Keep Radio K going strong

The Student Services Fees Committee and the community must support Radio K.

The Student Services Fees Committee will release final funding recommendations this week. Its initial recommendation Feb. 28 to cut 30 percent of Radio K’s request was a shortsighted overreaction. Hopefully, it will reconsider, as it might mean the loss, and would surely lead to the weakening, of an invaluable University institution.

The committee’s main complaint is Radio K did not respond effectively to the committee’s criticism last year, which mandated that Radio K’s decreased listenership be addressed. This belief was likely reinforced by Radio K failing to send someone to the Feb. 25 committee meeting. In a recent editorial, we tended to agree, saying Radio K could do more to increase its campus presence.

Radio K must deal with this perception, but it seems both this board and the committee failed to notice Radio K’s progress.

Radio K has taken multiple steps to make itself better known. It has a “street team” to specifically address such concerns. It is seeking to DJ more events, including the Como Cook-Out, Gophers After Dark activities and, later this spring, Spring Jam. Radio K has also increased its news broadcasts, now having a 15-minute, daily news broadcast. This is particularly important. Radio K is the best hands-on learning opportunity for broadcast journalism students.

Even the listenership numbers can be misleading, as they do not include Radio K’s many international listeners. Radio K’s online presence introduces the University to multitudes worldwide. Locally, Radio K plays a huge part in the Twin Cities music scene, helping bands and venues survive. For example, the rising career of local band Kid Dakota was spurred on by Radio K.

Currently, Radio K is particularly vulnerable. It has new competition in 89.3 The Current and lost three important staff members to that new radio station. Its unfortunate lack of representation at the Feb. 25 meeting seems partly because of one of these departures. On the upside, Radio K is also close to a huge breakthrough: having an FM signal reach campus.

On Wednesday, the committee heard from a battalion of Radio K supporters and hopefully took them to heart. Not only should the committee get behind Radio K, so should the rest of the community. If you run a coffee shop, consider playing Radio K. If your student group needs a DJ, consider “hiring” Radio K (it’s free). Radio K is happy to cater to your tastes, so if you want Massive Attack, great; but if you’d prefer a wide variety of popular music, that’s fine, too.

We have also opined that if push came to shove, the University community must get behind Radio K. We had no idea it would happen this soon, but it has, and we all must support Radio K.