Broadcasting digitally

Eric Estrada broadcasts on KCSF Radio live on Ocean campus Oct. 24, 2013. Photo by Santiago Mejia/The Guardsman
Eric Estrada broadcasts on KCSF Radio live on Ocean campus Oct. 24, 2013. Photo by Santiago Mejia/The Guardsman

By Samantha Dennis/The Guardsman

City College’s very own KCSF 90.9 FM radio station is giving commercial radio stations a well trained group of future broadcasters from which to choose.

KCSF is a student-run radio station located on the Ocean campus that gives students the opportunity to experience working at a professional radio station while allowing them to throw their own ideas into the mix.

By allowing a diverse group of students to produce their own content, a wide range of topics are featured in KCSF’s programming.

The Broadcast Electronic Media Arts Department and its radio station have come a long way since Henry Leff developed it in 1948.  Under the tutelage of Cecil Hale, general manager of KCSF since 1987, today’s students are destined for success.

“The students run the station how a professional station is ran,” Hale said.

Whether it’s announcing, managing or directing, Hale has done it all with a number of different radio stations, including WMPP out of East Chicago Heights, Ill., and WVON, Chicago’s only African-American news-talk radio station.

Hale has instilled many great qualities in his students that they have carried with them after leaving KCSF to pursue careers in broadcast media.

“Our program is one of the best in the country,” Hale said. “[Professional stations] view KCSF favorably and they hire our people.”

Patrick Custado and many other students have used KCSF as a stepping stone toward a broadcast career.

Custado enrolled in broadcasting courses, including an industry intern course, at City College and was later hired on as a disc jockey at 94.9 FM.

“Dr. Hale motivated me to strive for bigger and better things,” Custado said. “KCSF gave me the background on how radio works and it has helped me here at 94.9.”

Nadia Mashal, a part of the KCSF crew, said she parlays many of the techniques learned at KCSF at her internship with LIVE 105, a local Bay Area radio station.

“Hale knows firsthand how things are done and gives us tips to make things easier,” Mashal said. “We (the students) are in charge here. We do everything and he offers us guidance along the way.”

KCSF is streamed online by people from all around the world, including Sweden, Chile, Australia, and France, but Luis Mendez, program director at KCSF, said that many students on campus aren’t aware that the station exists.

Included in the daily lineup is “Da Maddhouze” morning show from 8 a.m. to 11a.m., which features music from local artists along with some jokes and comedy to get your morning started off right.

Daily celebrity gossip, along with hip-hop and R&B can be heard at 11 a.m. on “Real Talk,” where gossip and the latest trends surface.

If Sci-Fi and anime strike your interest, you can tune in on Tuesdays from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. for the “Nightly Nerd Show,” which highlights both interests with reviews and interviews.

Although many things have changed and developed over the years since Leff retired from City College, his voice can still be heard.

Francine Podenski, chair of the Broadcast Electronic Media Arts Department, said that before retiring, Leff was recorded reading a text and made intentional mistakes. This recording is still used today as students’ first audio editing assignment for broadcast.

KCSF can be heard on 90.9 FM daily and is also streamed through TuneIn, a free mobile app that streams both college and major commercial stations as well.

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