The Gustavus student radio station, KGSM, successfully restarted last year after the latest in a series of setbacks, which have impeded its existence on campus for over the past twenty years.
“[Co-President of KGSM] Alma Jorgensen and I… wanted a fully functioning radio station and to make sure that KGSM as a student organization had a bright future,” Sophomore and Co-President of KGSM Daniel Wang said.
KGSM has been restarted a number of times, beginning in the 1980’s when its FCC license expired and was not renewed. A new wave of interest in the 2000’s brought back interest in the station and during the 2005-2006 school year, KGSM debuted its first podcast. In 2007, the station experienced another setback when the KGSM computer crashed, taking down with it the only way to produce live broadcasts. In 2011, KGSM was given a new studio space inside Beck Hall, previously having been located in the Campus Center.
This new studio, however, was not supported through a budget and there was a general lack of training on the new equipment for interested students. The newest restart is directed towards producing quality work and collaborating with other groups on campus as a key resource for campus news.
There was an extensive to-do list for restarting the station, including acquiring funding from student government, fixing mechanical issues in the studio, and creating a KGSM executive board to be in charge of future decisions and changes.
“We have had to buy new recording equipment for the studio, and we have also had to work on rebranding the club as well as getting more publicity,” Sophomore and KGSM Treasurer Kelly Heffley said.
“We were quite successful in preventing KGSM from dipping into irrelevance again… going forward, we want to expand on the social media and promotion side of radio, as we want to get more listeners to hear all of our wonderful shows,” Wang said.
“We also have big plans in the works for 2022, which will mark the one hundredth anniversary of KGSM’s inception. This may seem like it’s very far away in the future, but we want to have the club growing and thriving by then so we can have a really exciting one hundredth anniversary year,” Sophomore and Risk Manager Solveig Stafford said.
“[My Roomate] checked out their tabling booth in the fall of my freshman year. Although he didn’t end up joining, I always had that thought in the back of my head… I was interested in working in radio or broadcasting in the future,” Wang said.
Later, at the end of fall semester freshman year, “I had a really long intellectual talk with a classmate and friend of mine and we both suggested that we could start our own podcast. Starting spring semester, we contacted the KGSM president… and I ended up joining KGSM.” Wang said.
Music production is a hobby of his, which Wang has found ties in nicely with understanding how the electronics and microphones work in a radio studio setting.
“[I first heard about KGSM] through my friend Alma last year when she was hosting her Sohre not Sorry show. I was interested in having a show last year but was unable to until this year since the station was down,” Heffley, who hosts Panera’s Box with Sophomore Anna Edblad said.
On Panera’s Box, Heffley and Edblad play music and “talk about our weekly passions” Heffley said. It is hosted every other Friday.
“ [I] host a Classic Alternative radio hour with my roommate called The Black Lodge. I will soon be presenting a Safe Sexy Fun Times radio hour out of the Center for Inclusive Excellence, and I’ve even used the radio station’s resources to create a discussion livestream that served as a midterm project… The opportunities to be creative in KGSM are endless,” Stafford said.
“KGSM endeavors to give Gustavus students a solid platform and recording space for their voices to be heard”, as well as providing experience for anyone who wants to learn more about or get into radio, broadcasting, or podcasting. “It is also fun when students have their shows up and running and their listeners start to interact with them through social media,” Wang said.
“I think KGSM is relevant to students on campus because everyone has a topic they love talking about, or music they want to share with people who might enjoy it. There is no limit to what you can have a show about on KGSM… it is exciting to have so much freedom in what we out on the air,” Heffley said.
“Feel free to follow @panerasbox on Instagram and send us a DM… we can help get you involved,” Heffley said.
“If you want to be inventive, share your interests and music preferences, have a platform for activism, get involved in a leadership role, or just want to know the technological workings of a radio station, this is definitely the club for you,” Stafford said.
Anyone interested in joining KGSM and hosting their own talk show, learning how production works, or to play music for the livestream should attend the KGSM club meetings every third Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. in Beck 121. Interested parties can also reach out to Daniel Wang or Alma Jorgensen, or follow the KGSM Instagram page, @radiokgsm.