Boombox brings beats to BYU’s campus


With his right hand holding a stereo on his shoulder and his left hand free to wave, Ethan Unklesbay struts to the beat of ’80s and ’90s music, which streams from his stereo, hoping to brighten the days of students and faculty on campus.

Unklesbay is a sophomore from Cincinnati majoring in Spanish. In fall of 2008, Unklesbay’s freshman year, he purchased a stereo for $10 at Deseret Industries and bought a cassette tape adapter so he could plug in his iPod.

“I got it just to be silly and I carried it around campus, played some music and people liked it, they started smiling,” he said.

[media-credit name=”Sarah Strobel” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]
Ethan Unklesbay carries his boombox around campus every Friday.
Because Unklesbay received such positive reactions, he decided to start his tradition of carrying the stereo around while it streams music every Friday.

“I do it to help people relax on Fridays, chill out, smile, which people should be doing more of,” Unklesbay said. “I try to stick to ’80s and ’90s because that’s where most of us are from. Most of us are ’80s ’90s kids. You can’t beat the classics like Journey, Van Halen, Will Smith or Baha Men.”

Unklesbay said he encourages others to find original ways to express themselves. He will continue to sit and eat lunch in Brigham Square every Friday around noon and watch as students listen and appreciate his music, but he plans to stop once he gets married or graduates.

[pullquote]”I got it just to be silly and I carried it around campus, played some music and people liked it, they started smiling,” he said.[/pullquote]

While carrying around his stereo, he has had many neat experiences.

“One time last semester, I was playing ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ by Journey and I just stood here in the middle of Brigham Square, held up my stereo in the air and people started dancing around me,” Unklesbay said. “It was weird, but there’s a possibility I would do it again.”

Jared McClure, a freshman from Medford, Ore., studying linguistics, was thrilled when he saw Unklesbay playing music for the first time.

“It makes my day. His music choice is impeccable,”  McClure said. “I don’t have the guts to do that, but I appreciate those that do, so I can reap the benefits from them.”

Andrew Coleman, an economics graduate from Anchorage, Alaska feels slightly irritated by Unklesbay’s choice to broadcast music from his stereo.

“It’s your right to do whatever you want,” Coleman said. “There’s nothing negative about it, it’s just annoying loud music.”

Although Coleman said he feels the behavior of Unklesbay is peculiar and annoying, Coleman said he probably also does annoying things that other people have to tolerate.

Several students have suggested Unklesbay play Friday songs to get students pumped up that it is Friday. Two students suggested “Friday” by Rebecca Black.

“I am definitely going to get ‘Friday I’m in Love’ by The Cure,” Unklesbay said. “I’m trying to just stick to the classics, which is why I am going to add The Cure.”

Students aren’t the only ones who have noticed Unklesbay’s tastes in music.

“There’s this really awesome experience I had a couple weeks ago,” Unklesbay said. “I was walking past the ASB and Cecil O. Samuelson walks out while I’m playing ‘Get Jiggy With It’ by Will Smith. President Samuelson points at me and says, ‘That is so old school’ with a big smile on his face, so Cecil approves — that’s all I have to say.”


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