A student’s perspective on the gutting of KHSU
This shit is insane.
I’m not sure how else to describe the shuttering of KHSU in the last month of my education.
Interning for KHSU has been rocky from the day I signed the paperwork. I began in the summer of 2018. Katie Whiteside, the beloved program director, hired me and on my first day of work she was unexpectedly fired. We have since bumped into one another, but I was unsure of how to proceed when the only string we had tying us together had been broken so quickly. Now we have a lot more in common…
The station also had a physical shift in my first days. The studios were moved from the top floor of the Theater Arts Building to the sunny, albeit noisy, Feuerwerker House.
I mention these abrupt changes to point out that my time at KHSU has been anything but stable. I’ve come to expect some level of shaky ground, but not like this…this felt off the Richter scale.
I finally felt this internship was paying off. Literally. I began getting paid for my work for the first time and I had my first solo-produced audio feature run on the station two weeks ago. It felt fitting that the culmination of my work at HSU would be disseminated professionally the day before I turned 30 and just a month before I graduate. I was already excitedly working on my next piece and I made plans to stay for the summer. This was Wednesday, April 3.
Tuesday, April 9 KHSU held a going away party for HSU alum Michael Roccaforte at Richard’s Goat. We ate tacos, drank beers and espoused the success of (and waking up for) the pledge drive that had concluded just two days prior. Nobody had any idea it would be a going away party for all of us. I’m partially glad for that, because it was a blast.
Wednesday, April 10 would be the last full day of KHSU as we knew it.
Thursday morning KHSU was gutted of nearly all its employees. Two remained, but not for long. My only indication anything was amiss that day were the cop cars parked on either side of the studios. Nothing was said prior to myself or any other intern. We learned at the same time as everybody else, standing in the rain in front of the studio. Later that afternoon I read a story on the Lost Coast Outpost with a quote which vaguely informed me that I, as a student, might still have a job. Why was I reading the status of my employment through a news outlet instead of being told directly?
Myself and the two other interns, Damian Jimenez and Destiny Hill-Brekke, received a generic email at 5:35 p.m. apologizing for the the silence on the university’s end, saying that it was an “oversight.”
KHSU was shut down because it had “drifted” from the interest of the students. Which students? Hypothetical students? Because I’m a real student and I still had a deep interest in finishing my internship. I had an interest in the connections not to mention references I was gaining. I had an interest in the paycheck I counted on. I had an interest in having the last month (and summer) to fill out my portfolio with professional audio journalism, the thing I came to school for in the first place.
KHSU wasn’t the first community institution to get cut by an ax-wielding budget committee and it likely won’t be the last, but I feel cheated. At least the football team got to finish their season before they got cut…
To KHSU: You’ll be sorely missed by more than just me. From the bottom of my heart, thanks for experience and thanks for all the laughs.
Megan “Midge” Martin