Former student returns on ‘Request’ to Blackman

By Megan Jicha

Damien Fahey was in total request live at Blackman Auditorium yesterday when he spoke to students about his journey to MTV and his experience on the network.

In Fahey’s PowerPoint presentation, he showed students his formula for success: One boy from Chicopee + one homemade radio station + one dash of hard work + a top notch university + internships = MTV.

“Everything you do has to start with passion,” the 25-year-old MTV VJ said. “You have to have burning desire. Passion takes you places.”

Fahey’s passion developed at an early age. As a teenager, Fahey bought $400 worth of radio equipment and set up a mock radio station in his bedroom.

“My friends used to come over and tape radio shows with me,” he said to the audience. “My friends weren’t as serious about my pretend radio station as me, though. I would get mad if they messed up, and then they would leave.”

At 15, Fahey got an internship at WMAS, a radio station in Springfield. After interning there for six months, Fahey got a job as the station’s overnight DJ every other Saturday and then, shortly after, its afternoon drive-time DJ.

When it came time to decide where to go to school, Northeastern was one of Fahey’s top choices, he said.

“Northeastern had the perfect combo for me, taking classes and having a job,” he said.

He was a freshman in 1999 and majored in communications. Fahey worked and co-oped for KISS 108 FM, a top-40 station in Boston, as its overnight DJ on Saturday nights.

He faced two defeats when he was rejected for a 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. position at KISS and had a terrible audition with “The Movie Loft,” a monthly 30-minute television show that promotes current blockbusters. Fahey then heard MTV was doing a casting call in Boston.

After four or five auditions, Fahey left Northeastern in 2002 and was hired for the summer by MTV as a co-host of “Shore Thing” in Seaside Heights, N.J. MTV then hired Fahey full-time for his current job as host for “Total Request Live (TRL).”

“It’s all about opportunity for young people,” he said. “You can have longer careers if one starts young. Kids are educated sooner and more savvy nowadays, so it’s easier to do this.”

Keelan Maguire, a freshman athletic training major, said she was impressed with Fahey’s success for his age and how he handles it.

“Achieving such success at such a young age like he has is amazing,” she said. “It actually makes me feel lazy and that I should be doing more with my life.”

Fahey also explained that every student hoping to get into the field of communications should take classes in public speaking and theatre, stay aware of current events, be well-versed in all areas of life, pursue internships, create connections with people and learn how to market themselves.

“It’s all about experience and passion,” Fahey said. “Students need to capitalize on experience and pursue their passion.”

Fahey was brought to campus by the Council for University Programs (CUP) as part of Springfest week.