KSTM to lose $12,000 in budget


by Andrea McNamara

KSTM, Storm radio, faces a proposed $12,000 cutback in their budget and an eventual end of operation.

“Cabinet’s view is that KSTM shouldn’t be around anymore and is on its way out,” said Jake Abel, student body president.

Last year KSTM had an $18,000 budget and made great strides toward their goal of increasing their number of listeners and making KSTM better known throughout the community.

“I think that we’ve just gotten started and that if we had the opportunity we could be awesome,” said KSTM station manager, junior Sara Neppl.

In the winter of 2001, a taskforce was put together to determine the potential of KSTM. They concluded that the radio station had aptitude, but was never utilized well in its eight years of existence. Still, many changes were made in a few short months, and in April 2001 Student Senate agreed to increase the radio station’s budget by $4000.

Since the taskforce first looked into the radio station and the budget was increased, there have been many changes made to KSTM.

The radio station changed its format, sporting events were broadcasted over the radio as a service to the community and station awareness had been promoted by a new logo that had been seen on t-shirts and window stickers. “Since the radio station had begun to turn around, we really didn’t see this big of a cut coming,” said Neppl.

“I think that as negative as it may be for the students participating in the radio station it was probably something that should have been expected,” said Rich Ramos, assistant dean of students.

“The suggestion by the cabinet was to faze out KSTM,” said Abel. The cabinet chose to reduce the KSTM budget to $6000. The cabinet looked at the proposed budget given to them by KSTM and picked out the things that were absolutely necessary to run the radio station. The senate gave them just enough money to cover those expenses, according to Cory George, junior class president.

This is the first time the budget has been cut back for KSTM. The budget will not have a huge impact on the day-to-day operation of the radio station, but it is not satisfactory to provide what could be needed in means of new equipment, according to Ramos.

“It would be hard for any organization to grow on limited funds,” said Ramos.

“The more money we have the better quality of programming we can provide,” said Brian Johnson, KSTM production manager.

Many of the students actively involved with the radio station keep their hopes up. They attended a student senate meeting held on Sept. 18 to show their support for KSTM. At that meeting the proposed budget was discussed and it became very clear that there were not many students that listened to the college radio station.

According to Abel, Senate does not want to cut KSTM, but at the same time wonders if it’s worth the money.

There are very few students that listen to KSTM loyally, Abel said. Some students cannot even pick up KSTM in their rooms.

“If the station is that important to students, Student Senate needs to hear from many more students,” said Abel.

“I think that the proposed budget cut is necessary,” said George.

The only opportunity a Simpson student has to learn about broadcasting is to work with KSTM. There is no broadcasting program and the last of the broadcasting classes were cut years ago.

“Ours is one of the few college radio stations that has no academic availability to learn about electronic broadcasting,” said Ramos.

“At Simpson, we don’t even have anyone with experience willing to commit the time to be the station’s advisor,” said Abel.

The taskforce brought up the idea to integrate some sort of academic backing, but there were no resources for it. Faculty in the communications department does not believe that there is room or requirement for a radio station at Simpson, according to Abel.

“The Simpson radio station was not designed to teach students about broadcasting, but to provide a service to Simpson students as a form of musical entertainment.” said George.

Although Simpson College has a strong communications program, Student Senate does not believe that it will lose any perspective students by cutting the radio station.

“There is not a student out there that would come to Simpson because of our run down radio station,” said George.

“Unless we can come up with a plan to dramatically increase listenership, participation, community involvement and academic relevance, I believe that KSTM should receive the budget cut and eventually be forced to shut down,” said Abel.

Despite the reasons stated by student senate, supporters of the radio station don’t want to lose the station.

“Over the past two years we’ve began to take a turn in the right direction,” said Neppl.

Students feel that disc jockeys gain broadcasting experience and learn how to deal with the day-to-day problems that arise. Although DJ’s do not get paid or receive any academic credit for working at KSTM, the station has increased the number of DJ’s by one third from last year.

“It’s hard to project what could happen within the next few years,” said Neppl.

The transistor is seven years old, and could possibly go out at any time. Last week when a thunder storm went though Indianola, a component of the transistor received some sort of power surge and was fried. According to Neppl, an engineer was called in to see how bad the damage was and the part was quickly fixed and the station was back on the air.

George said, “The growth of KSTM depends on the students of Simpson, not on KSTM itself.”