Shana Sheehy, station manager, said the University of Alaska Anchorage's student-run radio station has only one major goal: “We want to be heard.”
Though the station is on air from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily, the power output at KRUA is so low that it is difficult to pick up the station around town, especially at the UAA dorms. “We are hoping FCC obstacles are about to fall away after years of obstruction,” Sheehy said.
Still, the station has been successful in finding other ways to get their message out. Last weekend, they debuted on the UAA cable channel 42, the university's television station for telecourses and announcements. KRUA now provides the audio content for the channel during the weekends.
Other goals are to serve its public as best it can by airing new music and edgy affairs programming. “We want to become more of a live presence on campus, hopefully a new remote kit will help with that,” she said.
KRUA, which has numerous volunteers from the community, only has a couple vacancies: a student engineer and an assistant news director. Other than those, they are staffed with 10 students.
She said that the most senior staff member at the station has been an employee for two years. The next most senior staff members are Sheehy and her music director, who have been at the station for more than a year and a half. Other staff members are as new as one semester.
“However some of our volunteers have been at the station for years, almost as long as we have been an FM station,” she said.
Sheehy doesn't have any family or work responsibilities other than the station, but said she does have a pretty heavy class load, but her biggest challenges are the unexpected: personnel problems and crises. The day to day running of a station brings constant organizational challenges, though, so keeping organized is important.
“Suddenly I'm the one that needs to always have the answers!” Sheehy said.
The biggest costs of the station have been equipment and salaries. Items have become damaged and equipment is updated “whenever we can afford it or when we're lucky enough to get a grant.”
The station did just do an upgrade of its production room and is having an open house to celebrate this and its nine years on air as KRUA. They are finishing an install for their production room this week. Sheehy said, “Everything in that room is now going through a digital board—we're going to sound sooo great!”
The station manager finds the best thing about working in student media is the freedom to be creative and to try new things. “If you've got an idea for anything on the radio, we can make it happen. I love student radio for this reason. Plus it's fun. I spend most of my time making sure others are doing their work, that way the station operates at its best. I also try to guide people in their work toward a common goal.”
Before working at KRUA, Sheehy worked an assistant producer for Gavel to Gavel Alaska in Juneau, as a volunteer for KTOO public TV and radio in Juneau, and at KJUD, the Superstation channel in Juneau. She also “waited on lots and lots of tables” and spent years traveling in and out of the country.
In the future, she would like to continue working for public radio. “I really love the programs they air. My favorite program is PRI's `The World.' Maybe I could find my way to their studios!”