Campus radio station plans return for spring semester

By Steven Adamo

A packed room of students interested in bringing back the ELAC radio station KELA met Wednesday to discuss the roles they are interested in. Over 50 students responded to the flyer that was circulated. 

Students were encouraged to put their name under categories such as station administration, producers, engineers, on-air talent and off-air talent. 

Dylan O’Brien, photography and broadcasting professor, as well as the one spearheading this project, said that students were allowed to bounce between different roles in order to find the area that they’re most comfortable in. 

There’s a variety of skills that can be learned from the various radio jobs, O’Brien said, including audio engineering, arranging playlists and all the tasks necessary to create a quality show consistently. 

The station aims to become student-operated again in March 2024 according to O’Brien. 

Lee Zarate, professor of commercial music, was also present at the meeting, offering support on the technical aspects of recording. 

Zarate said that students could even arrange for artists or bands to record in the studio, using modern recording technology. 

The meeting really came to life when the students who were interested in producing lined up in front of the class to share their ideas for radio shows. 

A student named Daniel Machuca said he wanted to do an oldies radio show three times a week, as well as some modern music that is inspired by songs from the 1950s through the 1970s, sometimes 1980s. 

A few students showed interest in creating a show with interviews of ELAC faculty and students, as well as artists from around the community. 

There were plenty of students interested in music-based shows, from many different genres. Student Andrew Hernandez said he wanted to do a show focusing on metal and its many sub-genres. 

Other show ideas included a show where films are discussed, an open mic show with live in-studio recordings similar to other radio stations like KCRW and KEXP. 

Student Joey Mendez was interested in doing a story-based radio show, similar to the radio dramas that were popular on early radio, like Orson Wells’ “The War of the Worlds” from 1938. 

Students were encouraged to share their ideas in front of the class so that other students with similar ideas could work together, or those who are interested in doing off-air work can help support the shows they’re interested in. 

O’Brien said that if the radio station gains enough traction, it could lead to a television broadcast station on campus. 

KELA debuted on campus in 1967, though it has gone from online to offline throughout that history. Several pushes to bring the station back online over the years have occurred, but this effort seems to have gained more traction based on the student interest at the first meeting. 

Students interested in participating in the radio station next year are encouraged to enroll in Broadcast 001 where the final project is to create a 30 minute block of radio content.

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