Students have been a part of the fabric of KALA-FM, the public radio station at St. Ambrose, since it's inception. But it has been some 30 years since SAU had a radio station entirely for students, run and programmed entirely by students.
That is, until now.
The new Stinger online station features student-led programming and student-selected music 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
The introduction on Feb. 13 coincided almost to the day with the 45th anniversary of KALA, which took to the airwaves on Valentines Day in 1969.
Students can locate the station online at sau.edu/kala.
The musical format is a mix of pop, country and alternative rock, the three most popular choices gleaned by polling St. Ambrose students online and at the Cosgrove Cafeteria.
The idea for an online student station began with Ken Colwell, PhD, a professor in the communications department and the director of the Communication Center. Seniors Tyler Mitchell, the program director, Emilee Renwick, the assistant program director, and Molly Conrad, the music director, enthusiastically embraced the concept.
"We thought this definitely needs to be on campus," Renwick said. "This is something the students really can enjoy. It can really flourish once we get students listening.
"A lot of people use their phones and tablets when listening to music now. And this has no commercials. We are competing with Pandora now. We're taking it to the next level."
Student DJs are on the air at various times Monday through Friday, mixing in campus news, commentary and additional programming such as an advice session during which Renwick will respond to questions posed by students via Twitter (@TheStingerRadio) and email (firstname.lastname@example.org.).
Throwback Thursdays feature music students' parents listened to while growing up.
Listeners will still be able to enjoy KALA's regular offerings at 88.5 FM and 106.1 FM, online, or through an HD radio.
Students interested become DJs on The Stinger should contact KALA Operations Manager and Program Director David Baker or Production Specialist Johnna Klossing.