From the Ground Up

Student Center has been consumed with construction over the
last three years, and many of the site’s organizations have suffered as a
result. But at least one is ready to make a solid comeback: KSDT, UCSD’s
student-run Internet-broadcast radio station.

For the last two years, the station has been plagued with
construction-related issues and mechanical problems that has largely kept it
off the air. According to Sixth College senior and KSDT General Manager Ivan
Dominguez, delays began when a large mound of dirt was stored just outside the
radio’s DJ booth because of construction. Then disaster hit.

“There were really heavy rains that year and all that dirt
became mud,” Dominguez said. “It slid underneath the walls and came up through
the floors.”

The office was damaged during the mudslide and had to be
vacuumed for days, putting the station out of service for close to two quarters
and resulting in the loss of about half the station’s record collection. The
station’s aged, main mixing board then stopped working which postponed the
radio’s schedule yet again.

“Last year we were
inundated with construction,” KSDT Operations Manager Honoré Pedigo said. “We
tried to move some place else but it didn’t work out properly, so we were down
for the entire year. … This is our first quarter back after a year of being
gone. We’re actually really grateful for all the DJs who were here before and
who have now come back. It’s been a whole new challenge trying to advertise and
get everything back up and telling people we exist when they haven’t previously
seen us.”

The station’s staff faces one main obstacle in raising their
profile to gain an audience: UCSD students can’t stumble across the station on
the radio because KSDT only streams from its Web site at ksdt.ucsd.edu.

According to Dominguez, KSDT started out as a true radio
station, but soon had to move to purely online broadcasting.

“In a few years,
airways filled up and low frequency transmissions were outlawed by [the Federal
Communications Commission] in San Diego and Mexican airspace … even if we had a
signal, a lot of it would get squashed out by other signals.”

Pedigo added that the FCC expenses were another challenge in
becoming a real radio station.

“I would love to, but it’s just not feasible for us at this
point,” she said.

Instead, the station continually streams from its Web site
while remaining dedicated to its “fiercely independent” roots.

“We try to shy away from [playing] anything that really
deviates from the mission of the radio station, which is to provide an
alternate music source for everyone — stuff other than what you hear on the
radio,” Dominguez said.

Music Directors Cynthia Orantes and Juan Landeros decide
what can be played on KSDT; they listen to all CDs and demos sent to the
station, then choose what is added to the station’s library. The pair also has
the power to reject artists from KSDT broadcasts based on their rising
popularity on regular radio stations.

However, Pedigo said the types of music KSDT DJs play don’t
change based on the opinions of the music directors.

“DJs are required to play at least two new adds a show, but
other than that they can play whatever is in our music library or in their
personal library.”

The number of DJs changes at least every quarter, constantly
altering KSDT’s style of music.

“If you have never been a DJ before, we’ll train you and
give you a show if there’s a slot open,” Pedigo said. “We try to be as open as possible and as
friendly as possible.”

Although the station is currently broadcasting a random mix
of songs from its automated DJ, dubbed “Satan,” live shows should start within
the next two weeks. The station’s future plans include live bands, dance
parties and possibly even an online magazine.

KSDT fosters a relaxing and welcoming environment that
encourages students to discover new and unknown music.

“It’s just a big community space and you can just hang out
and meet people,” Pedigo said. “I can just come in, do my show, play the music
as loud as I want and just sit back and chill. There’s no better feeling in the
world for me than that. That will make my day.”

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