Jason Harward co-editor-in-chief
The posters cover almost every square inch of the tiny Radio Airlift room, a glorified closet tucked in the corner of a blue hallway in the KBEV complex. Along with a dim, pink light, the posters bring life to the cramped space–a judgmental Kanye West, a formidable Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Mona-Lisa-inspired Frank Zappa, two Pink Floyd album covers and increasingly abstract pop culture flyers stare down at the inhabitants, daring them to create and inspire. Sophomore Tohar Zamir, the president of Radio Airlift, recites each poster’s origin from memory, seeming completely at home in the kaleidoscope of colors that fill the room.
“When you walk in, you get this vibe that [Radio Airlift] is something that happens inside of school but also independently from school,” Zamir said. “It’s not another one of those executive things set up here, it’s something special. I think it’s just a great way to just express yourself.”
The room itself is a small 8-foot by 8-foot cubicle furnished with two lime green chairs and an empty white table, which is about all that can fit in the cramped area. The size and inventory do not matter; the ideas do. Dozens of Radio Airlift flyers, suspended around the room, express its motto “Whatever Your Sound” in a very in-your-face way; nothing is off-limits, nothing isn’t cool. At least that’s what Zamir hopes the club can be.
Zamir, who spearheaded the “Talk and Rock” radio show last year, is hard to miss in the hallways. At 6 feet 4 inches and with an outgoing personality much larger than that, he hopes to show people that they have an outlet no matter their tastes.
“No one really cares how far on the field [your interests] are; all they care about is if you’re interesting. And, spoiler alert, people are interesting,” Zamir said.
Zamir’s musical taste is against the grain of the average high schooler, but his favorites make sense in context with his personality. He is an avid fan of Frank Zappa, who he describes as his “God of music.” Further classic rock influences include Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. Zamir also loves “more left-field stuff” such as Brian Eno and Robert Wyatt, as well as certain kinds of hip-hop, namely Blackalicious. Not one to just sit idly by and listen, Zamir is “obsessed” with the electric and acoustic guitar, and produces his own music. He hopes to continue in the industry as a studio engineer and maybe even an artist. Click on an artist to hear his or her sound.
“My career choice that I want to follow in life is a studio engineer in a recording studio and, with that, kind of make music on my own,” Zamir said.
But don’t get him wrong, he hasn’t always been “really hippie.” His height made him a perfect candidate for basketball stardom, but moving to Beverly Vista from Westwood Charter School and focusing on academics in middle school put a future in basketball out of the picture. Instead of being excited for athletics at the high school level, Zamir introduced himself to radio, as it sounded “pretty rad.” Yet in just over a year, Zamir has gone from novice to club president, and senior Jessica Sater, the club vice president, describes him as the “backbone” of the Airlift operation.
“Tohar is legit the backbone of the club. He handles all of the tech stuff which [Vice President] Vivian [Geilim] and I are basically illiterate in,” Sater said. “Without him there is no Radio Airlift.”
But neither growing through Radio Airlift nor entering high school was Zamir’s self-described “turning point.” Instead, it was cutting his almost waist-length hair, something he had not done since fifth grade.
“I think cutting my hair felt like it was part of a transformation between being hung up on old stuff and moving forward in life,” Zamir said. “I felt like I was not clear enough on how life works, I wasn’t understanding of reality. Cutting my hair, changing how I dress, refocusing on important things, making new friends; all of this stuff falls into place with me building the reality of what I want to build.”
While Zamir is moving toward a more serious future, he continues to always be true to himself. He hopes to express the new person he is through his media outlet.
“I think expression comes from reinvention. Once you know who you are, you can start to show other people,” Zamir said.
Everything he has done for Radio Airlift, and the other way around, has given him a tolerant attitude in life. Zamir’s personality is much like the room itself–colorful, inclusive and just the right amount of hippie.