Saddleback College’s KSBR Garrison West and Dawn Kamber discuss how the campus radio station has benefited its students and also how it distinguishes itself from other college radio stations.
“KSBR is a radio station, but it does not fit the traditional mold a college radio station,” West said. “In a lot of college radio stations people do their own thing, they play their own music, they are very free form. We are strictly formatted, we are contemporary jazz station, but we do have specialty shows over the weekend. We have Blues, Reggae, and The ’80s experience on Sunday evenings.”
Kamber is KSBR’s news director, while West is a DJ for the station. She gave a list of skills that students learn and can do after going through the Radio program at Saddleback.
“There are many skills to learn being a DJ,” Kamber said. “You can do promotions. Promoting different artists you could promote different events.”
Communication is the key skill that Kamber believes students will learn by the time they walk away from working in the field of radio.
“I think the best thing for students being involved for students is they learn communication skills,” Kamber said. “Because if they can communicate through a microphone to people you don’t know, you are going to have an easier time communicating with people you do know.”
Kamber believes talking on the radio forces students to think before they talk in a conversation.
“You have to understand what you’re going to say prior to saying it on the air,” Kamber said. “And in accordance with discussion with friends and family one should know that they are going to talk about before they say it.”
Garrison was a Saddleback student who studied under KSBR’s Terry Wedel, a former Radio instructor.
“I started out in 2005, I first started out with Dawn Kamber in the news department,” West said.
At the time, he was taking Radio Production 1 and 2. In the summer of 2006, Garrison began doing his first live radio air shifts. He started out doing two shifts a week.
He currently does the “morning drive” shifts on Wednesday mornings, the “news hours” between 6 and 9 a.m.
“The cool things about the morning drive is that there is so much going on,” West said. “We have news at the top and bottom of the hour, we have traffic every 15 min, 15 after, 30 after, 45 after. We have weather, we have AP network news at the top of the hour, so we have a lot going on as opposed to other parts of the day when there is only traffic or weather and there is no news to report.”
West credits the morning drive as a launching pad for helping students gain valuable experience that lead to future jobs.
“We have had students that have come through the program who were on the morning drive and now have full time jobs across the country doing radio which is what they came here to do,” West said.
Kevin Wyart, a former student of Kamber’s, is an example of how KBSR has helped its students by providing them with work experience. Wyart is currently working as a sports announcer at Humboldt University.
“He transferred to Humboldt and just by being there he has gotten job offers because he worked hard with KSBR doing play by play sports, doing sports on the radio, he even did some news,” Kamber said. “He says his experience at KSBR is paying off and he is overjoyed and happy as we are for him.”
Another example is Ben Maller who is a sports announcer of Fox Sports.
“He is very successful in that area,” West said about Maller’s sports broadcast career.
Matt Johnson is a reporter and anchor who volunteers his time at KSBR. He has credits the station for gaining radio experience.
“I have volunteered at KSBR for over a year and in that time I have reported from a number of big events,” Johnson said. “I’m studying journalism at Cal State Long Beach right now, but really the experience and opportunity that Dawn has given me I don’t that anyone can get from anywhere else.”
West admits that the students who has have gone on unto getting jobs in the radio business marketed themselves while students at Saddleback College.
“All these guys marketed themselves, they didn’t wait and sit in the studio hoping someone would drive by Interstate 5 and hear them on the radio and hope someone would give them a job,” West said.
KSBR can be heard on 88.5 FM and online at www.ksbr.net.