Student Life Archives (2001-2008)

Newly constructed KWUR studio ready for air

David Brody

In the midst of major expansion, Washington University’s KWUR radio station has completed work on a new professional-quality recording studio. KWUR plans to use the new facility to record, edit, and produce interviews, sound clips, live performances, and student music groups.

“The recording facilities at KWUR will improve the quality of our on-air programming and provide an outlet for [student interest] on campus,” said junior Michael Bortinger, KWUR’s general manager.

The new recording studio is built from top-quality professional equipment and features an advanced mixing console, digital recording capabilities, and a powerful Apple G5 computer. While the new facility will be used extensively by KWUR itself, other students will also have a chance to take advantage of the studio. Bortinger explained that while they have yet to finalize the terms, students will be able to use the studio for a small fee-or possibly for free-to record their own original content.

The new facility represents only one aspect of the KWUR station leaders’ efforts to improve the quality of programming at KWUR and create a unified community of music-lovers on campus. Other recent changes include the installation of a fiber optic line, a newly redesigned Web site, and the formation of new committees to address changing student interests.

Bortinger explained that he hopes the redesigned Web site will allow students to more easily listen to and interact with the station. While an exact rollout date is not yet set, the new Web site will allow users to see what song is currently playing, browse show schedules, submit requests, and search the playlists of earlier shows. Though many of these features are already available through the current KWUR Web site, the redesign will offer greater usability and a more intuitive interface.

“[Besides on the radio,] we want people to listen to us online. We want anyone to be able to sign on and access all of our resources and interact with the community,” said Bortinger.

KWUR’s fiber optic cable, which has already been installed, will improve the quality of the station’s over-the-air signal. Though the signal is still not available on the South 40, students can pick it up at most other locations throughout St. Louis.

Station leaders hope continuing improvements will encourage more students to get involved in KWUR as well as spark an interest in communications in general.

“A student at KWUR will be able to gain valuable experience doing broadcasting, music production and promotions, as well as working with one of the largest student group budgets on campus,” said Bortinger.

Though KWUR is expanding and branching out to address many new aspects of broadcasting, production, and recording, the quality of day-to-day radio programming will continue to be the station’s primary concern. Currently, KWUR plays nearly every genre of music, including rock, hip-hop, classical, blues, jazz, and techno. Most shows, however, are only one hour long.

In the past, hour-long shows have caused each broadcast day to contain a very wide variety of music but lack a certain amount of cohesion. This year, station leaders hope to offer more two-hour shows to improve the consistency of the station’s programming. For student DJs, the lengthened time slot provides a unique opportunity to expose their listeners to their favorite underground music groups. There is only one rule at KWUR-the music should be underexposed.

“This is not the same music you’re going to hear on every major radio station in St. Louis,” said Boringer. “The student DJs control all of the music.”

In the future, KWUR hopes to gain more listeners and use the new recording facilities to create and distribute high quality original content.

“Ideally,” said Bortinger, “KWUR should be a student group where you can learn and play and gain experience in production while meeting others with similar interests.”

KWUR currently offers a DJ service for events, and can be heard on the radio at 90.3 FM or from their Web site at http://www.kwur.com.

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