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Student-run media outlets highlight student creativity and passion

Radio K, The Tower and The Wake find success in a new school year.
Image by Wejdan al Balushi
The Minnesota Daily visited with leaders from RadioK, The Wake and The Tower.

University of Minnesota students are actively engaging in student-run media outlets on campus, such as Radio K, The Wake and The Tower. 

The Minnesota Daily visited with leaders from all three outlets to gain an understanding of what each one is about.

Radio K

Radio K is the student-run radio station at the University that broadcasts AM, FM and online music streams and hosts live music shows in their studios. 

“It’s built by students and it’s for students,” said Charlie Klage, a fourth-year business student and Radio K’s program director. 

Some shows hosted by Radio K include the “Real College Podcast,” “The Sports Hour” and a variety of music shows and DJs. 

Linnea Ouimet is a volunteer at the station who works on the regular variety shift, “Basement Vinyls” show and “Those Meddling Kids,” a show where high school students are able to DJ on Radio K. 

Along with their extensive library of CDs and their growing numbers in their electronic library, Radio K houses many vinyls. Ouimet is one of multiple volunteers working to organize the plentiful numbers.

“We have about 3,000 vinyls in our library that are completely unorganized,” Ouimet said. “Before this project, you might know something’s in there, but only now be able to pull all the really cool stuff we have.” 

With 32 students on staff, dozens of volunteer DJs and many other volunteers, Klage said it can be a challenge to coordinate and make sure everyone is doing what they need to do. 

According to Ouimet, Radio K is the island in the sea of the University filled with a great group of people.

“Because it’s all run by students, it feels very of ourselves,” Ouimet said. “Radio K is its own little community.” 

Klage said the station provides students with unique opportunities unlike other campus jobs. Klage appreciates working in the music industry with local bands and venues, like First Avenue.

Radio K recently celebrated its 30 year anniversary as a college radio station. 

“There’s so many passionate students about playing music, about wanting to be on staff, about wanting to DJ, that it is thriving and we’re stronger than we ever have been in the past,” Klage said. 

The Wake

The Wake is a student-run magazine which publishes bi-weekly stories about topics that students want to write about, said The Wake’s director, Marie Ronnander. 

The Wake was founded in 2001 and got its name following the wake of the attack on the World Trade Center, according to Ronnander. 

“It’s a creative outlet for people to get journalism experience, artistic experience and professional experience in general,” Ronnander said. 

Although the magazine tends to stay away from super controversial topics, Ronnander said the magazine has stories based off what the student body wants to talk about and wants to say. 

The three sections of the magazine are student voices, campus and city events and reviews of music and movies. The Wake also has a multimedia section that works on social media and creating the magazine itself. 

The Wake also has a Spotify account and is working on reviving their podcast. 

As the director, Ronnander said she works mostly with the multimedia and production side of things, including social media and The Wake’s designers and creative managers.

“I think the biggest challenge is that we are all college students,” Ronnander said. “Monitoring peoples’ schedules is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.” 

Ronnander said she appreciates that not everyone is a journalist at The Wake. While she said there are journalism majors, there are also majors ranging anywhere from biochemistry to health science. 

Students are expressing themselves and their opinions about their lives and the world in the stories they write, according to Ronnander. 

“It’s a really good way to be like ‘Okay, but I also have these emotions and feelings about what’s going on in the world outside of my discipline research,’” Ronnander said.

Most of all, The Wake is a chance for students to gain professional writing experience, something Ronnander finds helpful. 

Students do not have to apply to The Wake to participate. Ronnander said around half of the students who show up to their pitch meetings are not staff members. 

“Any student just comes in, even if they aren’t a part of the staff, and they can just write about whatever they want to write about,” Ronnander said. “We love when people show up, especially if it’s someone we don’t know.” 

The Tower

The Tower is an annual literary magazine staffed by students, publishing art, poetry, nonfiction and fiction. 

The magazine originated as an insert in The Minnesota Daily called “The Ivory Tower” from 1952 to 1969. It was reinvented in 2006 to become a practicum, a year-long class offered by the English Department at the University. The name was shortened to “The Tower” in 2018. 

According to Co-Editor-in-Chief Kendall Gabos, The Tower receives around 1,200 submissions from students per year, which are then narrowed down and published every spring. 

“We look over the submissions, consume them, feel them and figure out which one we would like to put in the magazine,” Gabos said. 

Co-Editor-in-Chief Simon Harms said The Tower is a great opportunity for students to express themselves creatively and give light and voice to artists in the community. 

“I’ve personally always been a writer,” Harms said. “I’ve been published in The Tower before and I wanted to take that next step to help other people get published and enter the world in creative writing.” 

According to Gabos, one of The Tower’s big goals this year is expanding the readership and making sure the project is available to all types of communities on campus. 

“We’re really working on expanding the readership,” Gabos said. “We’re trying to touch other colleges in the University and other colleges in the state.” 

To do this, Gabos said The Tower has a broad theme for submissions so a wide array of people can feel compelled to submit their work. 

Students can submit their work through The Tower’s website, where they have different submission boxes for each of the categories. 

“It’s like being the middleman between a person and their voice being heard,” Gabos said. “The feeling of validation and being seen is a really cool experience that I wanted to try to be a part of for other people.”

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