Headed south past Paynes Prairie, Cam Loggins listens to background music while navigating the I-75 traffic in the company Hyundai with Magic 101.3 emblazoned on the sides.
It’s Monday, July 5, a day that is going to bring a lot of firsts. It’s the station’s first remote radio broadcast since the COVID-19 lockdown, the first time Loggins will DJ a remote and the first time he will tempt listeners with tickets from Universal Orlando Resorts.
“To actually do one where I’m in front of the mic instead of somewhere just off the mic, it feels―it feels very unique,” Loggins said.
The Gainesville station launches two weeks of Universal ticket giveaways on July 12. At 8 p.m. each weekday, one lucky winner will score a pair of tickets—in addition to a website giveaway that is already live.
In total, Magic 101.3 will send out 22 tickets to the Gainesville community. And for Loggins—popularly known as Cam that Dude—the tickets couldn’t go to a better place.
He bought his first comic book at Universal as a kid and can’t keep track of all the times he’s visited, riding Men In Black and waving at Hashtag the Panda.
“I’ve lost count,” Loggins said. “I love it. I love the food, I love the rides, I love having fun.”
The remote is more than just a ticket giveaway this time. It’s about reopening post-pandemic and people getting together after more than 15 months of isolation.
“Remotes are about us getting more connected and becoming more personal with the listener,” Loggins said.
Usually, the remote process involves setting up a tent at a local business with live music, pictures and giveaways. Broadcasting at Universal’s indoor studio is atypical—complete with minion decorations from Despicable Me and Marilyn Monroe driving past outside the window.
But it’s the start of more relationship building between DJs and listeners, a vital part of radio.
“If you’re not doing your job effectively, listeners don’t feel you and hear you,” said Loggins, who has worked in radio since 2014. “They’re not grasping to you, gravitating towards you.”
Effective DJs let their listeners know that they’re in the same boat, he said, even through the pandemic, wearing a mask, working from home and getting restless.
“We’re not above the struggle that this country had to endure,” Loggins said. “We’re right there with you.”
Before the pandemic, Magic 101.3 hosted one or two remotes a month, plus three remotes throughout the year with Universal.
Vinny Foo, program director for Magic 101.3, said removing remotes from the schedule is like a business cutting its phone lines and customer contact.
“It’s one of the biggest things for us,” Foo said.
Remotes help the local host businesses as well, from car dealerships to clubs. It’s a way for community partners to support each other.
“As a community radio station, we strive to be in the community,” Foo said. “Last year, we were forced out of the community. Everyone was.”
And now, Magic 101.3 is right there with Gainesville residents as restrictions lift, ready to promote some normalcy and fun.
“We want people to get back out and enjoy [Universal],” Loggins said.