KRFH DJ Alejandro Zepeda recording in the KRFH student radio station booth on Jan. 28. | Photo by Seth Finnegan

Struggles at the Station

Floods and frequent power outages caused issues for KRFH during the fall semester
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Floods and frequent power outages caused issues for KRFH during the fall semester

Editor’s note: members of the editorial staff of The Lumberjack are part of and have been part of KRFH. The author of this article had no previous affiliation with KRFH.

The Humboldt State University student radio station KRFH is back with new and old DJs for the spring semester after dealing with flash floods and frequent power outages during the last semester.

Alejandro Zepeda was the station manager during the fall semester and is assistant station manager.

“It’s been a rough semester for sure,” Zepeda said. “I ended up taking over halfway through the semester as station manager and just kinda walked into a shit storm.”

KRFH is in the basement of Gist Hall, and when it flooded on Sept. 19, 2019, Zepeda said water started coming down from above.

“There was a couple spots where the water literally just came in through the ceiling,” Zepeda said.

Zoe Kelman, the manager for the live music program LIXX, said the lounge they use for recording ended up getting affected badly from the water.

“I’ve probably turned the station back on myself after power outages somewhere between six and 10 times at this point.”

Alejandro Zepeda

“The whole LIXX lounge got flooded and it smelled horrible,” Kelman said.

Kelman went on to say that pieces of the ceiling came down and the whole floor became dyed orange. Kelman also said it was lucky she came in before the event to set things up.

“I had actually gone in and already moved some of the equipment,” Kelman said. “It was already sitting on a table, so we got lucky that when the flooding happened none of our stuff was on the floor.”

Despite the salvaged equipment, the wiring in the KRFH studio runs in the ceiling. At first they couldn’t immediately tell if there was any direct damage to the wiring, but they ended up having to move the LIXX recording that day.

“We couldn’t do it in the LIXX lounge ’cause it smelled like a swamp, so we decided to do it in a different room,” Kelman said. “It was just like a whole thing where basically all of our equipment cut out at some point. We got dead air. Like, anything that could’ve gone wrong, went wrong.”

The frequent power outages were also an issue for the station.

“I’ve probably turned the station back on myself after power outages somewhere between six and 10 times at this point,” Zepeda said.

Zepeda said the power backup system was out of date so when the power went off, there was no leeway.

Zepeda said KHSU could hold a solution for the station.

“Within the year before they got gutted, they actually just upgraded all of their equipment and got a backup generator and a bunch of emergency supplies,” Zepeda said. “I remember thinking during the blackouts—having nothing to do at home—that I could’ve been on the air. I could’ve been talking. We could’ve been relaying news but instead we were all just sitting on our hands.”

“You can’t break this KRFH spirit.”

Eddie Rivera

Zepeda said if the station was given access to the abandoned KHSU studios, they could’ve taken it over and helped the community.

Last semester was Eddie Rivera’s first time as a DJ. Alongside the floods and power outages, he also described the station’s leadership struggles.

“Students are so busy and so overworked that sometimes you just can’t attend to everything that the club might need,” Rivera said.

He estimated that with class time and time spent on the air, students in the class will add an extra five hours of work to their week. Rivera said their manager struggles are a lot better now.

“We have a couple new managers and people who are taking a lot of initiative,” Rivera said. “The managers that we have are very dedicated to it and very positive.”

Rivera said the setbacks made the semester difficult for them, but they are still going.

“You can’t break this KRFH spirit,” Rivera said.

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