If you have seen “Pitch Perfect,” you know how alluring the prospect of working for a college radio station is: playing your own music, spending hours surrounded by dusty vinyl records and wearing flannel shirts. After a bit of a reality check and some lost expectations about the overbearing hipster energy associated with radio, we have a picture that resembles Pepperdine’s radio, KWVS.
KWVS is a student-run, online radio station. Over the summer, KWVS switched from FM radio and online radio to online radio only. Station manager senior Andy Krawtz explains the nature of this switch: “It didn’t make sense financially to stay on FM because the hills around campus blocked our off-campus transmitter, so the FM signal was blocked on campus locations anyway.” This switch to solely online broadcasting gives more creative initiative for programming.
According to KWVS, the station is limited by its number of listeners in more ways than one.
“To gain more listeners, we need more exposure. But, when trying to do events in order to get more exposure, we are often judged by our current numbers of listeners,” Krawtz said. To reverse this trend, KWVS is developing a more cohesive system.
In terms of technological change, the radio has been working with ideas to make radio more Pepperdine-centric and accessible to students.
“We are trying to develop podcasts, radio apps for smartphones and that whole scene and other things to try and reach people in a variety of ways,” Krawtz said.
A drive to involve more of Pepperdine as a community is the next step. “We’ve been aloof in years past trying to create a good product for campus, but now we feel we are ready to really benefit the campus with what we do,” Krawtz said.
KWVS started working with the Student Programing Board to stream live events on campus such as Coffeehouse. They are developing ways to bring Pepperdine news to students such as a top-of-the-hour news segment that will include events from the Student Programing Board and other on-campus organizations.
In addition to accessibility, KWVS is working on getting permission to broadcast around campus. Krawtz said that in the past the station has “been blocked from [broadcasting] by the powers that be.” Krawtz looks at this privilege as a step forward for not only the radio, but for many campus organizations: “If we gain this privilege, we can help get exposure to the Pepperdine organizations we are working with while gaining more exposure for ourselves.”
With talk shows covering sports, national news and Pepperdine and local news, KWVS encompasses wide and diversified tastes in music and talk radio. “As we have more students running shows (we have about 25 students this semester), the more variety we will have on air. This also means that there is usually something for the listener to latch onto,” Krawtz said.
With the rise of iTunes, Pandora and Spotify, music is becoming more personalized and easier to access. However, Krawtz has faith in the power of quality radio broadcast while realistically embracing the change: “Those of us at KWVS love what we do, we aren’t discouraged by trends away from radio and the quality of our station doesn’t waver because of hard times.”
KWVS is more than an outlet for news and music; it is also an outlet for creativity. Students don’t typically think of radio when it comes to a medium for expressing themselves, but it allows students who are encumbered by the fear of expression “to come alive behind a microphone and really pour themselves out and express their different passions during their shows,” Krawtz said. Make sure to tune into KWVS on kwvs.pepperdine.edu to hear about news around campus and to support your Pepperdine disc jockeys.
Follow the Graphic on Twitter: @PeppGraphic
As published in the Oct. 31 issue of the Pepperdine Graphic.