There was nothing really wrong with KNBU - 89.7 FM, the Wildcat, Baker University's student radio station. It had weekly shows of varying content, music from 8 a.m. to midnight most days and a bevy of regular listeners. But the KNBU staff felt the station was lacking that extra shimmer that would catapult it into something special.
Enter the KNBU executive staff.
After attending a media workshop in St. Louis last semester, the executive staff came back to Baldwin City with exciting ideas for the station. Program Director Lesley Gill said the group had returned energized and ready to work.
"We were listening to all of these bigger stations and their great ideas," Gill said. "The afternoon we came home, (Promotions Director) Chris Smith, (Station Manager) Dominique Adkins and I sat down and talked about how we thought it was time for a change in the station. We were really excited when we came back and explained it to the other members of the executive staff. We were just so pumped about getting things rolling."
While the executive staff was discussing potential changes for the future of the radio station, the mass media and communication department at Baker was knee-deep in a study that sought to discover the usefulness of the Baker media. When the results were released, Adkins said the executive staff knew its talks would need to bear fruit, and soon.
"Students surveyed were either unaware we had a campus station or didn't care that we did," Adkins said. "It was a huge eye-opener. We're in radio to learn and be professional. Part of being professional is promoting and creating awareness for our station."
Adkins said the group wasted no time and got to work. New promotional liners were recorded (click the audio links on the right to download recordings of the new liners), a new logo was designed and most importantly, the station developed a new name.
But not any name would work. Adkins said the executive staff agonized over what to call the updated station.
"The identity that we were hoping to achieve was to tell our listeners to be unique and be individuals," Adkins said. "We chose the Edge because it goes with our motto. The word 'edge' embodies the idea of individualism, so we ran with it. You can be an edgy hipster, an edgy rapper, an edgy prep - it applies to everyone, and we wanted everyone to feel a part of the station."
The station was not just changed cosmetically, though. Adkins said committees were formed to boost involvement among the radio class students. So far, she said she had noticed a greater sense of pride with the class members.
"The purpose of the committees is to allow students in radio to be involved in decisions the executive staff makes," Adkins said. "This gives the students a more active role in decision-making, and it brings a lot more creativity to the station because the whole class provides input."
Five radio committees are helmed by the executive staff. Sports Director Michael Cation leads the sports committee, Gill is in charge of the music committee, the promotions committee is operated by Smith, News Director Allyssa King leads the news committee and the recruitment and retention committee is run by Alex Dingman.
Gill said the new committee structure became an integral aspect of the station and successfully involved the class members in the daily operations and decision-making of KNBU.
"The committees are very hands-on for everyone, not just the executive staff," Gill said. "I'm in charge of the music committee and we are going through the CDs, and we are actually making the music choices for the station. It's great because it's not just the executive staff that's doing stuff, but everyone in the class."
Freshman Zack Rockey, co-host of "Being Cocky," said he appreciated being more involved with the KNBU operational and content decisions. Rockey, who is serving on the sports committee, said the committee system made him proud to be working with KNBU.
"I'm not just on (KNBU), I'm organizing it and making important decisions," Rockey said.
Finally, after months of making cosmetic, internal and operational changes, the executive staff and radio class members officially premiered the Edge with a kick-off party Jan. 30 in the Harter Union.
Because this was completely student organized and executed, KNBU adviser Joe Watson said he was proud of his students.
However, Watson said he did make one small suggestion to the executive staff and the radio class - get lots of different Baker students as guests on the air frequently.
"I have placed a requirement in the syllabus that shows must incorporate guests," Watson said. "We need to have more guests this year and more campus voices on the air. People like being in media - they like seeing their friends in media. I told the students that I want shows to incorporate live guests. The people that listen to our station tend to be friends with the DJ."
Overall, King said the finished product was worth the time and effort. She said the legacy the 2006-2007 KNBU staff started would hopefully last for a long time and better serve the needs of the Baker community.
"Everybody worked really hard to get it to where it is right now," King said. "Everybody shared responsibilities and helped along the way. The Wildcat was a tradition, but now we started a new tradition. I'm proud because everybody worked together on this and actually had a hand in creating our new identity."
KNBU: The Edge broadcasts automated songs 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Live programming is 6 p.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday. For a full show schedule, please click the link below.