Photo by Carlina Grillo. A selfie of members from KRFH at the UC Radio Network Conference.

KRFH: The true DIY of college radio 


by Carlina Grillo and Kianna Znika

This past weekend, KRFH DJ’s made the journey down to Los Angeles to attend the University of California Radio Network Conference held on Nov. 4 by KXLU at Loyola Marymount University. The day consisted of three sessions, where students could choose between workshops and panels like creating DIY promotional materials, developing an on-air persona, staff training protocol, life after college radio, and more. Students especially interested in play-by-play sports broadcasting and news casting were given the opportunity to attend a journalism seminar also held at LMU featuring professional broadcast journalists.

Outside of the panels, workshops, and seminars we attended, this conference proved to us how hard-working and committed KRFH DJs are; the kind of people who would drive 12 hours on a Friday to attend a 10-hour event on Saturday, just to drive the 12 hours back the very next day. 

Although the conference seemed to be targeted towards UC’s and private schools, we’re grateful that we committed to the voyage because it genuinely left us feeling inspired and validated as DJ’s, and station managers, for a student-run radio station. Being compared to almost 10 other bigger stations, where there is paid staff, we learned that there is something so special about Humboldt and our student-run station. KRFH is full of real, passionate, small town DIY DJ’s. No amount of money could buy what we have, which makes sense because as a class and a club, open to only students, we are responsible for raising the majority of our funds. 

We’ve hosted three 24-hour live radio events, featuring live radio dramas such as “War of the Worlds” and “Coraline”, something other college radio stations absolutely aren’t doing. We brought back our Local LIXX, featuring local bands live from our station, and brought back KRFH News, offering the community weekly news in an audible format.

And, for the first time in our KRFH career, we not only got 15 DJ’s to make the trip down to LA, we also got them fed, sheltered and inspired.

One of the most eye-opening realizations during the conference was the fact that most, if not all, leadership positions at other college radio stations are paid, but at KRFH, we do everything solely out of passion for college radio.

KRFH is so much more important than Cal Poly Humboldt gives us credit for. Upon a Google search, you can see KRFH is one of the most popular stations in the county, and as we grow, every day we become more and more of a community resource. In places such as Berkeley, eccentric radio is seen as a necessity for local commuters. A question we asked ourselves was: Why is KRFH seen as anything different?

The truth is, KRFH will never be like KALX or KXLU, other big college radio stations with lots of funding. However, that’s kind of the beauty of our station. KRFH is entirely student-run, and although it’s difficult sometimes, this weekend has shined a light on how beautiful, important and rewarding the work we do actually is. Despite coming from higher-funded, and arguably more organized stations, students from other stations at the conference vocalized the way our small town aesthetic and methods have inspired them. 

KRFH deserves to be celebrated and recognized for all that we do. We aren’t simply a group of journalism and communication majors who like to spin vinyls late at night. In reality, KRFH is made up of students from many different majors coming together for the love of music, community, and most of all, college radio. 

As registration for Spring 2024 opens, we highly encourage any student who’s interested in being a part of our community to enroll in JMC 154 and JMC 155, the classes that will teach you about audio editing and get you in our station. For most of us, college radio isn’t forever, college radio is right now, a time in our lives where we, like many other college radio alums, will look back on very fondly. Our hope, as the 2023 KRFH station managers, is for anyone who feels compelled to radio gets to experience the beauty of KRFH.

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