AMUSE: Students choose the tune of KURE

Sarah Haas

Student-run radio has been broadcast at Iowa State since 1949. After five changes in call letters, the resulting station and frequency, KURE 88.5, has provided an outlet for students interested in music, management and journalism for nearly 12 years.

According to a document from the Special Collections Department of Parks Library, the radio station was first broadcasted out of “a dorm room in Friley Hall.” A broom closet in Bennett House and the kitchenette across from the Main Lounge in North Friley hosted the station until a permanent spot was created during the addition to Friley in 1951.

A nonprofit organization now funded mostly by GSB, KURE can be heard throughout Story County, said Matt Herbst, senior in software engineering.

“KURE doesn’t have to sell advertising — we are not interested in endorsing things. We are independent of corporations and businesses,” Herbst said.

Through public service announcements, KURE informs its listeners about what’s happening on-campus and throughout the community.

“We provide a voice for student organizations. They contact us so we can help them tell people about events and services,” said Adam Vos, public relations director for the station.

In addition to GSB funding, grants from local businesses provide funding for the station. “Radio is so corporate and predetermined anymore that it’s nice to have at least one station on the dial that is independent and has a huge variety. College radio is really the only place you are going to get that,” said Matt Schuler, Parks Library assistant and ISU graduate.

Entering his fourth semester as a DJ, Schuler hosts “That 80s Show” during which his favorite tracks from his personal collection, including Madonna, Duran Duran and Taylor Dane, spun on the studio’s two CD players and two turn tables.

The “student-produced and student-managed” radio station hosts a variety of genres that are not be found on other stations locally, “from indie rock to classical music” said the organization’s Web site.

Around 20 disc jockeys host two-hour shows that focus on a particular music niche. Vos said he began hosting a contemporary jazz show, The Jazz Apothecary, in order to provide atypical music selections such as the Brecker Brothers and The Bad Plus to KURE listeners.

DJs receive “pretty wide latitude,” Schuler said. Their choice of content is usually played, though “nasty swear words” are prohibited.

“We’re always accepting applications — looking for someone who is original with what they want to play on the radio,” he said.