last year’s pumpkin spice season one of my best friends and I were going out for pumpkin spice Frappuccinos on a weekly basis. By now, I must admit that I’m excited to enjoy one when they’re available again soon!