Working as an editor, anchor and soon-to-be DJ has never been so unusual for journalism junior Tessa Hughes, who has been plugging away from home since last March.
Rather than being surrounded by easily accessible equipment and being face-to-face with her team in the KCPR studio, Hughes has been tackling her job from a 13-inch computer screen.
With the move to virtual learning, KCPR’s biggest change — among both the news and music teams — has been the remote production of shows, according to Hughes.
“I don’t want to say a lot of what my team is doing is new,” Hughes said. “I just think the way it’s being done is new.”
Video by Blas Alvarado
Unlike the news team, the DJs are pre-recording all of their shows rather than producing them live, Hughes said.
In spring of 2020, KCPR began “rebranding” themselves, which included increasing the amount of content released and having more structure, according to Hughes.
“I think before, KCPR had a reputation of being the punk kids that hid in the back of the journalism building,” she said. “But now we’ve really worked to prove ourselves and prove that we’re a legit part of this media group.”
Hughes said her team is now doing a “DJ Spotlight Series,” “New Music Mondays” and previews of new entertainment releases each month.
Business administration senior and KCPR content writer Evan Gattuso said there has also been an emphasis on local content and businesses.
“Especially with the pandemic, I think it’s just important to support our community,” Gattuso said.
For Gattuso, this means getting more information out and opening up people’s eyes to what is really going on.
Comparative ethnic studies junior and programming and music director for KCPR Keagan Scott said he misses being physically in the studio but thinks it is still “just as cool to be able to hear yourself on air.”
While he is unable to hire new DJs, Scott said he is increasing his work on the station’s Spotify to make the music more accessible.
“It’s basically just been a lot of trying to maintain everything and trying to incrementally expand our station, so that in the fall we’ll be ready to be able to go back as we were doing pre-COVID[-19],” he said.
Journalism senior and KCPR news director Lauren Walike said she trained her team of reporters to control their broadcasts on their own. Each anchor manages four tabs on their computer, one of which remotely commands the equipment that would normally be in the studio.
KCPR News holds live shows Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. and Monday’s, Wednesday’s and Friday’s from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Pre-recorded material is also incorporated into the live shows.
Walike said it can be challenging and time consuming to create the pre-recorded audio stories.
“You’re looking for that emotion in someone and so you obviously can’t just get that from email,” she said.
The station is working to create more multimedia stories and collaborating with the rest of Mustang News, Walike said.
“It’s not like we just switched remotely and everything was very easy — it is difficult,” Walike said. “But I think that what it shows is just we have a really, really dedicated team of reporters who are passionate about the station and about journalism.”