Archive for Wednesday, October 19, 2005

KJHK celebrates 30 years on air with long-winded party

October 19, 2005


It's dodged death and overcome its share of controversy, and now Kansas University's student-run radio station, KJHK-FM 90.7, is celebrating its 30th birthday.

"KJHK is obviously an established musical force and pacemaker in the community," program director Philip Torpey said.

The party runs through this month with special guests and shows celebrating the 1975 birth of the station as it is today.

"We're trying to reach everyone in our audience," said Courtney Ryan, station manager and DJ.

Operated out of the rugged Sudler House Annex, affectionately called "The Shack," KJHK plays tunes 24 hours a day, every day, all year. The station reaches about 40 percent of KU's students, said Andrew Dierks, general manager and faculty advisor.

As it rounds the three-decade mark, the station reflects on a colorful past. A radio presence on KU's campus dates back to the 1950s. In the early days, the station was "The Sound of Young Moderns." In the 1970s, it became "The Sound Alternative."

Laura Watkins, a kansas university senior from Lenexa, plays CDs and LPs on her KJHK radio show "Breakfast for Beat Lovers." KU&squot;s KJHK-FM radio station celebrates its 30th anniversary this month.

Laura Watkins, a kansas university senior from Lenexa, plays CDs and LPs on her KJHK radio show "Breakfast for Beat Lovers." KU's KJHK-FM radio station celebrates its 30th anniversary this month.

Its first broadcast as KJHK was Oct. 15, 1975. Its history isn't without controversy.

In its early years, the station issued a phony report that a nuclear meltdown killed thousands in Waterloo, Iowa. It was a mistake, Dierks said.

In the 1980s, a DJ swore at Oklahoma basketball coach Billy Tubbs following a game.

Today, profanities in songs are edited. And DJs can't use them either.

But DJs say they get plenty of elbow room to play what they want.

"I think we're really free to do what we want to do, and that's the cool thing about the station," said Laura Watkins, DJ and live events director. "The administration here is really relaxed about our station."

The station weathered another storm in 2002, when the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, which had operated the station, dropped it. KJHK's future was uncertain until an agreement was reached to transfer the station from the journalism school to KU Memorial Unions.

The station likely will abandon its aged digs in upcoming years in exchange for the more central location of the Kansas Union. When that happens, there will be some separation anxiety.

But Torpey said the future looks bright.

As long as the station continues with its quality programming and caring staff, "there will be no problem having one continuous streak of glory," he said.

Birthday festivities

Listed below are some of the events planned in recognition of the 30th birthday of Kansas University's student-run radio station, KJHK-FM 90.7:

¢ KJHK and KU's Student Union Activities will host Chuck D, founder of the hip-hop group Public Enemy. Chuck D will give a lecture at 8 p.m. today in the Union Ballroom of the Kansas Union. ¢ LCD Soundsystem and The Juan Maclean will perform at 9 p.m. Thursday at the Granada Theatre. ¢ KJHK presents "Plow The Fields," a free local show at the Bottleneck on Friday.


Gary Hawke 12 years, 4 months ago

Happy Birthday KJ! It was my pleasure to have served KJHK as its Faculty Advisor for over a third of its life. I have hundreds of great memories created by the talented and dedicated KJ staffers. I miss you all more than you know.

I'm so happy the Memorial Union adopted this award-winning and fun-loving student organization. Here's to at least 30 more years of bringin' the tunes to the world!

Rock On KJ!!! Thanks for the memories.

P.S. I'd love to hear from you. My KU email is still working. Gary Hawke

coattailrider 12 years, 4 months ago

Thank God KJ isn't in the J School anymore. The late 80's/early 90's were a rough time for the station when the faculty was trying to ride the college/alternative wave towards their idea of "professionalism," totally forgetting that stations like KJHK are the breeding grounds for new and exciting voices in music and entertainment. The J school wanted to turn it into the 1st step along the road to Local TV Anchor Mediocrity. Luckily, it's still around. I just want to know, what is going to happen to all that vinyl still in the old, downstairs studio? Don't toss it in the trash like what happened with all the classic punk albums back in '89/'90. From the Left Coast, Chip Walker.

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