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News and Talk Director

This past weekend marked the University of California Radio Network, where student officers and adult advisors from 11 different California college radio stations convened for a weekend of skill sharing, advice from seasoned radio vets and industry heavy-hitters – and, of course, to participate in the much-anticipated swag swap.

This year’s conference was held at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where the day kicked off with a catered breakfast and introductions from each respective radio station.  At the opening session, each station briefly introduced themselves, shared a favorite memory from the past year, as well as goals for the upcoming year.  

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KZSC Staff holding up sign at UCRN – Photo by Richard Baldwin

KZSC’s Production Director, DJ Danny Van Halen, spent the day conducting interviews with numerous UCRN attendants, discussing favorite parts about the convention and the value of developing a community among students from different universities.  

“It feels great,” said Walter G. Campos of KUCI.  “It feels like the whole community is coming together, and I think we’re bouncing all of our ideas off each other.  I think it’s going to be really great for bettering all of our stations.”

Above all else, the sense of community was the highlight of the event, and motivated students (some traveling as much as 12 hours!) were clearly undeterred from making the trek.  The opportunity to meet and engage with other passionate young people proved to be well worth the efforts, and participants left excited to bring back new knowledge to their respective stations.  

“It’s honestly so inspiring,” said Lee of KRFH Humboldt.  “I already love college radio, and me and my other station manager were always talking about how we’re the ‘radio mains’ in our journalism department.  It’s honestly just making me more inspired to go back to Humboldt and bring back everything that I learned.”  

After panels marked the swag swap, where each station freely gave out their merch.  Along with the standard t-shirts and posters, many groups diversified – handing out custom lighters, buttons – KALX even gave out shoelaces donned with their call-sign.  The event concluded with a performance by Sister Gemini, an LA-based indie rock and dream pop trio who were previous members of KXLU.  

Between being able to speak with such a diverse array of radio enthusiasts, the opportunity to hear from industry professionals – as well as LMU’s top-notch catering, of course – UCRN was a phenomenal opportunity to meet other DJs, expand our station’s presence, and to improve our own understanding of the purpose, presence, and value of student media.  It is, and will continue to be, as I found out, a powerful way to connect and make meaning in an age where being present is growing especially difficult.