Want to join KZSU? Here's what you need to know!
The Rough Guide to KZSU
You've heard us on the air, you've always dreamed of working at a radio station, and now here's your chance for glory! Joining KZSU is easy and offers tons of rewarding experiences.
KZSU is an all-volunteer non-commercial station with over 100 people working in music, sports, news, engineering, production, publicity, promotions, and graphic design. Without the blood, sweat, and tears of our volunteers, our station would not exist. YOU can help KZSU by working in any of our departments, all of which offer their own challenges and rewards. Most people, though, are interested in hosting their own radio show and playing music. This requires some effort on your part, but is well worth the work.
The first step to becoming a DJ at KZSU is to enroll in our quarterly broadcast training class. This free 5 week course teaches you the basics in using broadcast equipment, FCC guidelines, station regulations, and how to help make the radio station a better place. At the end of the course you will need to submit an hour-long demo tape recorded in "Studio B" to demonstrate that you can effectively DJ. When our training director approves your demo tape, you are air-cleared and ready to get on the microphone.
Getting air-cleared does not mean you are ready to get a show, though! As I mentioned, we are an all-volunteer station and we expect you to put in your fair share of work. All DJs must complete at least 15 hours of staffing every quarter, plus three record reviews, before they can apply for a show. The more staffing hours you put in, the more likely you are to get a show, and the better time-slot you will receive. Your work keeps the station running smoothly and helps you get a better show.
There are numerous ways to get staffing hours, and you can definitely begin the process while taking the broadcast training class (in fact, we encourage it!). This will help you better understand how KZSU works and will help you produce a better-sounding show. Some of the best ways to help the station include:
- Reviewing new music that arrives at KZSU (we receive hundreds of CDs every week that need to be reviewed for our DJs and screened for FCC violations)
- Production work, such as creating station promos and public service announcements (we'll even teach you how to run cool audio editing software)
- Contacting Bay Area clubs and venues to get tickets that we can give out on air
- Procuring underwriting from local businesses who want to help support KZSU
- Attending KZSU events such as our library days (organizing and upkeeping our massive music library)
As you spend more time at the station you'll find niches that fit you and learn about more ways to help the station. New staffing opportunities will always be coming up as people start new projects and need help. KZSU is all about self-initiative, so if you have a good idea, run with it! Like Nike, we believe in the "Just Do It" approach.
Once you've gotten air-cleared and started accumulating staffing hours, you'll need to submit a show application. This is your chance to explain what sort of show you envision producing. If you think you can pull off three straight hours of Turkish hip hop, go for it! If you'd like to get your feet wet with a more eclectic show, that's fine also. Just realize that at least five songs per hour will have to come from our A-File, a collection of the best and most recent albums we've received at the station. We won't tell you which of our hundreds of A-File albums to play, though. If you've been reviewing music at the station, this means you can help shape our A-File and make sure everyone is playing your favorite music.
If you're nervous about getting on air, running the board, uploading your play list, taking phone calls, AND talking on air... well, that's understandable! Experience will help you get over your nerves, so it's best to get as much practice as possible. Our "interim" periods are a great chance for trial and error as there are tons of spots available to get on air. Interim happens between every quarter (roughly correlated with the academic quarters at Stanford) while most students go home for vacations. This means there are tons of spots up for grabs. There will also be opportunities throughout the quarter to sub for DJs who can't make their regular shows.
Feeling overwhelmed? Don't worry, take things slowly! KZSU only requires as much commitment as you can give. If you are going to be too busy with work or classes to have a permanent show, then just take opportunities as they come. Many DJs will have a show one quarter, then take some time off as they focus on "life" and all its chores. You can always volunteer intermittently at the station, either by doing a music review once in a while, attending library day, or simply subbing when a show become available.
Your experience at KZSU will be what you make of it. The more gung-ho your attitude, the more you will enjoy your time here. We are always looking for new and excited volunteers, so come check out what you can offer to the station.
Andrew, Alan, Andy, and Matt
KZSU Training Team