By: Drew Cowen
There are few interests that bring people closer together than music. It has the power to turn awkward small talk into a vibrant discussion. It breaks down barriers both socially and culturally. At WXJM, it’s no secret that a passion for discovering and promoting new music can lead to lifelong friendships. But if you’re lucky, like alumni Morgan Pennington and Chandler Dang, you might just meet the person you’re supposed to spend the rest of your life with.
Though Pennington and Dang met each other at a graduation party in 2012, it was the discovery that their radio shows were next to each other that allowed the relationship to blossom. In 2017, five years after they first met, Dang proposed to Pennington. WXJM’s close ties to the Harrisonburg music scene gave Dang the opportunity to originally ask Pennington out.
In an electronic interview Dang described the night saying, “We were at a house show at the Alpaca House and Morgan broke her purse moshing. She asked me for a safety pin thinking I might have one, but I didn’t. From there, we just kept talking and I eventually asked her on a date.”
From that point on, music was an important talking and bonding point in their relationship. It was this passion and loyalty to WXJM that inspired both Dang and Pennington to run for leadership positions in the organization.
In 2015, Dang was elected to a Big Three position as Programming Director. The next year Pennington ran for the same position and was elected as well. The decision to run stemmed from a desire to both give back to the station and become more connected with WXJM members.
Pennington wrote, “I really wanted to help the station in any way that I could and I felt like that was the biggest commitment I could make.”
Now that they have left JMU and the station, Dang and Pennington will both miss the unprecedented amount of new music WXJM allowed them to discover. However, it is the friends and mentors gained through WXJM—particularly the knowledge of Tom Duval, WXJM’s station dad—that will miss the most.
Dang and Pennington are planning their wedding for October 2018.