Editor's Note: Rachel Long is a former Daily Nebraskan employee.
In a news cycle of endless sadness and peril, two University of Nebraska-Lincoln students saw the chance to spread good news and jumped on the opportunity, creating Happy Hour News, their radio show from KRNU.
Rachel Long and Maddy Patten, both senior advertising and public relations majors, with Long also studying German and broadcasting as a triple major, recently took a local angle with their positivity by focusing on Nebraska’s flooding.
The duo wanted to do more than just share the stories, so they dedicated a show to sharing the stories of volunteers and collaborated with the University of Nebraska Emergency Fund to ask listeners to donate money.
Amid stories about people rescuing animals and letting victims stay in churches, Patten and Long collected $200 for affected UNL students and faculty in a little over an hour.
“After bad situations, people don’t really know if they can be happy,” Patten said. “We like to remember a quote, which is ‘The best time to be happy is during a bad time.’”
Long and Patten met in a class during their sophomore year. Patten was telling her advertising professor, Kelli Britten, about her dream for a positive radio show when Long overheard. Long said they should take it to KRNU, UNL’s radio station.
“I just went up to her and was like, ‘You’re going to do this, and I’m going to be your co-host,’ and then we just instantly began working it out,” Long said.
She emailed Rick Alloway, a broadcasting professor and the general manager of KRNU, to sort out the details behind making the show.
“It honestly took an hour, and boom, we had a radio show,” Long said.
Now, on Wednesday nights at 9 p.m, Long and Patten record in the KRNU booth and discuss all things happiness. They focus on the bright side of bad situations and how good news can come out of adversity.
Patten said they have shared stories about how a chef responded to Hurricane Maria by cooking food for its victims and how kids at St. Jude’s who recovered from cancer at the same time grew up and fell in love.
The two hosts play happy music and throwback songs on each show and have a segment called “This Day in History,” where they explore happy situations that happened on that specific day.
“It’s fun to feel official,” Patten said. “People are like ‘Oh, you have a radio show?’ and it’s awesome. Working with Rachel has been the best experience.”
Despite its focus on happy news, the show itself faces a setback: Patten and Long are both graduating in two weeks and said the show’s uncertain future makes their graduation bittersweet. They are currently looking for fun, happy people to “continue the legacy.”
“I just really like the fact that maybe if someone is having a bad day, they can listen to our show and smile,” she said. “If they see the good in the world, they find hope and the positivity they need.”