Neppl’s heart and soul in KSTM

Neppl's heart and soul in KSTM

by Alicia Hicks

Junior Sara Neppl discovered her passion for communication while listening to the Buena Vista College radio station during her high school years at Wall-Lake View-Auburn High School in northwest Iowa.

“I would be driving in my car listening to the radio, and I would talk back to the DJs,” said Neppl. “They were on the air doing their thing, and they were still connected to the people in their cars. I wanted to be the DJ having that connection.”

Neppl came to Simpson College partially because of radio station KSTM-FM. For her, it wasn’t an option to go to a college without a radio station.

Neppl now fills the role of station manager for KSTM and has refused to let the music be silenced this year as the station faced great opposition from student senators who considered deep cuts in the station’s funding.

“She is a damn hard worker,” said junior Kim Lamon, a DJ for KSTM and roommate with Neppl for two years. “She will work her butt off and give everything she has to an organization.”

Neppl said she felt as if she had no background or qualifications for the station-manager position other than her two years of on-air time as a DJ.

Neppl wasted no time getting involved with KSTM, hosting a show her freshman year. She worked up to four or five hours of on-air time a week, which helped her gain a lot of experience. Last year, Neppl co-hosted a faculty-student show.

“I would say her involvement since freshman year has been huge,” said Lamon. “I would say music is a definition of her. Music is an extension of Sara.”

Neppl said she thinks she got the station-manager position because of her dedication and enthusiasm for KSTM.

“I live and breathe the station 24 hours a day,” Neppl said. “My alarm clock is set to KSTM.”

Students involved with the station said that she is doing an exceptional job despite the pressure she has been under due to the budget issues earlier this year.

Lamon said the proposed $12,000 budget cut was hard on Neppl because she believes deeply in the station and the opportunity it gives Simpson students.

“Everyone thought [the proposed budget cut] would be expected and we would see it coming, but I was blind-sided,” said Neppl.

The Senate revised the budget and gave KSTM enough money to operate this academic year, but many improvements were put on hold. The revised budget allotted KSTM $10,000 in addition to the carryover of $4,800 from the previous year.

“It makes us a lot more frugal,” said Neppl. “We cannot buy all the equipment we’d like to right now. The plan is to use the budget for programming and at the end of the year if there is any money, buy a new phone system.”

Junior Matt Edwards, who managed the station last year, said Neppl’s leadership skills helped the station through the rough time.

“She brought everyone together and got everyone involved,” said Edwards. “She takes charge and gets things done but also isn’t afraid to delegate.”

Many of Neppl’s personality traits make her a good station manager. Lamon said Neppl is goal-oriented, open minded, approachable, motivated and dedicated.

The station manager is responsible for music and program direction. In addition, Neppl is the contact for promotion and record companies. She also schedules and manages about 50 students involved with KSTM.

“She basically is the station. I know from doing the job,” Edwards said. “She does the behind-the-scenes running of the station.”

Neppl said she hopes that KSTM is never shut down, because college radio is essential to the college experience and culture.

“What kind of college doesn’t have a radio station?” said Neppl. “I think KSTM has a lot of potential, and I want KSTM to be an important part of Simpson.”

Neppl offered advice to other organizations facing opposition.

“I would say believe in yourself and what you are doing,” said Neppl. “It’s not easy to know people want to shut you down. Keep in mind that not everyone opposes you because you are serving the students.”