“Haunted Heartland” sends fright to Halloween night

Photo courtesy MavRadio

Alexandria Wilson

The University of Nebraska at Omaha’s student radio station MavRadio is gearing up for their fifth annual “Haunted Heartland” broadcast, which airs from 6-9 p.m. on Oct. 31.

It will be available for streaming at MavRadio.Fm and on the TuneIN and RadioFX apps.

“Haunted Heartland” was the “brain child” of Jodeane Brownlee, the staff advisor for MavRadio.

“It really came down to how I can give students a live experience,” Brownlee said.

The broadcast consists of several pre-recorded segments and live interactions out in the field. It also relies heavily on the commentary from hosts Lyle Kwiatkowski, D.K. Kellum and Zach Padilla.

Throughout the segment, stories from different MavRadio crew members will air. After the stories are broadcasted, the hosts of the show will conduct an interview with the creator of the story and offer their own commentary.

Topics for the stories from individuals this year include: phobias, UFOs, Dia de los Muertes, paganism and satanism. The students have each picked their own topic with very few restrictions on what topic to choose.

“I really just want to impress on the students to be respectful,” Brownlee said, understanding that some of the topics of the stories may be sensitive to their sources and listeners.

Brownlee helps write the social media posts during the live broadcast. Historically, this is the broadcast they receive the most interactions from each year, she said.

Listeners can look forward to live broadcasts from crew members who are sent out to different locations throughout the Omaha area.

The Hatchet House in Papillion, a grave site and Little Italy are all places you will hear from reporters this year. The live reports will come from a group of 12 students broken into groups of three.

Some of the students out in the field may bring along a Ouija board, which has become a bit of a relic to the MavRadio community. The Ouija tradition began with the first “Haunted Heartland” broadcast when the students did a segment explaining what a Ouija board was.

During the first live broadcast of “Haunted Heartland,” the students took the board with them to Hummel Park. Though everyone swears they had fully charged phones they all went dead after they began using the Ouija board and Brownlee recalls the students all feeling “utterly terrified.”

Now, it’s custom for the board to go out on the live field broadcast; however, Brownlee doesn’t require any student to do something with which they may not feel comfortable.

UNO junior and MavRadio crew member Anna Rodriguez will likely be visiting a graveyard during her live broadcast. This is her first year participating in “Haunted Heartland” and she has been working on creating a piece about the celebration of Dia de los Muertes.

“I’m most excited for the chemistry that will come from Lyle and DK while they are hosting,” said Rodriguez. “They carry everything.”

Rodriguez explains that it’s all about the host’s reactions, whether they make jokes or get scared really impacts the broadcast and its listeners.

This is the first year that the broadcast will air on the actual day of Halloween. It will be rebroadcasted a couple days later to ensure everyone gets a dose of spooky, if they dare.