North Texas Daily

Students earn experience at campus radio station

Students earn experience at campus radio station

Students earn experience at campus radio station
February 03
23:37 2014

Brittany Armstrong // Intern Writer

The sound of light jazz fills the dim-lit studio as the disk jockey cues up the playlist and prepares to announce the name of the track and artists.

Today is just another day at KNTU 88.1-FM and its DJ, RTVF senior Itale Watie, is happily listening to the music.

KNTU is an on-campus live radio station that gives students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience, which will aid them as they pursue radio industry careers in the real world.

“I try to play this one as often as I can because I really enjoy it,” Watie said of the song, “Music Maestro Please,” by Freddy Cole.

Watie is in her first semester as a DJ at KNTU and is taking the opportunity to gain experience as a radio personality at UNT. She’s currently in a similar role as the many DJ’s before her who began their careers behind the microphone at KNTU.

In 45 years of live programming, KNTU has primarily played jazz music. It also broadcasts regular two-minute newscasts and DJ-hosted programs such as NT-Jukebox, La Pura Onda and Infrequent Exposure.

Performance major Angela Berens said KNTU is usually the only thing playing in her car.

“They play a lot of student stuff as well,” Berens said. “ A lot of my friends are composers or write their own music and sometimes their stuff is on there so I usually listen for that and I really enjoy it.”

Growth of the station

KNTU general manager Russ Campbell mentors the volunteer student-DJs as well as the paid directors.

“I came here expecting to be here for two years and that was 27 years ago,” Campbell said “[It has been gratifying to see] the growth and development of the hundreds of students that I’ve had the privilege to know and work with over that time.”

Over the years KNTU has had alumni work for stations throughout the metroplex and around the country, including Mark Followill who now does the play-by-play for the Dallas Mavericks on television.

“It’s been a great 105 semesters, not that I’ve been counting,” Campbell said. “Seriously, it’s been gratifying to see the growth and improvement of our station coverage going from 6,700 watts, when I first came on board here, to the current 100,000 watts.”

At 100,000 watts, KNTU is equal to that of any other major radio station in the area.

A radio station signal’s power and reach is determined by the wattage, and currently 100,000 watts is the largest amount any radio station is allowed to have.

Gaining Experience

Standing behind Watie in the studio, near two large shelves filled with hundreds of jazz compact discs, is another UNT student, Katherine Hancock, who is observing Watie transition between speaking into her mic and playing music. Hancock is the student program director and is in charge of hiring, auditioning and training the station’s DJs at KNTU.

“It’s a learning experience for everyone, I mean a lot of people walk in here expecting us to be very cutthroat and we’re not at all,” Hancock said. “There’s room for mistakes, everybody makes mistakes.”

KNTU’s 19 student DJs are all volunteers. There is no requirement stating they have to be RTVF majors, although the majority are.

Hancock is a RTVF sophomore, but this is her first year at UNT and her first semester as the student program director at KNTU. Last semester she worked primarily as a DJ and as an assistant to the station’s music director.

“It’s fun. I’m always on my toes, but I look forward to coming to work. I really do,” she said. “It’s a very professional environment but it’s also very fun and we make a lot of jokes and we basically enjoy each other’s company.”

Hancock is often smiling ear to ear and keeps a calm, collected demeanor when she is in the studio because it’s something she has done since she was 16 years old.

In high school, Hancock had the opportunity to work at another local radio station, KEOM 88.5-FM through an internship program it offered.

There, she got her first taste of radio and decided it was something she wanted to pursue in the future at UNT. Once Hancock came to Denton she knew that working at KNTU was the next step for her.

“I just kind of walked up here and asked if I could volunteer here because I wanted to have my foot in the door and doors started opening, so I just started taking the opportunities,” she said.

Future aspirations 

Both Hancock and Watie want to pursue jobs in radio and television. Hancock sees herself getting internships in the future, which she says will hopefully lead to a job working at a radio station in the Dallas-Fort Worth area after graduation. Her dream job would be to work at 102.1 The Edge.

As for Watie, she sees herself pursuing a television career and maybe one day having her very own show like Wendy Williams.

Feature photo: Radio, television and film senior Itale Watie broadcasts jazz in the KNTU Radio Station on Monday afternoon. KNTU is licensed to the University of North Texas and is on the air 24 hours, every day of the year, broadcasting with 100,000 watts at 88.1 FM. Photo by Zixian Chen / Senior Staff Photographer 

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