KSBR provides unique experience for Saddleback students

Terry Wedel sits in the control room of the Saddleback’s award-winning radio station, KSBR. (Norelle Lohmann)

Norelle Lohmann

One of the most unique programs at Saddleback College is the radio-broadcasting program which contains the radio station KSBR and the new online station, OC Rock Radio.

“It is very rare for a college, in particular a community college, to have a station that students have access to,” said Terry Wedel, director of general programming at KSBR.

Students who have been on KSBR have gone on to have successful jobs in the radio entertainment world, Wedel said.

“We have a student who just got hired by CBS radio up in L.A. and he’s a board engineer for the facility that has K-Earth, the Wave, and AMP Radio in it,” Wedel said. “The big thing in radio is getting experience. You have to go in with an audition tape of what you’ve done, like a portfolio, and you can’t do that unless you have been on a station. This is a chance for people who really want to do this.”

At KSBR, students are able to get airtime on the radio or work behind-the-scenes with programming after they have taken two prerequisite classes: Audio Production and Radio Broadcasting. These classes teach students how to use the equipment and how to develop their on-air skills. Students can then enroll in Advanced Radio Broadcasting, where they receive credit for their on-air time, as well as, time they spend working on programming, promotions, music, and sales.

“[Students] can start working and take the two introductory classes, for example, in the fall, and in fact by the end of the semester they can be on the air,” said Wedel.

Students can be in charge of things such as running control boards and selecting music, as well as, broadcasting on air. They learn from each other and from teachers.

“The students do a really good job of mentoring each other,” Wedel said. “We encourage that students do that a lot, as you learn something even better when you have to teach it.”

Students can enroll in the On-Air Advanced class four times, as well as the other summer class that is offered, which can also be taken four times. This gives the students the ability to actually get experience for two years if they wish. It is even available for students to continue after this length of time as “community volunteers,” because they can no longer be enrolled in the class, but still wish to continue with the station.

Students wishing to gain experience aren’t limited to KSBR’s smooth jazz station thanks to one of the newest additions to the department. KSBR has recently launched its new, online radio station, OC Rock Radio, which focuses on alternative rock music rather than the smooth jazz that the KSBR station plays.

“Students can go in there and be heard, they can get actual practice doing [alternative formatics], so that if they want to go off and be on a commercial radio station doing an alternative format, they can do that,” Wedel said. “And the pressure of doing that live is gone, because they do it on a voice track.”

OC Rock Radio has been up and running for approximately one year. It is an online-only station that plays music all day with recorded broadcasts. The station plays music from bands from the Orange County area in addition to well-known bands such as Slipknot, Metallica, Pearl Jam, and Offspring. They also offer tickets to shows and events such as Warped Tour, Summer Slaughter, and Cursive, which listeners have the chance to win by entering contests.

OC Rock Radio has interviews with local bands from the Southern California area, and plays their music on the station. Any band can gain the chance to be heard through the station by contacting the appropriate department through the Web site’s “Submit” section.

The radio program funds most of the money that it spends throughout the year through its yearly concert, the Birthday Bash.

The Birthday Bash features forty contemporary jazz musicians who leave their usual bands in order to come play at the bash, along with several surprise guests.

It does one other main fund-raiser during the year, and is currently working on adding a new fund-raiser to its list, “The Taste of Jazz,” although with the current economic issues putting together a new fund-raiser is difficult, according to Wedel.

For more information or to listen, visit: www.ksbr.net, www.ocrockradio.com, or www.live365.com.