To call KUGS eclectic would be an understatement. In the most genuine sense, KUGS is an all inclusive broadcasting entity; it seems that KUGS has it all—web broadcasting, world music, girl rock, heavy metal, yodeling (yes, I’ve heard yodeling), and shows entitled, “revolutionary punk,” and “bittersweet alt-country.”
Perhaps the AS program with the most breadth and endurance, KUGS has been around since 1974 and, unique to most college stations, is completely student run. Of course, along with music programming, KUGS has traditionally aired syndicated news programming covering national and international news on weekdays from 6 to 8 p.m.
However, KUGS has been lacking a local news show— a show that addresses issues of specific importance to Western students and Bellingham locals— until now. Wednesday, October 25 at 6 p.m., KUGS premieres its new weekly local news program, “What’s Going On.”
The half hour news program will focus on a different theme weekly.
Jenn Hartman, KUGS’ News and Public Affairs Director explains, “Representing unheard and marginalized voices is really important at KUGS.”
Keeping in line with these values, the debut program will highlight immigration issues. The November 1 program will focus on elections in Whatcom County, while November 8’s issue is on intersections of race and gender issues and the November 15 show will focus on poverty issues. A total of six shows will air this quarter.
Hartman sees the program not only as a news resource for KUGS listeners but also a way to, “bridge the gap between the campus on the hill and the wider community.”
Emphasizing the separatist nature of Bellingham, i.e. the Western vs. Bellingham dichotomy, Hartman elaborates, “I feel there’s a real disconnect. . .it’s important to break down that disconnect.”
“It’s really important to us to keep it local so students and community members are hearing local voices.”
KUGS has attempted to broadcast a local news program before but because of the lack of student involvement, no recent program has been very successful.
“KUGS is in a unique position because it is entirely student run,” said Hartman. “It’s hard to put on a news show with strictly volunteers on a student schedule.”
However, “What’s Going On,” already has a committed group of roughly seven volunteers in addition to the KUGS staff to support the program. Hartman asks no more than three hours a week from each volunteer, the same amount of time asked from volunteer DJs for KUGS. However, there is still room for more volunteers as the show progresses and grows.
So it appears the ever-inclusive KUGS has extended its reach even more. However this time they have extended into their own, our own, community in an attempt to unify the division in Bellingham—through the airwaves.
To get information on how to get involved in “What’s Going On,” contact Jenn Hartman, KUGS news and public affairs director, at 360-650-7511 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on volunteering at KUGS in general, check out the website at http://kugs.org or call Cory Watkins, KUGS Program Director at 360-650-2995.