KSTM offers opportunities, experience

by Jesse Stewart

How many Simpson students actually know that the college has a radio station? My guess is that, despite a few who have been involved with the radio station in recent years, the majority of current students did not know this.

Well, for those that did not know, Simpson College is the proud owner of a great college radio station. KSTM 88.9 FM has been around since the early ‘90s, when the college worked to bring a radio station to campus.

The station was formerly housed on the third floor of the Brenton Student Center (BSC), and it was a greatly used teaching tool and student activity for many years. However in recent years, due to questionable management and other factors, students lost interest in the radio station and it began to fall apart.

Fast-forward to today, and KSTM is off the air. Like everything else that was housed in the BSC, KSTM had to be moved to make way for the construction of the new Kent Campus Center. With the move, the Communications and Media Studies department, along with college administration, had to find a new home for KSTM.

This moving process, however, is the main cause of frustration for myself, other interested students, the communications department and perhaps administration as well. As the current KSTM station manager, it is becoming extremely frustrating to not have a fully-functioning radio station to work with.

I am currently a junior at Simpson. I don’t have much time left before my Simpson experience is over. For me, my experience and education is being hurt without an on-air radio station to work in and operate. My goal after graduating with a multimedia journalism degree is to go into the radio business. I cannot gain much of the experience I need with KSTM off the air.

Sure, there are always internships for me to look into, but some of those can be competitive. Besides, it’s hard for me to have an internship during the school year because I’m focused on classes and activities with my friends.

Having a working college radio station like KSTM is nice because if I have two hours between classes, I can get on the air for an hour and gain some experience. There’s no drive to Des Moines or anything. All I have to do is take a ten-minute walk from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house over to McNeill Hall and sit down at our new studio location.

There are also other students who want to take part in what KSTM has to offer. Whether for academic purposes or just for fun, I have interviewed about 20 students this fall about being DJs for KSTM. That number is significantly higher than in past years and that’s exciting. It’s no secret that KSTM was falling apart and long forgotten. But with my remaining two years at Simpson, I want to help KSTM reach the full potential that I know it can.

Why can’t KSTM broadcast Simpson and Indianola sports? Why can’t we broadcast concerts and forum events in case students or the public missed them? Why can’t KSTM be the voice of Simpson College, the city of Indianola and of Warren County? Here’s an interesting fact, KSTM is the only licensed FM radio station in Warren County. The only one.

Somebody has dropped the ball in regards to KSTM’s move. I am not about to point fingers at anyone, but I will say that something needs to be done and fast. Having KSTM presents a great opportunity to the Simpson campus, the city of Indianola and Warren County. If KSTM would cease to exist I feel it would be a wasted opportunity and it would be a waste of money already spent to build a new studio.

My only request is that something be done about KSTM so eager students such as myself can have the opportunity to take something and rebuild it. When I’m asked about my Simpson experience in 20 years, I want to be able to tell people that I was a leader in rebuilding KSTM.

So to whoever has the power to fix this, please do so. Give us the chance to rebuild a great campus activity and add to our Simpson experience.

Jesse is a junior and multimedia journalism major at Simpson. He is the station manager at KSTM and a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. In his free time, Jesse plays guitar in a number of bands across Iowa.