Walk into KUGS office in Viking Union 700 at any hour and you will find a DJ camped out in the studio. With KUGS spring programming in full swing, new DJs are hitting up audiences with their new or old shows around the clock.
“Tune in from hour to hour and you will hear such different sounds, everything from progressive electronic music to underground hip hop,” said junior Tristan Wood, KUGS marketing and development director. “And the fact that our offices are running 24/7 says a lot about the dedication of our DJs.”
With radio host training cycles in constant rotation, springtime often brings new DJs into the mix of personalized radio shows at KUGS. Embracing the diverse array of musical tastes of its listeners and DJs, KUGS encourages DJs to experiment with the 33,000 CDs or 27,000 vinyl albums at their disposal.
With vinyl’s antique allure currently relevant to many DJs for its raw sound and iconography as a slice of music history, KUGS vinyl training sessions are an enticing creative process for many jockeys. Along with training for “Music for the Masses” as well as specialty DJ shows, these offered trainings create a niche experience for KUGS employees and volunteers who, as a prerequisite, are generally obsessed with music.
For KUGS volunteers and employees, sometimes their various skills built at KUGS are not easily envisioned skills to be translated elsewhere. So, for the beginning of this quarter, senior and KUGS Program Director Lauren Stelling organized a KUGS all-station meeting where three KUGS alumni spoke about their professional experiences within the music industry.
One guest was Jackson Long, the drum tech for Death Cab for Cutie and audio engineer for KEXP in Seattle. Highlighting on how his in-studio experiences at KUGS translates seamlessly with his current job, he also added how KUGS gives employees and volunteers a chance to learn about the music industry.
Sam Parker, former KUGS program director and currently working at Brown Paper Tickets, and Nick Duncan, former KUGS music director and Yellingham co-founder, were also guests. Speaking of how their time at KUGS influenced their time at Western and the careers they sought after graduating, they claimed the people they bonded over music with at KUGS and learning the promotion side of KUGS has helped them navigate the music industry.
Staying current on the local music scene is another spring programming staple. With an incendiary breadth of diverse bands playing in Bellingham or coming through Bellingham venues, KUGS hopes to foster the talent of these artists. Whether playing local artists on the specialty show “Back Tracks and Local Snacks” or interviewing bands in-studio, phone interviews with bands such as the Thermals, highlighting artists coming through Bellingham is an emphasis at KUGS.
Despite a local emphasis, DJs doing specialty shows are encouraged to express themselves through their ranging musical palette.
“Students first have to go through news reading and then Music for the Masses. But after that, if someone has a passion, they can curate their own show accordingly,” said Jamie Hoover, general manager for KUGS.
After being at KUGS for four years and DJ of the beach pop show “Tide Pool Party”, Stelling agrees.
“Anybody can have an iTunes playlist but DJ-ing is like sharing your music opinion,” said Stelling. “The AS really emphasizes diversity, and I think KUGS really represents that through the diverse personalities here, which are expressed through their musical tastes. We have everyone from the person who’s into avant-garde screamo metal to happy jazz.”