Students from the TALX program, in the KRFH booth on Feb. 16. | Photo by Dakota Cox

KRFH Survives the COVID-19 Shutdown

The Student-Run Radio Programs Remain on Air
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The Student-Run Radio Programs Remain on Air

Despite in-person instruction coming to a halt in the wake of COVID-19, student-run radio shows are still an option for KRFH students. For students not interested in going to great lengths to produce a weekly show, there is an alternative.

When Humboldt State University first transitioned to online instruction following spring-break, KRFH students were given the option to continue doing shows, as long as they comply with strict CDC regulations. This includes leaving three-hour gaps between shows, having only one student in the booth at a time and wiping down everything inside the booth before and after shows.

The new protocol lasted less than two full weeks before students were no longer allowed back in the booth. Instead, they were given the option to pre-record shows.

Ayrton Flaherty has a show with Debate Team coach, Aaron Donaldson, called “Debate and the News.” It was the first show at HSU to utilize Zoom while broadcasting live over the air-waves having Donaldson contribute from the safety of his home and Flaherty sit in the booth for their final live shows of the semester.

“It’s hard to do radio if you’re not in the station,” Flaherty said. “I guess cause we do a talk show, we’re able to get away with that. Because, rather than having music and occasionally talking, it’s talking and occasionally having music for us.”

Flaherty has found pre-recorded shows to be far more forgiving, with options to edit and re-take segments. However, they have created hours of post-production time that wouldn’t exist with live shows, in addition to hours they spend on pre-production. But, both Flaherty and Donaldson believe their show is worth the effort.

“I think all the DJs feel a little bit of a responsibility to stay involved, because otherwise there’s the chance that KRFH could get shut down if people aren’t showing interest.”

Shelley Magallanes

“This education is as important as ever,” Donaldson said. “The resources, as always, are very vulnerable and threatened, and students should get involved if they think it’s important.”

Shelley Magallanes hosts multiple shows on KRFH and they completely agree with Donaldson. Magallanes only intends to attend the class if it’s offered in-person next semester, although, they still might sign up if the program is in danger.

“I think all the DJs feel a little bit of a responsibility to stay involved, because otherwise there’s the chance that KRFH could get shut down if people aren’t showing interest,” Magallanes said.

They don’t think the course should be offered next semester if students can’t meet in person, unless that would put the future of the program in jeopardy.

“If we’re just doing it the way we’re doing it right now,” Magallanes said. “Then the main reason to hold onto the class is just to ensure that later semesters, it still gets put on.”

Anwaar-Khabir Muhammad is in his first semester with the radio and based on his experience, he doesn’t think the course should be offered next semester unless classes resume in-person and on campus.

“The radio station in and of itself is the learning experience,” Muhammad said. “I understand trying to maintain a sense of familiarity, but if that maintenance comes at the expense of the student’s overall learning experience, don’t do it!”

Alice Peterson won best show at KRFH last year with her program, “Ear Hugs.” The program mixes lighthearted discussion with relaxing tunes.

“Sending out your part and being a storyteller and providing that comfort and that service,” Peterson said. “It just makes you feel good.”

Since live shows have been taken away, Peterson forgets to attend her Zoom classes and turn in her alternative assignments, which are a five-minute weekly update that are aired on KRFH of students describing how they are navigating their lives through these stressful times.

“I kept forgetting to do my recording,” Peterson said. “Which was weird for me, because with the radio shows I never missed a show.”

As a result of missing classes, Peterson was unaware of the option to produce pre-recorded shows. As a senior without a graduation, she takes solace in the fact that she can at least put on a final show.

With administration still waiting to make an official decision about how classes will be conducted next semester, the future of KRFH remains uncertain and at risk.

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