Becoming a radio DJ seems at once like a vague idea. The personalities made famous by these airwaves are celebrities in and of themselves, albeit small ones, but still seem unreachable. In college, however, this can be a reality much easier than some students might be aware of.
There are many resources available to students on campus that they cannot receive elsewhere without paying expensive fees or passing through various rounds of competitive selection. Some of these UAA resources are specific to the corresponding program, such as video cameras and television studio use for Journalism students, specialized computer software and hardware for those in the Computer Science department, sound rooms for Music majors, and so on.
One resource offered by UAA differs from these, as it is open to students of all disciplines. That resource is the fully operational broadcast radio station, KRUA 88.1FM. With it, the dream of godly radio stature can be realized. The main studio in the PSB is fully equipped to transmit, and there is a remote studio located in the Student Union, from which DJs can also broadcast live shows amongst their peers trying to eat Subway in peace and quiet.
KRUA’s history dates back to the late 80’s when the station was known as KMPS. The first student broadcast was heard in early 1992 with the song “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” by REM. The station has continued to grow and develop since then, developing unique content in the form of shows, news broadcasts, promos, and more.
While getting one’s own show and becoming a reputable radio DJ can be a lot of hard work and requires dedication, it’s a very achievable goal with KRUA. Interested parties can begin simply by filling out and turning in a volunteer application, which can be found at the remote studio in the Student Union, at the station itself in the PSB in Room 254 and online at their website in a .pdf format.
The application is a simple form designed to determine information about the potential DJ such as if they are a student. About a week after applying, any student taking three credits or more with a 2.0 GPA or higher is approved to go on to the next step on the quest of DJ mastery: training.
Training takes roughly six weeks, but it can be shorter or longer depending on the DJ.
KRUA’s volunteer coordinator Danny Wilson said, “The quickest I’ve seen anyone do it is about four weeks.” Training consists of various levels of broadcasting elements, getting the student up to proficiency no matter what their educational background.
These training sessions begin with making promos or liners, advertising shows on the station, upcoming events, news or just quick little spots for the station itself. After a DJ is capable to put short pieces together and produce them up to a standard quality, the next step is on-air training. Generally this begins with a co-op session of air-time where the new trainee sits shotgun to a KRUA staff member until they are confident enough with board control to rock the decks solo.
After a student becomes fully trained, the next and final step on the road to becoming a college radio celebrity is to fill out a show proposal form. This provides space for all the information necessary for pitching a new show to the station, such as what kind of music it plays, topics it covers, who it would appeal to, and when it would be scheduled to air.
The kinds of shows that KRUA broadcasts are as varied and unique as the DJs who create them. From indie rock, to hip-hop, to electro, to talk, to reggae, to jazz, to blues; almost every genre is represented.
“We’re basically the most diverse station in the city. Everything except top 40 music,” Wilson said.
Some shows at KRUA have been there upwards of 15 years, the longest being ‘Vibes of the Times’ which has run for 18 years and counting by local personality Ras Jahreal. However, no matter the experience level a student has, the station is always looking for new DJs and new creative content.
As far as why students should pursue utilizing this resource, Wilson put it succinctly by posing the question, “How many opportunities do you get to have your very own radio show?”
*Much more information, as well as the volunteer application form, can be found on KRUA’s new and improved website: http://www.kruaradio.org