Kbeach Radio Looking to Expand Its Reach With Introduction of HDPublished: August 16, 2010
Kbeach isn’t just a student radio station on campus, although that certainly may be the perception. John Trapper is trying to change that.
“The station is taking the role of being a forum for the campus community in general,” said Trapper, acting general manager of Kbeach Radio and advisor for student media for Associated Students Inc. “It’s been a laboratory so it’s been under the radar, but I think we’ll see that change this year. We are now able to go worldwide and we can reach anyone. And, while our target audience is still going to be the campus community, I think a lot of what we are doing can be of great interest to the rest of the world.”
Trapper’s wider view comes from the fact that Kbeach is about to go HD, which will give it the ability to be picked up on your car radio and on the latest technology, such as that available on iPhones and Androids.
“We’re in the process of getting an HD signal, which will give Kbeach a number on the dial for all automobiles with new receivers,” said Trapper, noting that things are quite a bit different than when the station first began 11 years ago operating on just a pair of turntables. “Currently it is only available through the Internet, but that is about to change.”
And while the upgrade to HD is essential for the station’s success going forward, so is Kbeach’s programming, and that’s where Trapper is stepping up efforts to reach out to the campus community.
“We’ve done a certain amount of programs, but not to the point we want to do it now,” he said. “It’s always been available to the campus community on some level, but we’ve been primarily an Internet station and Internet radio really never took off here in America. Technology like the iPhone changes everything. It makes us a viable radio station around the world so we feel this is a great way for faculty, students and staff to promote their ideas and work and reach a larger audience.”
For those unsure if they want to venture into the world of campus radio, Trapper gives an open invitation to come visit Kbeach in the University Student Union and discuss the possibilities with him. The state-of-the-art facilities are a draw, he says, and getting on the air is a relatively easy process.
“We get tons of interest throughout the year, but lots of people see a microphone and they snap,” he laughed. “Anyone who wants to do a show here on Kbeach actually goes through a fairly quick training process. We try to make it really easy and really accessible.”
Trapper’s main requirement for those looking to do a show is that it be of interest to the campus community.
“We don’t want to do stuff that is being done elsewhere,” said Trapper. “If you are going to do a music show, for example, make it bands that are connected to campus or maybe bring in music from our Music Department. If you are going to do a political show put a campus perspective on it, or what is the student viewpoint. It’s got to have some stamp that makes it of interest to the university campus. In terms of faculty/staff, we want to address things that are happening on campus that are of interest to the world. That might mean a faculty member in the Engineering Department who has designed something amazing and wants to talk about it.”
Because there is some training involved, another requirement is that of commitment which helps in providing steady programming.
“At this point, a professor would get through the line quicker because we want consistency and a professor is more than likely going to be here for the next year or two and then they can also offer themselves as trainers to incoming students,” said Trapper. “We do ask for a commitment of some kind, but we are open to someone coming in and doing a feature or maybe they can be a guest on one of the shows.”
The Daily 49er, the student newspaper, is already committed for the coming year and will be doing news for the station. The Theatre Arts Department is doing a show called “Theater Talk,” and a show with the Chicano/Latino Studies Department is in the works.
“We’re just trying to do more of what we do here,” said Trapper. “There’s always been a forum, but it’s to the extent someone uses the forum. Our primary purpose here is to be an informative tool to the university. I asked (University Student Union Director) Dave Edwards to do a show because I knew he would bring content to the university that was timely and informative and he has had interviews with President Alexander, Police Chief Stan Skipworth and Vice President (Doug) Robinson. We have provided a lot of good information and we want to make that available to the campus. We want people to say ‘Hey, check Kbeach to see, for example, what’s going on with the flood.’ It’s live with up-to-date information.”
During a semester, nearly 100 students are involved with the station and Trapper says he has about 30 hosts – a mix of students, faculty, staff, alums and a couple of community members – doing one-hour shows.
“For example,” he said, “if a professor does a five-minute feature it will play regularly and because right now we don’t get many, it would get heavy play. As we get more, it would reduce the number of times it gets played, but that’s our job; we do ‘traffic’ management. If we think something is really important, we can decide to play it every hour for two weeks.
So who should come and check out what Kbeach can do for them? Well, Trapper encourages everyone and anyone on campus to check it out.
“If I went to school here, this would be one of the first places I would visit.”