KDUP goes live in the Pilot House

By The Beacon | February 24, 2016 12:44pm

by Rachel Rippetoe |

Students listening carefully to the background music of the Pilot House last week could have been eating their steak-cut fries to the tune of a song they’d never heard before.

Photo courtesy of Jackie Ott, KDUP.

The usual generic Pandora playlist was absent from UP’s favorite bar and restaurant and in its place was a variety of indie rock, folk, hip-hop and just about everything else turned out by student DJs.

KDUP teamed up with Diversity Dialogues Week to live stream in the Pilot House all day last Monday through Friday. In return for the exciting opportunity to be heard live in one of the most popular buildings on campus, DJs promoted Diversity Dialogue events happening throughout the week.

“A lack of listenership (for KDUP) has been a problem for as long as I can remember,” Jack Greenwood, KDUP general manager, said. “It’s an incredible step forward to be broadcasted in a public place.”

According to Greenwood, KDUP approached Bon Appetit during the Pilot House remodeling about the idea of streaming the station live. At the time, the administration was concerned with other priorities, so the conversation was postponed.

Stahnke said the station’s week of streaming could have a tremendous effect on their future in the Pilot House.

“It’s our time to show the Pilot House that we have music to share,” KDUP Program Director Clayton Stahnke said. “Doing well last week with our programming may lead to us having a prolonged residency in the Pilot House.”

After representatives from Diversity Dialogues Week approached KDUP’s staff about broadcasting live, they set up a meeting with Kirk Mustain, Bon Appetit’s general manager.

Mustain quickly agreed to playing the station in the Pilot House around the clock that week.

“We’re just streaming Pandora right now, so it’s not that big of a deal to just switch it over to KDUP,” Mustain said. “Obviously we’re working at a restaurant first, but if we’re reminded it can happen whenever.”

Greenwood and Stahnke were surprised by how easily Mustain approved the idea based on the station’s previous history with the Pilot House.

“Way back in the day, probably in the early 2000s, there was a metal show that was playing during the day in the Pilot House and it upset Bon Appetit,” Stahnke said. “They restricted KDUP from playing there and we haven’t been able to go back since.”

When a wide range of shows put out music in the hip-hop, rap or metal genres, managing profanity can be a challenge.

“Since we’re just streaming on the internet, we have a little leeway on what we say and play, but going through the Pilot House, you definitely have to put a funnel on your music.” Elijah Ballantyne, sophomore DJ and soon to be music director at KDUP, said. “I put on some weird music, some music that I’m not even sure I like, but having a forced audience makes me less sloppy in my music choice.”

According to Greenwood, all shows kept their content clean, and KDUP hasn’t had any complaints from administration, workers or students.

Mustain hasn’t heard any complaints either. He said that with the renovation adding a more accessible sound system, KDUP can have a greater presence in the Pilot House without too much effort from Bon App staff.

“We’re open to anything; it’s an evolving space right now,” Mustain said. “I think it’s going to take a little time but if it’s something the students want then we’ll definitely look into putting it in and encourage any student who wants to listen to a radio station to let one of the management staff over there know it.”

If the station does go on to hold a more permanent presence in the Pilot House, DJ applications will most likely become more interactive and detailed.

Stahnke says that while he doesn’t want to restrict DJs’ creative outlets, the station’s leaders will need to talk to Bon Appetit’s management about scheduling. If a DJ wants to play more explicit content, it would have to be late night.

Despite the more rigorous application process, both Stahnke and Greenwood agree that the opportunity to regularly stream live in the Pilot House could only be a positive for the station going forward.

“This permanent broadcasting will make DJs feel more recognized on campus,” said Stahnke. “It’ll give them more meaning because people other than their parents are listening now.” Rachel Rippetoe is a reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at rippetoe18@up.edu.