Won’t be out of tune

CSM’s KDOG is still kicking like a live wire

“Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees is just one of the catchy tunes that could be listened to on the airwaves of KDOG Radio, the student-run radio station at the College of San Mateo. Thousands of listeners put their headphones on for full 24-hour coverage of some of their favorite all-time hits.

“Stayin’ Alive” isn’t just a song played for amusement and entertainment — It’s also the mindset of the station’s staff, as they face an uphill battle that thousands of Americans have fought in 2020: COVID-19 and its sinister characteristics.

Patrick Healy started as an on-air personality in January, when he began hosting his own show on Monday and Friday evenings from 8 to 10 p.m. It wasn’t easy for Healy or his uncontrollable nerves to withstand the pressure of dealing with a live audience. Just as he was beginning to adjust to his new gig, the world seemingly stopped around him.

“When March came around, I ended up doing a live interview with Kerrigan (a colleague),” Healy said. “Because of the timing of the interview, I was unprepared for the show. The very next day was the last day on campus before the virus shut down the station.”

The virus may have shut down the campus, and therefore KDOG’s new studios, which had been CSM’s conference room, but there wasn’t any sickness, germ, illness, or infection that could stop music from disrupting the always-reliable airwaves. It simply was a routine that couldn’t afford to do anything besides “stay alive.” And there was a saving grace that allowed that to happen.

Donna Eyestone/College of San Mateo

Luckily, the students had the ability to make the transition to remote production because of the flexibility of their software. Students changed from an in-studio perspective to having the option of pre-recording shows or livestreaming them from the comforts of their own homes.

“Students quickly moved to online and the shows have been produced to the same quality and quantity as they were being produced in our studios,” digital media professor Donna Eyestone said. “They are very resilient and have been using whatever equipment they have access to at home, and in a few cases we’ve loaned them equipment.”

They’ve continued to hold events for students, like the Electronic Music Concert on Dec. 10. From 7 to 9 p.m., students from the electronic media department had the opportunity to showcase their works. It’s these kinds of events that create the station’s special energy.

KDOG’s status is unknown heading into 2021, especially since Ohlone College in Fremont found their broadcasting program cut last year. CSM’s station has attracted fewer listeners this semester with marketing struggles, but persistence is a key belief to staffers. Since the pandemic has sidelined the financial structure of community colleges, the possibility of KDOG’s departure from the radio stream isn’t too far-fetched, but the staff haven’t lost hope.

“I was told not to worry about it,” Healy said. “My hope is that it will survive the pandemic and come back with a vengeance.”

CSM’s radio program includes the practice of different production skills for students such as producing their own shows, either music, talk shows, or dramas. In recent years, the podcast market has blasted off, and learning to create, publish, and publicize one is yet another venture that the program makes available. If you don’t want to be a member of the on-air staff, editing and programming is emphasized as other ways to get involved in the process of making a well-tuned broadcast.

You can listen to KDOG Radio online 24 hours a day.

Donna Eyestone/College of San Mateo