Lifestyle

KSDT Radio Plans to File for $100K AM Tower

“Fiercely independent” student radio station KSDT has given up on plans to obtain an FM frequency. Station managers are now looking to build a radio tower to pursue an AM frequency instead. KSDT station co-manager Meredith Wong said that the AM tower would cost approximately $100,000 and that she hoped it could be located in a central area of campus — although she was unsure where that would be. “We’re really serious about it, but we haven’t started much of the research,” Wong said. According to KSDT executive-at-large Marcus Rosario, the station met with Communications General Corporation consultant Robert Gonsett on April 7. Gonsett has also advised campus media outlets such as Triton Television and UCSD-TV, the administration’s official TV station. Gonsett said it is highly unlikely KSDT will be able to acquire an FM frequency, due to a high concentration of frequencies in the city of San Diego and across the U.S.-Mexico border. Rosario called UCSD a “black zone,” meaning there are already too many radio stations with high-power FM transmitters in the area for a new station to compete. Gonsett said the last possibility for KSDT to obtain an FM frequency would be if the UC Board of Regents were to purchase a failing local station, 107.5, but that the likelihood of that is very low. “FM is still a really big longshot,” Rosario said. Alternatively, Rosario is looking into possibilities suggested by Gonsett such as HD radio — like Sirius and XM —, AM radio or broadcasting the station’s programming over UCSD-TV. Of these options, Rosario said he believes KSDT’s best bet is to go after an AM frequency. Wong said that because AM stations broadcast music at a lower frequency, and thus lower quality, they are not as commercially profitable as FM stations and are therefore easier to obtain. In addition, she said that applying for an AM station would be a lot simpler. On FM, KSDT would need to have both a tower and base station approved by the Federal Communications Commission, while an AM frequency would require a license for the tower only. Wong added that Gonsett told KSDT managers about a loophole that would allow them to broadcast their material without censorship. “The tower would have to be licensed, but if we only broadcast within the circumference of the campus, there’s a loophole for college campuses, and we wouldn’t have to get a license,” she said. Rosario agreed that an AM station is the most feasible option for KSDT. “At this point, we are going to pursue AM radio,” he said. However, Wong said that — as there are only four weeks left in the 2009-10 academic year — it is unlikely KSDT will acquire an AM frequency before next fall. She said the station will prepare the necessary paperwork over the summer, including filing an application with the Federal Communications Commission. “We do have to apply with the FCC, but it’s not as heavy as an FM application,” Wong said. “There are a lot of people who are involved, but it’s starting the process of [talking] to the right people.” Rosario said the project will be expedited by the fact that both he and Wong will be returning to UCSD next year. He said they hope to make their AM debut early next year. “We want to get the project rolling in the beginning of Fall Quarter, so we’ll have more momentum from hype and incoming members,” Rosario said. Rosario said the station will rely on student fees — allotted by A.S. Council — to fund the project, which includes hiring more consultants to advise AM station managers through the process, a legal representative to provide details about broadcasting on campus and updating KSDT’s equipment to work with the tower. A.S. Associate Vice President of Student Services Meredith Madnick, who works with organizations such as KSDT and TTV, said she supports KSDT’s endeavors. “With a bigger amount of money, it would definitely have to be something that we would have to present to council, and see if that’s something that they want to fund for when the time comes,” Madnick said. KSDT is unsure of how much the process will cost and will make a proposal to the A.S. Council Fall Quarter of next year. “[The cost] needs to be evaluated , like how much that will be,” Madnick said. “And it will be a huge chunk of money out of our mandate reserves. So, with this new council, I don’t know how they see it in terms of a funding priority.” Wong said she has plans to talk to councilmembers, UCSD administrators and the regents about the tower. “Land is really hard to obtain on campus, because a lot of people want land, and there are different guidelines for construction,” she said. “We’d have to meet with people to figure that out.” Vice President of Finance and Resources Andrew Ang said he will need to see a concrete budget proposal before deciding how much money the A.S. Council is willing to give KSDT for the tower. However, he said the student radio station will be a “top priority” next year. “When the budget is presented Week Nine, we’ll be able to look at it more,” he said. “The budget for the next fiscal year hasn’t been put out yet [by A.S. President Wafa Ben Hassine], but I understand this has been a priority for the past year. I really want to look at how feasible it is, and how the turnout would be for students.” Additional reporting by Ayelet Bitton. Readers can contact Jake Boissonault at [email protected] ...

Breaking News: Those With Depression Eat More Chocolate

[caption id="attachment_18318" align="alignright" width="287" caption="Rebekah Hwang/Guardian"][/caption] After nearly a year in the lab, UCSD researchers have scientifically proven the obvious: People eat more chocolate when they’re depressed. In 1999, Natalie Rose — a UCSD undergraduate at the time — worked with researchers on a study that concluded that there is no correlation between certain foods and depression — with the exception of chocolate. Nearly a decade later, Rose, now a gynecology resident at UC Davis, decided to head a joint UCSD-UC Davis study to pinpoint how many serving of chocolate correlated to varying levels of depression. “We were motivated by the fact that there is huge amount of lore linking chocolate to mood, with virtually no scientific evidence backing that up,” UCSD associate professor of medicine and co-director of the study Beatrice Golomb said. Just over 1,000 people over the age of 20 living in the San Diego area participated in the new study, which took place over eight months in 2009. They completed surveys on their chocolate intake — with no distinction between types of chocolate — and a questionnaire that included more general questions about food habits and moods. Participants were also screened to ensure they were free of such afflictions as diabetes and heart disease to ensure that they could remain in the study for the full eight months. Researchers compared the servings of chocolate consumed per month by those with and without signs of depression. The experiment showed that people with high occurrences of depression — as determined by their answers to the questionnaire — consumed about 12 servings of chocolate per month, while those who were generally less depressed ate about eight servings of chocolate per month. Those with no signs of depression ate only five servings of chocolate per month. (One serving of chocolate is approximately 1.3 oz, or the size of a regular Hershey’s bar.) Results also showed that participants who tended toward depression did not demonstrate a higher intake of other traditional comfort foods — those high in fat, carbohydrates, protein or caffeine. In conclusion, Golomb said, the most recent study showed that only chocolate consumption — not that of any other food — is increased when depression levels are higher. The results did not show whether chocolate actually makes people happier, more depressed or has no effect at all. However, Golomb said that researchers may soon launch a new study to determine these specifics. “We have become sufficiently interested,” Golomb said. “We are considering doing a randomized trial that would elucidate the relationship between chocolate and mood, to see if it is a causal relationship.” Readers can contact Megha Ram at [email protected] ...

Deparments Encounter Scantron-Machine Shortage

In the past, professors and teaching assistants in the cognitive science-department used other departments’ Scantron machines to grade their exams. This quarter, however, they were unable to find a department willing to loan them a machine. “Because cognitive science does not have its own machine, historically, we have begged access from other departments that do have machines and were willing to let us share,” cognitive-science professor Gedeon Deák said. In response, former A.S. Campuswide Senator Tobias Haglund — a student in the cognitive-science department — called attention to the issue on May 12 when he noticed that his midterms were not being graded and returned as quickly as before. Because many students rely on their first midterm grades to determine whether or not to drop a class, Haglund said this delay now endangers their ability to do so before the Week Four deadline. “The TA ended up having to do it all by hand,” Haglund said. “It took him two or two-and-a-half weeks. People were frustrated about drop deadlines. The professor sent out an e-mail saying, ‘Sorry — wish we could do something about it.’” Other departments, such as political science, have had similar problems. Associate Dean of Social Sciences David Lake said that since the social science Scantron machine has not been replaced from when it broke a year ago, he had to borrow the machine belonging to the mathematics department, which allowed him one-time access as a favor. Deák attributed the cognitive-science department’s grading troubles to UCSD’s across-the-board funding cuts. “As all departments have their budgets cut, we will probably see a trend toward shutting down or limiting services like Scantron scoring,” Deák said. “This is a concern, because budget cuts are projected to continue or even get worse over the next few years.” In an e-mail to the all A.S. councilmembers last week, Haglund proposed that the A.S. Council put some student fees toward a new system in which academic departments — and potentially students — could rent out Scantron machines. Haglund said a Scantron-lending service could take the responsibility of paying for machine repairs off the shoulders of hurting departments. Though Haglund said he was unsure where the money for the project would come from, the A.S. Enterprise Operations account might be a possible source. He also suggested that a 2010-11 campuswide senator chose the endeavor as one of his or her long-term projects for the year. Although Deák said that a centralized Scantron system is necessary at UCSD, he argued that the responsibility of funding the machines belongs not to the students, but to the office of Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Paul Drake. “I would argue that it is the university’s responsibility — through the VCAA’s office — to provide the main campus with resources for a grading facility,” Deák said. Readers can contact Connie Qian at [email protected] ...

Travel Guide

A beautiful country with a long and painful history, Uganda has been ravaged by strife and war for years; corrupt government regimes have left it one of the poorest countries in Africa. Now that colonial and civil wars have subsided, travelers can enjoy a relatively peaceful journey, but visitors are cautioned to avoid some northern regions and villages still affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. But overall, the people of Uganda are very friendly to foreigners, and travel is remarkably affordable. ...

Alaska

If you’re sick of La Jolla sand and sun and looking for a change in scenery, consider Denali National Park in Alaska. Stay at a hostel just outside the park, where fellow explorers are aplenty. Believe me: You’ll appreciate the company while heading off into a wilderness filled with real-life grizzly bears and wolves by the motherload, helping ensure your trip doesn’t end like Christopher McCandless’ journey “Into the Wild.” ...

Jamaica

Once your classical tropical locales get old and you need a break from Hawaii or Mexico, think a little farther south. I’m talking about Jamaica — the tropical paradise where every smiling face is excited to make you a member of the laid-back island family. ...

Thailand

Think of a magical place. One where you step outside and a mango smoothie is pushed into your hand. Where a whiskey and coke comes $2 by the bucket, and counterfeit designer clothing paves the streets. You, my friend, are entering a tropical slice of college-student paradise called Thailand. ...

Las Vegas

After spending this quarter confined in the suffocatingly sterile walls of Geisel Library, spring break on the vomit-lined streets of Las Vegas is exactly what every repressed UCSD student needs to blow off finals like a rock star. ...

France

It’s the oldest story in the book: You’re a travel-buggin’ college student, with big dreams and an empty wallet. When it comes to convincing your parents that a three-month trip to Europe could double as a fiscally responsible choice, however, it helps if you can spin it as a summer job — which is where the term “au pair” comes into play. ...

St. Thomas

La Jolla Shores is an eyeful, but it’s got nothing on the beaches of St. Thomas — a star member of the Virgin Islands, off the eastern edge of Puerto Rico. Think shell-strewn white sand that melts into a bath of warm turquoise water, a hammock tied between two gently swaying palm trees and the occasional wandering iguana. ...