10 Questions with Jeff Greenberg

Ziyi Liu

Many know Jeff Greenberg from his role as Station Manager at VandyRadio, talking politics and playing rock music in the recording booth every week. But many don’t know that Jeff is arguably the university’s largest consumer of Best Wok, that he’s into live action role play (LARP) camps and that he’s involved Vanderbilt’s Trapshooting Club. Jeff has conducted hundreds of interviews while at Vandy, but this time, it was his turn.

The Hustler: You host “The Anchor Watch” and “Jeff’s Jams” every week on VandyRadio. How did you get started with these productions?

Jeff Greenberg: When I came to Vandy, I knew that I wanted to do something with college radio because I loved music growing up. It was a big part of my life. I played the drums and all sorts of things like that. When I came, I sought out a college radio station. And I found out that there’s two here: WRVU and this new one [they were] trying to put together called VandyRadio. And it was pitched to me that WRVU had all of these requirements, and VandyRadio not so much, so I just joined up. And it ended up working out really well. The first year was a little shaky because it was our first year as a station my freshman year. But I’ve sort of grown along with the station, and it’s sort of my path towards being station manager, [which] was not something I actively sought out from the beginning. As the station grew, and I grew as a student, they needed somebody to fill these positions and I stepped up. So I was news director my sophomore year and then I was station manager this year and will be station manager again next year. So it’s been a great time.

Freshman year I started a show called “The Anchor Watch,” which is supposedly a talk show, but I played music on it too the first year because we were a little more freeform. And then sophomore year, I realized I couldn’t do both. I made [“The Anchor Watch”] a pure talk show. I interviewed people, I monologued, all that kind of stuff. And then I started “Jeff’s Jams”, which is an hour when I sort of sit in the booth and play classic rock. I guess that’s why I enjoy it more; I get to sort of relax for an hour and not have to do anything. It’s going to change next semester, but “The Anchor Watch” is at Wednesdays at 8 p.m. and Jeff’s Jams is Friday at 4 p.m.. And we do accept requests, as long as they’re earlier than 1985.

TH: What is your involvement with live action role play (LARP) summer camps?

JG: I continue to do this, but throughout high school and middle school I worked at a Live Action Role Play summer camp. So my parents are divorced; my mom — I’m from Florida, and when my mom moved back to New York I didn’t have a bunch to do up there [in New York]. My first couple of friends there went to this camp. And you know, I always liked Lord of the Rings and all that kind of stuff. I was sort of drawn into this summer camp, and I went as a kid, and they’re a great group of people so I kept working when I got older there for money to just have a great time.

We like to call it an improvisational theatre camp, where we teach kids how to act and things like that. It culminates every week in this production that the staff puts on and they have characters and have to go out and play with the swords and all of that, what you’d expect. Everyone’s like, “Is it like that movie ‘Role Models’? And I’m like, ‘Not really, but kind of.’

I’m working this summer, again, for a week, because obviously I’m busy doing other things. I’ll teach them improv games or I’ll be in charge of running them around outside. You know, it’s just like any normal camp but I guess it’s themed. There’s people who are in charge of writing the story for the week that people will be participating in, and there’s people in charge of costuming and set design.

TH: Have you used your radio skills from LARPing on your radio show?

JG: Oh, sure. And, I mean, I did debate in high school. This definitely did. I was not normally like this. When I was a kid, I had extreme stage fright. I was very nervous getting in front of people. I have gotten all of these experiences growing up that have given me an opportunity of, you know, I love being in front of a microphone in the radio booth, for example. Or just being in the spotlight I guess. It’s kind of arrogant but I don’t know. I enjoy it.

TH: What is your involvement with the Vanderbilt Trapshooting club?

JG: Well I wouldn’t call it that. It’s a lot of fun. This was a process starting freshman year. Like I said before, my dad is a cop and we would go shooting a lot. I was in the Boy Scouts and I shot a lot there too. And I wanted to start a riflery team, or something like that. So I emailed the rec center to talk about starting a new club. They told me that there was already some sort of gun club, going on, and there was this shotgun team. And this finally got off the ground this year. I wasn’t actually a part of creating it though. It’s just been a lot of fun. We go out there every Sunday and shoot fake birds. I would never shoot a real bird; I’m very against hunting or killing anything. I don’t know — it’s a way to release stress, there’s a competitive aspect to it, we do compete against other people, and it’s just like any other sport, I guess. (link to Hustler article)

TH: I have heard that you are arguably the university’s largest consumer of Best Wok. Tell me about that. What do you usually get to eat?

JG: This is debatable. The only reason they say that is because they don’t know my friends. This is so weird. What do I get at Best Wok? I’m a big fan of the chow mein, or the chow mein fun, I guess you would call it. I don’t like to cook, and so I live on Highland Quad, and it’s hard to get food sometimes. When I’m working, or when it’s late, or on Wednesday after my radio show and everything is closed, I have to find food somehow so — Best Wok. It’s not bad. I don’t know why everyone hates on it. It’s not good, but it’s not awful.

TH: You concentrate a lot on politics in a lot of your “The Anchor Watch” shows. What are your thoughts on the political climate on campus?

JG: I think at Vandy, we’re pretty lucky. When I see these things that are going on on other college campuses that are a lot more extreme that is what is happening here.

Regardless of my political views, which yeah I probably lean towards the right, what I’m most focused on is that I want people to have the ability to express themselves and have a diverse array of conversations about all sorts of things on campus. So for example, something that I don’t want to see happen at Vanderbilt is — I saw at some university at Oregon recently, there was a “Students for Trump” rally. Now I would never in my life vote for Donald Trump. But they had this “Students for Trump” club meeting and all of these people came and shut it down. That doesn’t seem right to me. So that’s what I don’t want to see and I think we’re very slowly… we’re teetering at the edge at Vandy, so I would stand against that stuff, I don’t like [that] at all.

As far as my political views, I think there are a lot of people who share them, who just aren’t the ones who are vocal about it. So I don’t feel uncomfortable.

TH: So then Hillary or Trump?

JG: I would abstain.

TH: How has being a member of Speaker’s Committee defined your time at Vanderbilt?

JG: This has definitely been the coolest thing — besides radio, of course — the coolest thing I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of, here. Unfortunately I joined right after Bill Nye, so I wasn’t able to meet him. But I’ve been able to meet all these sorts of people that I never would have had the opportunity to talk to face-to-face before. So Giuliani, Boehner, Spike Lee, and even some lesser-known people who I thought were the most interesting when we have dinner with them, for example. Earlier in the year, a man named Jared Cohen came, who is the director of Google’s foreign policy think tank. Before he came here, I didn’t even know they had one. I interviewed him and we had a great dinner conversation with him, and so that’s been a great time.

As for my dream speaker, wow that’s tough. Do they have to be alive? I would really like John F. Kennedy. [He] would have been really cool because I know Vandy, in 1968 I think, they got Robert F. Kennedy. And the first one was Martin Luther King Jr., and all of these incredible thought leaders. But if it’s somebody alive, I would say… I’ll get back to you.

TH: Do you want a career in radio? What makes a good radio reporter?

JG: That’s a good question. I don’t think so. I’ve always thought it would be cool to be a commentator. I’m a public policy major, so I always thought it would be cool to be a pundit or a commentator and talk about political issues. But to do that, you don’t go into broadcasting…  you go into broadcasting to be a reporter or a DJ, or a host. But if you just want to be a commentator, you need some experience in the real world at first. I would love to go to law school for example, work in DC, do something with the government. I’ve always felt that that would be a lot of fun. That’s not something I thought I would do originally. In high school I wanted to be a veterinarian. I love animals and always thought that would be my career path. But I also always loved politics so this is where I am.

TH: What’s the dream?

JG: The dream career? I don’t know. U.S. Congressman would be really cool. But in lieu of that, I would like to be, it would be really cool to be on TV or radio or something and to talk about politics.And not just politics. One of the things that I thought would be a good job would be having a, like a Jimmy Fallon-type talk show. i’m not on that career path, but that would be the coolest thing, I think.