Ever wondered whose voice it is you’ve been listening to on KUGS every morning? Whose voice has been burrowing religiously through the airwaves Monday through Friday, 7-10 a.m.? Well wonder no more, Kara Thies is your answer.
Thies came to Western with some radio experience, arriving as a former Running Start student from Green River Community College, where she took her first radio class and was a DJ at their radio station. After arriving in Bellingham, Thies, a senior majoring in Environmental Science, started volunteering as a DJ at KUGS. After two years of volunteer work at the radio station, Thies was hired on as the DJ for the morning show, KUGS’s only paying DJ position, in the summer of 2005. Except for taking a two-quarter hiatus from the show, during which Pete Mack took over, Thies has been the consistent morning voice of KUGS for the past two years. On air from 7-10a.m. every morning, Thies brings KUGS listeners Democracy Now, which airs from7-8 a.m.
“Right now what I really like about the morning show is that we have several different genres—a different genre for everyday of the week,” said Thies. “So that way it keeps everything fresh and I really get to explore a lot of different styles of music that way.”
Currently, KUGS airs blues music on Mondays, jazz on Tuesdays, World music on Wednesdays, roots music, (a blend constituting traditional country, folk and bluegrass), airs on Thursdays, and Fridays belong to funk/soul/R&B varieties.
Not only does Thies have to rise and be at work earlier than most Western students, but she also chooses which music will go on air, provided the music coincides with the daily genre.
“I don’t really prepare that much. Usually, I come in, put Democracy Now on, and use the time during Democracy Now to pick out some music and kind of figure out the flow of the musical portion of the show.”
“I listen to pretty much a lot of the stuff that I play on the show which is kind of nice but I also get to spend more time discovering new music in the genres instead of playing my schizophrenic play list at home, which is like punk then polka and then jazz,” Thies said.
Thies also enjoys the community aspect of her job, noting that DJing is a great way to connect and communicate with peers and Western’s surrounding neighbors alike.
“I guess the unique, kind of coolest thing about our morning show is that because it has the same host Monday through Friday, the listeners can get to know you, and they are able to give feedback and are able to call in with requests and know that we will play them if we can find them. You get to really develop the programming to a deeper level than programming that airs only once a week,” Thies said. “Everyone should listen because I care about my music and . . . why not? And because the show is mostly local and happy and locally produced.”