Are you listening?
Campus Internet radio station celebrates new broadcast site with the release of local band compilation
Being a DJ at KCSC, Chico State’s student-run radio station, can be a lonely proposition. In fact, as a young, scruffy-haired music geek returning to CSUC for a second go-around, I myself once manned the turntables. Hitting the booth for the coveted Sunday-morning time slot, I would start the show with my weekly appeal for listener requests: “I have a five dollar bill in my hand, and I will get on my bike, ride to your home right now and give you this money if you call in and request a song during my show.”
I played exactly zero requests that entire semester.
That was back when the station was still aired over the old Chambers Cable. Since early 1999, “Internet only” has been added to the station’s name, and even though the station is experiencing a resurgence of energy and change, it’s not attracting a lot of listeners. As its current music director, Kirt Lind, puts it, “Things have been as lukewarm as they have been for years since we switched to Internet. It’s only ever so good.”
The KCSC crew is working on it, though. Before the current semester, the station gained total control of its Web space. The site had previously been under the domain of the Associated Students, which is where the station’s funding originates.
“We can have more listeners now on it—our listener capacity is a lot higher,” Lind explains, adding, “We just don’t have to deal with anyone else when we want to update something.”
The new site is appealing, with program schedules, music news and current playlists available, and as Station Manager Johanna McNulty explains, “The more control we have, the better.”
The ultimate goal is of course getting a low-power FM signal, but the limited local bandwidth combined with unpredictable FCC filing periods has made this a slow process.
“So many more people in this town would listen to it if it was on FM,” says Lind, “It would be the best choice for what to listen to.”
In the meantime, Lind and company have just finished putting together a KCSC compilation CD featuring 15 local bands (including Bear Hunter, Royal Crown and Gruk) and plan to unveil it at a live CD release party at the end of April.
On the way out of the station, I notice that the plastic fluorescent light covers are still lined with colored vinyl and the walls are thick as ever with layers of fliers, stickers and posters inside the old, beat-up Stiles Warehouse. The station remains a virtual time line of its history of broadcasting and promoting underground, or “college,” music.
And signs are pointing up—before I leave, Lind gets a call: "Someone wants to hear the new Modest Mouse single."