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East Valley Focus

VAN NUYS : KVCM Tuning Up for Listeners Off Campus

October 05, 1994|JEFF SCHNAUFER

When Mark Brower learned that the Valley College radio station would be broadcasting off campus for the first time this semester, the last place he thought he would be looking for music was his mother's closet.

But the broadcast student, who is acting as KVCM's station manager, soon learned that there are more adjustments than just changing a dial when going to the big time.

"We first started by playing elevator music," Brower said of KVCM's first broadcasts on United Artists Cable Channel 15, a community affairs channel. "I'm not a big Barbra Streisand or Neil Diamond fan. I had to sneak the records from my mom."

Previously, KVCM had played rock and pop music. Now, the 35-year-old, student-run station is heard on both Channel 15 and radio station 830 AM from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

But there were many lessons to learn with the expansion to a new, larger audience.

Cable subscribers were accustomed to listening to the "elevator music," as Brower, 19, called it, that accompanied the public service announcements on Channel 15. So, instructor Ray O. Wilson had his students play plenty of Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand while they slowly phased in rock 'n' roll.

"There were a lot of 'dos' and 'don'ts,' " Brower said.

Perhaps the most important lesson came Monday when the station broadcast a word that Wilson and others deemed offensive to lesbians during a public service announcement about a march planned by a gay and lesbian group.

Wilson said the announcement also included smacking sounds that were "inappropriate" for the audience. Later, he whisked disc jockey Rich Rhodes from behind the microphone to defend the broadcast before a classroom of fellow students.

Rhodes, 33, who did not make the announcement himself, became incensed, gathered up his tapes and stormed out of the station.

"Rich is extremely mad and I doubt he will be back," Brower said. "That's unfortunate. He's one of our best DJs. But the guy who was doing the PSA (public service announcement) was not in the broadcast department and is not supposed to be on the air. Rich put him on the air."

Another student, who asked not to be identified, said Wilson overreacted. "It's not easy being a DJ here," the student said. "Wilson blows up a lot. . . . Wilson took Rich too far."

But Wilson believes students should be taken to task for what they do on the air. "That's part of the broadcast department--learning," he said.

Wilson and his students hope to work together to educate the cable television audience to happenings at Valley College.

In addition to announcements about college sporting events and activities, Wilson hopes the station can interest high school students who may later attend Valley College by airing television interviews with high school coaches, and, later, high school sporting events.

"You have to have a reason to get people to stop switching channels and listen," said Wilson. "And Valley high school students don't have their own station."

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