Monday, September 2, 2013

Radio Station Field Trip 50 - KSMC at St. Mary's College in Moraga, CA

Signage at KSMC in 2012

As I write my 50th radio station field trip post, it's hard to believe that this project started 5 years ago. When I visited my first station in March, 2008, my goal was to explore lesser-known college radio stations in different parts of the country. That first field trip, to WECB at Emerson College, was a chance for me to give some attention to a station that most people were unaware of. Hidden in the shadows of the other Emerson College radio station WERS-FM, the student-run online station WECB attracted my attention largely because of its underdog status. I wrote up a short piece, took a few pictures (the blog post only features three), and my field trip series was underway.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Radio Station Field Trip 49 - KJCC at San Jose City College

 KJCC stamp above the studio console (photo: J. Waits)

About a year ago a fellow DJ at KFJC told me about a college radio station in San Jose, KJCC, that I'd never heard of. He was taking part in the broadcasting program at San Jose City College and had happened upon the low power FM radio station there. Ever since that time, a field trip to KJCC had been on my to-do list, so I was excited to finally make the visit this week. I kicked off a whirlwind day of San Francisco Bay Area radio station visits with a stop at San Jose City College station yesterday.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Radio Station Field Trip 48 - KDUP at University of Portland

Another one of those call letter signs crafted by Leo (photo: J. Waits)

When I was in Portland, Oregon in April, I was fixated on visiting all of the college radio stations in town. I was able to get in touch with people at Portland State, Reed, and Lewis and Clark, but had no luck reaching anyone at University of Portland's radio station KDUP. Since I had a little bit of time on my last day in town, I decided to take a chance and just drop by the station on my way to the airport on the morning of Sunday, April 28, 2013. I drove to the small, Catholic university and was able to easily locate the station (it's just past a chapel and behind the student center).

KDUP at University of Portland (photo: J. Waits)

As I approached KDUP's wooden house, I saw a student walking up to the station. I asked if he worked there and he said "yes." I asked if I could stop by and tour the station and he graciously agreed to let me look around. That student DJ, Will Lyons, just happened to be at the station on the Sunday morning of my visit and invited me in to talk. As we chatted, we could hear the loud Sunday church bells from the nearby chapel. Lyons told me that there are lots of bells and that they ring at 9, 12, 3, and 6, and for mass. He said that they stop after 9:30 or 10:00 at night. Considering how loud and how close the bells are, I would imagine that the bells can be heard over KDUP at various times of the day if a DJ happens to be on the microphone at the right time.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Radio Station Field Trip 47 - KPSU at Portland State University

 KPSU at Portland State University (photo: J. Waits)

When I was in Portland, Oregon for the fabulous What is Radio? conference in April, I was lucky to be able to arrange for field trips to a handful of college and community radio stations. The bulk of my radio station touring happened on Thursday, April 25, right after I arrived in town from the airport. My first visit was to community radio station KBOO (more on that in a future post) and then I journeyed to see college radio stations KLC at Lewis and Clark College and KRRC at Reed College.

Student Union at Portland State University (photo: J. Waits)

My final stop for the day was KPSU at Portland State University. The bustling urban setting was quite different from the bucolic environment at KLC and KRRC. Although the building housing KPSU (the student union) was easy to find on a main street in Portland, the station itself was hidden in a labyrinth-like sub-basement (apparently dubbed "the dungeons" on campus).

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Radio Station Field Trip 46 - Urban Knights Radio at Academy of Art University in San Francisco

 Urban Knights Radio Entrance (photo: J. Waits)

When I was at the What is Radio? conference in Portland this April, I saw a presentation about a new college radio station at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. I thought that I'd heard references to this station before, but it didn't really register with me until after I'd seen the presentation. Soon after the event I was put in touch with Matty Staudt, the radio station manager for student radio station Urban Knights Radio and we quickly arranged a time for me to stop by to see the station.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Radio Station Field Trip 45 - KALW in San Francisco

Wall outside KALW (photo: Jennifer Waits)

Now that summer is here, it seems like the perfect opportunity to visit some nearby radio stations. I'd met General Manager Matt Martin of KALW two years ago at the National Federation of Community Broadcasters conference and ever since that time, I'd be meaning to stop by the San Francisco-based public radio station. After running into Martin again this year, I decided that I'd waited far too long to visit.

KALW entrance (photo: J. Waits)

On June 20, 2013, I took a short drive to KALW's headquarters at the Philip and Sala Burton High School in San Francisco. Licensed to the San Francisco Unified School District, KALW was actually the first non-commercial FM radio station west of the Mississippi and started broadcasting in 1941.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Radio Station Field Trip 44 - KRRC at Reed College

KRRC at Reed College (photo: J. Waits)

During my visit to Oregon at the end of April for the What is Radio? conference I visited five non-commercial radio stations in Portland. My most hectic day of station tours was on Thursday, April 25th. After stopping at KBOO and KLC in the morning, I made my way to Reed College to KRRC. I was particularly interested in visiting the station after following its recent license travails. Although the station used to hold a class D FM license, it had been off the air since the end of November, 2011. For many years the station struggled to be heard on campus and that challenge grew even larger after a commercial Clear Channel station made plans to utilize its 97.9 FM signal. By early 2012, Reed opted to donate the KRRC license to Common Frequency.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Radio Station Field Trip 43 - KLC at Lewis and Clark College

KLC Radio at Lewis and Clark College (photo: J. Waits)

I was recently in Portland, Oregon for the What is Radio? conference. While there, I decided to set some extra time aside so that I could visit a bunch of non-commercial radio stations. Upon my arrival on April 25, my first stop was KBOO (more on that in a future post). Following that impromptu visit, the next stop on my whirlwind day of station visits was KLC at Lewis and Clark College. After leaving KBOO, I traversed over bridges and found my way to the beautiful wooded campus in southwest Portland. Thanks to some very detailed directions provided by KLC General Manager Shannon Boerner, I easily found the station.

KLC Entrance (photo: J. Waits)

Located in the Templeton Campus Center at Lewis and Clark, KLC is just past the entrance to the building near a student lounge area. Windows in the on-air studio and a windowed door to the lobby face the hallways of the building, so passersby can see into the station. The station has been in its current location since 1995 (it was in the basement of the building prior to that).   

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Radio Station Field Trip 42 - WZRD at Northeastern Illinois University

Brand new WZRD T-shirt, featuring the original WZRD logo (all photos: J. Waits)

I was really thrilled to finally get the opportunity to visit college radio station WZRD 88.3 FM at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) in Chicago. Embroiled in controversy last year, WZRD was in the news for the dramatic lock-out of student DJs for more than five months.

WZRD record library

As I reported on Radio Survivor, on June 29, 2012, staff from WZRD were called into a meeting and told that student DJs were being suspended. The station was put on automation and the administration issued a statement that, "The WZRD student organization is currently under university review and on inactive status." In the days following the shut-down, a university spokesperson indicated that the station was still being operated by students (albeit, students selected by the university rather than by the WZRD club) and that there were hopes that student radio would continue at NEIU.  

Friday, February 15, 2013

Radio Station Field Trip 41 - WMRE at Emory University

Office window at WMRE (photo: J. Waits)

My final radio station field trip during my trip to Atlanta for the College Broadcasters Inc. (CBI) conference in October, 2012 was a visit to Emory University's student radio station WMRE. Since it was a bit more off the beaten path, I ended up taking a cab to Emory. Located in the Druid Hills section of Atlanta, the campus is nestled in a lush, suburban setting. WMRE General Manager Adam Valeiras offered to meet me at one of the entrances to the school and as we walked into campus and passed by all of the beautiful old buildings, I was reminded of my own college experience.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Radio Station Field Trip 40 - WREK at Georgia Tech

Near the entrance to WREK (photo: J. Waits)

The third radio station visit during my whirlwind tour of Atlanta in October, 2012 was a journey to WREK 91.1 FM at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). Unlike the other tours (WRAS, SCAD Atlanta Radio and WMRE), which I arranged myself, the visit to WREK was an official activity at the College Broadcasters Inc. (CBI) conference.

CBI attendees on the field trip to WREK (photo: J. Waits)

On Thursday, October 25, 2012, a bus arrived at the conference hotel and picked up around 25 CBI attendees for a group tour of WREK. Cody Turner, the Operations Manager at WREK, met us at the hotel and was our official tour guide. When we got to the station, we broke into groups and toured through various parts of the station, including the spacious lobby, large on-air studio, and record library.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Radio Station Field Trip 39 - SCAD Atlanta Radio

Another sighting of the mysterious "Leo" sign at SCAD Atlanta Radio (Photo: J. Waits)

Last October I visited Atlanta in order to attend the national College Broadcasters Inc. (CBI) conference. I had a great time at the event and also spent a lot of time exploring Atlanta. Luckily there are a number of amazing college radio stations in town, so I made a point to visit 4 of them. I've already written about my trip to WRAS-FM at Georgia State University and on the same day of that visit (October 25, 2012), I also visited the station at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Atlanta.