KSDB brings local music to campus and the web in Classroom Series

William Gelhaus, senior in chemical engineering, laughs while on-air for his weekly radio show on The Wildcat 91.9 KSDB. The radio station features a different student DJ and genre of music each hour. (Lauren Nagle | The Collegian)

KSDB-FM, also known as Wildcat 91.9, presents itself as Manhattan’s source for alternative music. Recently, new programming from three students has given the student-run radio station something else to brag about: live performances.

The programming, known as the Classroom Series, quickly evolved into a new project for the campus radio station. The hosts Nick Fief, Kari Bingham-Gutierrez, and Willy Evans monitor a program called “The Garage” on Friday afternoons. The show features local music, but the trio wanted to take their interest in local music one step further.

In the spring of 2014, they tried something new. The Carney Encore, a local Manhattan band, came into the KSDB’s McCain studio for a live performance that was broadcast over the airwaves and filmed live.

The Classroom Series gets its namesake from where it is hosted: McCain 311. The classroom was recently converted into a fully-functioning sound booth where bands set up and perform. The hosts recruited the help of other members of the station such as Tana Akers, junior in mass communications, who takes care of all the videography and editing, and James Copland, freshman in mass communications and KSDB’s student technical engineer, who assists with the set up and audio engineering.

They use websites like Bandcamp and Facebook to find musicians from the region including artists from as far away as Hays or Kansas City, or as close as right here in Manhattan.

“Each of us have fallen in love with some of the bands we were able to discover this semester and have tried our hardest to get them in the studio,” Bingham-Gutierrez, senior in English and KDSB’s website manager, said. “Most bands have been willing and enthusiastic to come visit KSDB.”

The performances are advertised via social media, then uploaded to KSDBfm.org after they have been edited. While the performances entice listeners to turn their dials to 91.9, it also offers a nice incentive for the bands.

“I always see the on-air broadcast as one of the less-important parts of it, Evans, senior in mass communications, said. “The stuff we do after (the video and audio production) is more important.”

Evans also pointed out that smaller local bands do not always have studio recordings, so a few of the musicians have really appreciated having a sampling of their music to share with fans.

“It can serve as a resource for the bands who play locally and people who know and love to hear music,” Evans said.

There were many performances during the fall semester, with full schedule during the spring that often included a performance every week. The Classroom Series has began to gain the attention of bands with larger fan bases. Westerners, a band from Kansas City, Kansas, performed for KSDB and recently performed at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.

There is one more performance scheduled for this semester. According to Bingham-Gutierrez, indie rockers from Lawrence Sneaky Creeps are performing today. All performances can be heard on 91.9, then watched a few days later on KSDBfm.org.

“Local music is a good thing and it’s something we need to develop in this town,” Nick Fief, junior in food science and industry, said.

Bingham-Gutierrez and Evans both graduate at the end of this semester, but Fief, junior in animal science and industry, said he would like to see the series flourish with more Classroom Series performances and even live shows around town next year.