Weekdays 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Ottawa-born Nikhil Sarma took to Seattle like a duck to water. Landing stateside in 2009 to attend the University of Washington, Nikhil found himself perusing the on-campus job fair only to find a local radio station that was hiring an audio editor intern. It was through this internship that he heard Classical KING was hiring weekend board operators.
Nikhil worked as a board operator for five years at Classical KING’s old location on 10 Harrison Street. Claiming he loved the “warmth of the master control studio, the thrill of switching to a live broadcast from Benaroya Hall or McCaw Hall, the focus needed to run the board for seven-hour pledge shifts”, which would turn out to be great practice for on-air hosting. It seems being surrounded by superstar announcers has a trickle-down effect.
When he is not on-air, Nikhil enjoys reading books and Wikipedia entries. He also likes to take in a movie here and there, swears by his daily morning run, takes part in chess exercises, and is learning how to play the drums. He is constantly revising his top ten best and worst Beatles songs list and loves to share it with anyone willing to listen.
Q&A with Nikhil
KING: Let’s say you have a free day to spend somewhere beautiful. Are you heading to the beach or the mountains? In the Pacific Northwest, of course, we have easy access to both.
Nikhil: I’d go for the best of both worlds and head to the lake. My favorite lake is somewhere near the Ontario/Quebec border where my extended family owns a cabin. Lake Washington, however, is a real gem to have in the city and I’ve spent many summer days hanging out nearby. I try to find a spot where Mount Rainier is visible in the distance.
KING: Favorite type of food?
Nikhil: My mom makes an amazing chicken coconut curry in which she adds 3-4 hardboiled eggs, each sliced in half. I wonder if there is any restaurant in the world that serves that or if it’s an original concoction. That would be on my “last meal” request. As far as food I eat regularly, I love Pad See Ew from almost any Thai restaurant.
KING: It’s game night! Are you hoping for a board/tabletop game, a video game, or a sporting event?
Nikhil: I’d hope for a board game that’s easy enough to play that people can also have conversations and crack jokes. Unless, of course, it’s the Winter Olympics and Canada is facing the United States for the gold medal in men’s ice hockey. That gets immediate priority over all else.
KING: Beatles or Rolling Stones? (Or Bach or Beethoven?)
Nikhil: Nothing comes close to the Fab Four (sorry Mick and Keith!)
KING: What music might people be surprised to learn you listen to — when you’re not listening to KING, that is?
Nikhil: I regularly rock out to Shania Twain’s “Man, I Feel Like a Women”. It’s one of those songs that immediately puts me in a good mood, especially after a couple cups of coffee.
KING: What classical composers, living or dead, haven’t gotten their fair dose of attention — which composers aren’t “household names” but should be?
Nikhil: Most of my favorite classical composers, luckily, do get their fair and deserved share of attention. The only one that I personally feel should be elevated higher is Erik Satie as I’m a sucker for solo piano. As for non-classical composers, I’d love to see Nile Rogers and Bernard Edwards get as much attention as John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
KING: If your classical music collection was entirely vinyl records, which of those records would be nearly worn-out from being played dozens of times? In other words, what music do you come back to, over and over again?
Nikhil: Interestingly, I do own a fair amount of used classical vinyl as it’s usually very cheap to buy at records stores. You can often get 5 records for $10. The one that gets played repeatedly is Rachmaninoff’s Second Symphony with Eugene Ormandy and the Philidelphia Orchestra.
KING: What pieces of music do you turn to when you need comfort, solace, or relaxation?
Nikhil: I listen to Chopin’s Tristesse, Aphex Twin’s Flim or Aretha Franklin’s cover of Bridge over Troubled Water.
KING: Let’s say you’re hosting a musical dinner party or cocktail party, and you can invite three composers or performers, living or dead. Whom do you invite?
Nikhil: I’d invite Leonard Bernstein for the education, Ravi Shankar for the wisdom and Muddy Waters for the stories.