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KRLX’s return to air

Radio shows are looking to make their big comeback to campus. After a year of online-only radio, KRLX is finally re-opening the doors of its studio and welcoming students back inside. With new shows and classic returners, people are optimistic about the future of the campus radio station. 

During the past year, KRLX moved online, and while the community made do and enjoyed it, it was just not the same. 

“It was just different,” explained Nicolo Del Negro ’23, who co-hosted a show with a Carleton professor. Del Negro elaborated that “working with an elderly professor who didn’t really know how to use technology on a radio show was definitely tough. There were many times that it didn’t really work out technology-wise.” 

This sentiment was echoed by Astrid Malter ’23, KRLX’s Record Library Manager, who also had a show during the pandemic and acknowledged that the online software was not particularly easy to use.

However, these are now issues of the past as KRLX has restarted in a completely in-person format. The Sayles basement studio is once again filled with the sounds of music and playful banter from hosts. This reflects another major milestone in the campus’ slow journey back towards normalcy.

Not only will the end of online shows and the return of in-person programming solve many of the technical issues that plagued KRLX in the past year, it also opens the door for the use of many exciting features.

“I am looking forward to the phone in the studio,” noted Malter. “I think that makes it super fun and interactive. I really want my friends to call in, especially if they are not on campus. I am also looking forward to playing records for my show; that is something we are trying to make a bigger deal.”

The return of in-person shows has also spurred some who were not involved in the radio station before the pandemic to get involved. Ava Chisholm ’22 and Sophie Husseman ’22 are a dynamic duo who will be gracing the KRLX radio waves for the first time this fall. 

“I never got involved here before because Carleton gets so busy, but this time I saw the poster, and I was like ‘I gotta do it!’” Chisholm commented. The pair of friends had been planning on having a show since their first year and are finally seeing this vision realized. 

Other first-years are not willing to wait for the opportunity to get inside of the studio. Even the traditionally extreme first-year showtimes would not deter some of the new hosts. Will Prim ’23, who secured the highly coveted 4:30-6 a.m. Friday slot, is a prime example: “Since the studio is open now, I will definitely be there. Every Friday before the sun rises,” said Prim. “This will be my first time in a radio studio; I am very excited.” 

Despite host’s excitement, it remains unclear how the entire campus community will react to KRLX this coming term.

“Listenership hasn’t been that high for quite a few years,” explained Malter. “I think that has more to do with the general decline of radio and the rise of phones and Spotify, rather than something that KRLX is doing wrong.” 

This is a reality that hosts are prepared to deal with: “Hopefully I will have some at-home listeners. If no one else, at least my dad will be on,” said Prim.

That said, the hiatus and now restart of studio-centered KRLX provide an excellent chance for a re-emergence of the cherished campus radio station. 

Helping the station is the return of local broadcasting on 88.1 FM and additional live programming: “We are planning on bringing back live performances which traditionally are on Wednesdays from 8 to 9 p.m. We have musicians come and perform in the Record Libe and then we broadcast it,” Malter explained. “We are looking for musicians, if you or your friends are interested, and we might have a few other little concerts here. We might try and get one of the professors to do something that would be really cool. And hopefully, we can have other music-themed meetings in the Record Libe.”

Overall, the upcoming term is one that KRLX fans and music lovers should be excited about. “I am really optimistic,” said Malter. “I think the freshman class is really excited about KRLX, and that is great to see. We also have a ton of sophomores this year, and I know that traditionally, sophomores are the class that does the least amount of radio, so we have potential.” 

In a path towards this potential, KRLX is really trying to reach out to as much of the campus as possible. “The door is always open, and there are plenty of ways to get involved without having a show,” said Malter. “You could be a record librarian, review CDs, come up with merch ideas, join our music magazine “No Fidelity”—even just listening to KRLX means a lot. We are bringing back Music Friday’s, so every Friday, we will be inside or outside Sayles with speakers and merch, with members of the board  available to talk so you can always find us. Also, come down to the Record Libe or the studios because someone is always here.”

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