DJ 7th-grader: ‘I am a blind dude, and I like audio stuff’

&quotI'm an audioholic," said Hunter Wilbur, a 13-year-old disc jockey at 91.5 WRBC, Bates College Radio
Daryn Slover | Sun Journal
"I'm an audioholic," said Hunter Wilbur, a 13-year-old disc jockey at 91.5 WRBC, Bates College Radio
Posted March 19, 2013, at 6:11 a.m.

Christine Wilbur waited five years to tell her son that he was blind.

As she tucked Hunter into bed the night before he was about to start school for the first time, she realized what she must do.

“I have to tell him that he is blind,” thought Christine. “That he sees things different than we do.”

“No I’m not,” the 5-year-old told his mom. “I see things my way.”

“The conversation went so much easier than I expected, because he was, like, ‘What are you talking about’?” Christine said.

Hunter Wilbur’s optic nerve did not develop, leaving him completely blind since birth.

Now, 13 years later, Wilbur is focusing on his sense of hearing.

“I am an audioholic,” said Wilbur of Greene. “I am a blind dude, and I like audio stuff.”

Wilbur has a collection of 40 small devices he uses to record tunes and mix them into medleys. He calls his creations “mash ups.”

“You might call what I do a subsidiary of experimental. It is, but then again, it isn’t,” said Wilbur, whose goal is to make mash ups their own genre. The problem, Wilbur said, is that “nobody recognizes mash ups.”

His music mixes and ability to create conversation caught the attention of a small 120-watt radio station in a Frye Street basement in Lewiston.

Disc jockeys at 91.5 WRBC, Bates College Radio, are familiar with Wilbur’s zest for music. The seventh-grader at Tripp Middle School in Turner calls the station’s hotline, as well as those of other radio stations, on a regular basis.

He calls so frequently that his father, Glenn, had to upgrade their calling plan to unlimited minutes.

“He just talks,” Christine said. “That’s his thing. He just talks.”

Bates College Radio has about 125 disc jockeys, most of them students. Kent Mullan of Monmouth is one of the 25 nonstudent disc jockeys in the community. Mullan invited Wilbur to be a guest host on his show, “All Things Heavy.”

“Hunter is a natural Larry King waiting to happen,” Mullan said.

Wilbur was asked to host his own show on the radio station.

“Oh, my God, I could not believe it,” Christine said. “We were so excited. It was step one of Hunter’s dreams.”

“The Hunter Show” always starts with a mash up, and then the lines are open for requests.

“There is really no kind of music that I don’t like,” Wilbur said.

“Being here at Bates has helped him in knowing what he wants, knowing that there are things possible for him to do,” Christine said. “It has proven to him that he can take a general interest and make it something more.”

As for being blind, Wilbur said, “There are some things that stink about it. Like I’m not going to be able to drive.”

“If I could drive, it would be ‘The Hunter Show’ all the time. It would not be WRBC. It would be more like ‘Hunter Radio,’” Wilbur said.

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