As Elmhurst College seniors getting ready to graduate in May, Jennifer Anthony and Emma Kaminski wanted to do something big to commemorate their time on campus and as deejays at WRSE, the College radio station.
They decided to co-host a radio talk show. A very long radio talk show. A Guinness World Record-setting radio talk show.
And so, armed with a five-page list of discussion topics, several board games, and many friends who came to bear witness—and endless cups of coffee and bottles of Mountain Dew—Anthony and Kaminski stepped into the WRSE sound booth last weekend to try and set the record for World’s Longest Marathon Radio Talk Show as a Team.
The record at that point, set in Jordan in 2014, was 60 hours, 52 minutes and 8 seconds.
Anthony, a double major in French and communication sciences and disorders; and Kaminski, a music business major, officially started their show on Saturday, March 17, at 10:08 a.m.
The ground rules were simple, yet grueling:
- Because it was a talk show, they had to talk for the entire time, except during breaks.
- They earned a 5-minute break for every 60 minutes on the air, and were allowed to accumulate break time.
- They had to share the talking time equally, and also had to take all rest breaks together (in other words, no tag teaming).
- They were not allowed more than 10 seconds of silence on the air, and if they brought in any guests, the guests couldn’t speak for more than a minute at a time.
They didn’t take their first 5-minute break for more than six hours, at 4:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon; and took their second around 1:00 a.m. Sunday.
On the air, they talked about their lives and experiences on campus, and interviewed their guests about their lives and experiences on campus. They played board games like Monopoly, Clue and Yahtzee, describing each player’s moves and strategies in great detail. They moved around as much as they could to stay awake, shifting from sitting to standing to sitting again.
They took a few short power naps, but the only one of any length was for an hour, and they had to be on the air for 12 hours first to build up that time. The lack of sleep was especially hard for Anthony, who says she’s “an 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night person.”
“The hardest part was from about 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. on Sunday,” she said. “That’s when I was thinking, ‘How am I going to make it through?’ I’d never even pulled an all-nighter before, so I was trying to move around and was slapping myself a little to try to stay awake. I probably wasn’t very interesting to listen to, but I made it.”
It helped that friends continually brought them coffee, and a local restaurant, the Red Arrow Tap Room, provided all of the lunches and dinners.
The two finally signed off around 5:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 20. They’d been on the air for 66 hours, 45 minutes and 59 seconds.
They had unofficially broken the world record.
“I feel like, if I made it through this I can do anything,” Anthony said, “but I also feel like I would never do this again.”
Now Guinness must review the evidence that the students submitted about their effort (video, witness accounts, etc.). It could be three months before Kaminski and Anthony learn whether they are the new official title holders.
In the meantime, they’ll finish out their senior year on a high note.
“A lot of people told us we were crazy, and couldn’t believe we were trying to stay up for so long,” Anthony said. “But we also had a lot of support from our friends, family and the College community, so it was a good connection for us, to get that kind of support.”