It’s a place for students to find their voice. For poets to slam, DJs to jam and loyal listeners to tune in.
In November 2011, Radio CUH started streaming 24/7 thanks to a handful of passionate faculty members and students who understood the value of an independent college radio station. Nearly 10 years later, the station is still going strong, broadcasting to listeners in Hawaii and around the globe.
And now the station is also getting some national recognition.
The College Radio Foundation recently named Radio CUH as a recipient of its Bret Grant Award, designed to help support college radio programming. The $2,000 grant can be used for equipment, licensing, continuing education or other expenses.
Tom Galli, a senior lecturer in Communication at Chaminade, helps oversee the radio station’s management. He said Radio CUH was the brainchild of Communications Professor Cliff Bieberly. “The technology to do streaming music was really ramping up. An online-only radio station was a possibility,” Galli said. “It was also something that our students were in interested in and would bring up.”
After a few tests, Radio CUH was officially launched on November 15, 2011.
The initial music library consisted of a few professors’ CD collections. At first, just a few students participated. Fast forward a decade, and Radio CUH has a library of over 100,000 songs and is getting an average of 500 new songs a week from music distributors. It’s also gained a loyal following, with fans tuning in from as far away as Nevada and Micronesia to hear DJs take to the microphone.
Galli described the station’s programming as “eclectic.”
“Students play what they want. We have a wide range of genres, much of it very new,” he said, in a recent interview. “Part of the promise of college radio is that there’s no commercial pressure so the idea of adhering to consistency of programming is somewhat anathema to the ideal.”
In addition to music, Radio CUH has teamed up with professors and departments on special projects.
Every year, for example, the station partners with the English department to stream a slam poetry festival presented by Chaminade and Kaimuki High students. Several professors have also worked with the station on special pre-recorded readings of poetry or personal essays exploring certain topics.
Galli said the number of student DJs fluctuates each semester.
Students can participate in their free time or learn there as part of a three-credit elective (COM361). Prospective DJs can expect hands-on training on the system and a test to ensure they understand the responsibilities and liabilities the radio station is subject to. COM361 is offered every semester.
“College radio is supposed to be an alternative to commercial radio and our DJs embody that,” Galli said. The station’s DJs, he added, “can practice skills to make them more effective presenters, expand their musical horizons, record demo reels if they seek a career in broadcasting, and have a good time.”