Long-time listeners of radio station KACU-FM may have noticed a difference when they turned the radio on at 9 a.m. Monday. Instead of music, listeners heard a new program called On Point.
This is one of several major changes at KACU, which broadcasts from the ACU campus. The radio station has restructured itself to provide students in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication a higher-quality work experience.
KACU general manager Nathan Gibbs conducted a survey of the station’s audience asking how important music is to the listeners. The audience responded with support for a more professional radio station. As a result of that survey, KACU has undergone changes how the radio station reaches its listeners and how the station trains its staff.
Gibbs, in response to the listeners, has added asked-for programs such as Fresh Air, an art and culture program, and This American Life. Among the programs to be aired are BBC World Service and BBC Newshour, allowing listeners to get their news and their music all in one place. On Point and Radio Lab are programs that are heard nationally.
News anchor Lydia Miranda said she liked the music but believes the changes are for the better. She said KACU is “more connected to the rest of the country.”
Now that listeners are getting a wider range of programs, students working at the station will be better prepared for broadcast work.
“My goal is to make the best experience for students,” Gibbs said.
Traditionally, student workers at KACU were referred to as announcers. Gibbs has replaced announcers with the positions of host/producer: News at Noon, producer, host/producer: This Week In Abilene and news anchors. With these new titles, student workers will also be expected to fulfill new obligations ranging from producing segments, gather new stories and do voice work. The restructuring will provide members of the JMC program with better work experience.
“I think the new changes are very exciting and will provide a great potential for growth,” said Cara Lee Cranford, media sales manager at KACU. “We are receiving a lot of very positive feedback regarding the changes.”
However, Gibbs said he is not done.
“We want to be the best news source; number one, radio and number two, around town,” Gibbs.
In the future, Gibbs hopes to change his office into a control room for a talk show. Gibbs, because KACU reaches a citywide audience, wants to recruit reporters to cover local events and news. In addition to reporting, Gibbs also wants the reporters creating video content for the KACU website.