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KDIC resolves to get students invested in station by fixing tech problems

Ceci Bergman ’19 recites poetry and jokes on “The Mom Cave Show,” a show hosted by Steven Duong ’19 that’s on its second year running. Photo by Hung Vuong.
Ceci Bergman '19 recites poetry and jokes on "The Mom Cave Show," a show hosted by Steven Duong '19 that's on its second year running. Photo by Hung Vuong.
Ceci Bergman ’19 recites poetry and jokes on “The Mom Cave Show,” a show hosted by Steven Duong ’19 that’s on its second year running. Photo by Hung Vuong.

The era of KDIC being closely associated with nonexistent streams and crashing websites is coming to an end — or at least that’s the hope of its new co-station manager Jenkin Benson ’17, who also hosts “No Scene,” a college-rock show on Thursdays from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m..

“The station has always been plagued with tech issues — the stream always went down, the website would always be really finicky — and it would be hard to get people to listen. My first-year KDIC had a way bigger campus presence — people would really listen to it,” Benson said.

Arriving on campus as a first-year, he found that upperclassmen were really invested in KDIC, but over the next couple years that sense of connection faded.

“Once you go through a generational shift, and when during that generational shift [the station] stops working, the underclassmen don’t care, because it’s not a presence on campus anymore. So I’m wanting to make KDIC a thing that people are interested in again,” Benson added.

Right off the bat, Benson and co-station manager Seth Hanson ’17 decided to move KDIC’s servers from the recording studio to ITS in an effort to solve the technical issues.

“I don’t know why that wasn’t done two years ago. When you have the server in the space and people are accessing those computers, stuff happens,” Benson said.

However, issues remain. Currently KDIC’s website is little more than a schedule and a link to the web stream, although Benson hopes to have a full site launched by mid-October. As for the stream, it only works for those on Grinnell’s internet network, but it should be available to all internet users soon.

Despite its technical challenges, KDIC does some have some very popular shows. “The Mom Cave” airs Sundays from 11 p.m. to 12 p.m. and is hosted by Steven Duong ’19. “The Mom Cave” eschews all recorded music in favor of live music, banter, poetry — basically anything Duong’s friends want to perform. Now in its second year, the idea for the show was to provide a venue for Duong’s friends and floor mates on the fourth floor of Main Hall — which was nicknamed Mom Cave last year — to perform. Duong is the official host, but he features a rotating cast of his friends and ex-floor mates.

“Main was a very tight-knit community, and I think the rapport we have in the studio is largely dependent on the fact that we lived together and that we spent so much time together,” Duong said.

Now that the residents of Mom Cave have dispersed across campus, Duong says that the show will always be tied to the people who hung out and performed on the show last year, even though it is open to other talented students as well. In the first broadcast of the year, Duong took inspiration from fellow KDIC show “Black Kids Do Radio” and posted a livestream on Facebook. Still viewable after the stream, the video currently has over 700 views.

“Various Noises,” a KDIC show hosted by Jacob Friedman ’19 on Sundays from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m., is new this year, different from “Juice Cleanse,” which he co-hosted with Phoebe Schreckinger ’19 last year.

“I’m hoping this year my show’s going to be more formatted and a little more serious. I wanted to have more control,” Friedman said of the reasons for the change. “Working with another person to figure out what we both wanted, I think I wanted slightly more order than she did.”

Friedman’s plan is for “Various Noises” to be a variety show, with a mix of recorded and live music, occasional guests and perhaps even some original radio plays.

“I think radio’s just a really cool format for experimenting with, and since it’s a college radio station, I have a lot of space to wiggle around, so I want to take advantage of that,” Friedman said.

While Friedman says the popularity of “The Mom Cave” has led him to consider following their lead of postering on campus to spread the word, he will not broadcast his show on Facebook Live.

“I think it kind of takes away from the whole audio aspect of radio. I know that when I’m in the studio, it feels super intimate, and when I have a camera on me, I feel a little put off,” Friedman said.

One definite advantage of live streaming shows on Facebook is allowing listening on demand, which KDIC currently doesn’t make possible.  Recording and distributing shows as podcasts is a long-term goal for Benson, but right now he’s more focused on the basics. Getting the web stream available off campus is at the at the top of the list.   

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