A sound decision: KSDB wins national award for sound engineering

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Three students earned national recognition for their work at KSDB-FM, Kansas State’s student-run radio station.

James Copeland, senior in mass communications, Steven Asper, freshman in social work, and Dylan Swoyer, who graduated in December with a degree in civil engineering, won first place in the sound engineering and production category at the 2017-2018 Broadcast Education Association Festival of Media Arts.

The competition received more than 1,500 entries. KSDB’s submission was ranked among the top 20 percent of entries in the sound engineering and production category.

Copeland, KSDB’s program director, attributed the submission’s success to Asper, sound engineer, who mixed and mastered the recording from an installment of KSDB’s Classroom Series featuring “Aloha Ice Jam” by Gekko, a “funk fusion” band from Kansas City. Asper has a degree in audio engineering from The Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in Tempe, Arizona.

“They were great,” Asper said. “They were one of my favorite bands that I’ve ever mixed. That’s one of the reasons why I chose that particular session.”

Asper said the song’s instrumental composition pushed him to select the recording for submission.

“It was a very strong demonstration of instrumentation, a very strong demonstration of artistic talent,” Asper said. “That was one of the things that I really liked, that I wasn’t just putting a song out there like every other song. I put a song out there that’s different, and what stood out was that it was a song that purely demonstrated their artistic abilities.”

Nick Cecil, guitarist and vocalist for Gekko, was surprised yet pleased to hear that Asper’s mixing of their song won first place in a national competition.

“We actually didn’t think we did very well,” Cecil said. “We messed up a couple times, so we weren’t too stoked about the sound.”

The final mix placed above Missouri State University’s submission, an animation titled “Pursuit of Happiness.”

The Classroom Series began three years ago, Copeland said.

“I think it’s really incredible that we were able to go from zero to winning a national competition,” Copeland said. “That’s something I never would have thought we could achieve in the timespan that we did.”

KSDB will continue to expand its recording capacity in the future, working with K-State’s music department and local bands.

“We’re continuing to ramp up,” Copeland said. “I think the sky’s the limit as far as how much we can do in recording, which is a small aspect of what we do, but it’s getting bigger and better every day.”

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Rachel Hogan
Hey, hi, hello! I’m Rachel Hogan, the copy chief for The Collegian. I’m a senior in journalism from Olathe, Kansas. When I’m not at work in the newsroom, I like to spend my time cuddling with my dog, working as a barista and laughing with my friends.