California State University Long Beach’s KKJZ-FM Long Beach serves the heart of the Los Angeles market with a Class B 88.1 MHz signal, focusing – as indicated by the call letters – on Jazz fare. But a digital side channel is being turned over to student programmers at CSULB.
The student station has been an internet-only operation until it was given the opportunity to hitch a ride on the University’s broadcast outlet. It’s located on 88.1 HD-3.
A CSULB adjunct called Associated Students Inc. provided $40K in funding to kick off the project back in 2011, according to a report in the Long Beach Press-Telegram.
Aaron Gordezky, a member of the station’s student leadership, told the newspaper, “We’re pretty stoked because this has been a long time coming. It gives a legitimacy to our program, as well as having more listeners we can reach out to.”
The station’s website lists Evan Dixon as student GM and go-to person for the recording industry.
The faculty advisor is Danny Lemos, who has an extensive radio resume with stops in both the Los Angeles and San Francisco markets (including a stint with Rick Dees), as well as some television writing experience. He is also more than just an advisor, pulling an hour-long weekly airshift on Friday mornings.
Although the primary contour of the station doesn’t blanket the entire market – it has 30 kW @ 449’ – the Press-Telegram takes its fringe contour into account when it credits the station with reach from Mission Viejo to Oxnard.
RBR-TVBR observation: Student noncoms fill a vital niche in the radio/music food chain. Not only do the stations groom the next wave of talent that will be needed to run radio stations in the future, the free-wheeling playlists of the genre give new musical acts a priceless opportunity to gain exposure. At a time when student-run stations have been in decline, it is excellent and encouraging to see HD used as a means to edge the number in the other direction.