Inside KSPC: For Students by Students
December 12, 2011
by Ratik Asokan
I was recently talking to a friend of mine about radio stations and was confused that he had never heard about KSPC 88.7 FM, the local radio station that is run by students across the Claremont Colleges. I tried to describe it to him, but then realized that I did not know much about it, other than the fact that it existed. Wanting to learn more about the radio station, we decided to speak to a friend who is a DJ there. He happily showed us around to the station headquarters in the Thatcher building at Pomona. Now, listening to good radio from home is wonderful, but actually being inside a 55 year-old college radio station is a totally different experience. Entering KSPC is like walking into a BBC documentary about pop culture through the ages. The walls of the basement-studio are completely covered with posters, stickers and pictures of bands, concerts and funny slogans. Photos of old student DJs and some famous personalities adorn the waiting room. The hippie/indie paradise is completed with the presence of two turntables and shelves packed with endless rows of CDs and vinyls, showcasing the amazing collection of underground music that the station owns. In the main room are the two sets of broadcasting/recording equipment where the DJs work.
KSPC (Or KSpaCe, as it is now known) is a 24 hour station that was founded at Pomona College in 1956. It is a designated educational radio station that is committed to promoting music that major commercial radios will not air. From classical music to electronic, KSPC has a huge variety of shows. There is a strong emphasis on “non-mainstream” music, and DJs try to promote great indie and underground bands.
KSPC is run by students of the Claremont Colleges on a volunteer basis and this non-commercial, interest based functionality only adds to its charm. Along with music there are many quirky and engaging talk shows like the “Sunset Review,” which is an older show that includes “comedy cuts, novelty records, and its own brand of gentle silliness, biting satire, and sardonic absurdity.” Another show, the “NightCap,” is a popular sports radio talk show featuring eight members (4 CMCers) that airs on Monday nights from 8:00pm to 10:00pm. The station even devotes time to public announcements and news casting, making it truly a station of all trades. Some of the shows are even hosted by volunteers from the local community.
College radio allows student DJs to discover and share music and ideas that they have discovered, a unique opportunity in most college students’ experiences. There are some CMC DJs at KSPC as well. Drake Escrofani (or DJ Dashiel) has a show on Monday evenings that “ranges from Indie Pop to electronic.” Kevin Wallentine (an IR major) is the head of the World Music department and hosts the international music show. Students can come in for DJ training and even apply for their own show. All volunteers at the station have to put in volunteer hours every week where they listen and review new music for the station.
KSPC runs on a non-commercial basis and receives a lot of its music from underground record labels. I have discovered a lot of new music by listening to KSPC 88.7FM and hope that more students follow the channel and work at the station in the future.
KSPC can be streamed live online at this website. Give it a listen!