The Hot Box

A conversation about the new radio booth at KUHH

Staff Writer Holly S. Trowbridge
Photographer Kevianna Adams

Dj in a booth Have you heard about the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo’s very own radio station? KUHH recently spent $20,000 to purchase a new and improved radio booth. Previously, the radio office had been functioning as one room that had to remain silent when on-air. But with the new improvements, the soundproofed radio booth is contained and separate from any auditory disruptions.

“Every radio station has a call sign, and ours is KUHH,” said Jake Galves, advisor to Board of Media Broadcasting and the University Radio Hilo, which runs KUHH. “The ‘K’ is just standard. Every radio station West of the Rocky Mountains starts with a ‘K’ and everything East of the Rockies starts with a ‘W.’ It’s to differentiate where you are geographically.”

“This is our new hot box — it is always hot in here,” said Christina “Dream” Rico, who interviews and promotes local musicians. “Check out these multicolored lights! They go so bright, or you can turn the lights down really low to set the mood.”

“We just got this new booth from a company called the Whisperer,” added Galves. “The company does different sizes, and it just comes together like a little Ikea box. It’s all screws and everything comes pre-drilled and pre-set. It’s super cool. We just built it towards the end of last semester.”

The color gray is emitted from the exterior of the box, with all kinds of shiny knobs and buttons inside. “The lights change colors or they can be turned on and off. I think it helps to set the mood for interviews, especially when I interview musicians. We get everything set up and sometimes they play live music,” Rico said.

“The box gives us more freedom compared to a more open space,” said Jacob Davenport, KUHH’s program coordinator. “We can be in our own little space and do what we want to do.”

With the box, there are benefits ranging from privacy to sound quality. “The sound is definitely better on the radio now, and we don’t have to have our sound as loud here in the office because it catches our vocals better on the microphone,” Rico said.

“Before this, it was just one open space so there was no isolation between the DJ and the office,” Galves said. “So, if people were talking or someone was turning up the music, it would interfere.”

The booth seems entirely soundproof, but Galves noted this technicality: “It’s sound resistant. It’s significantly quieter outside. The good thing about this booth is that, because it is carpeted and has all the acoustic padding, the speakers sound a lot different.”

“In terms of your vocal volume, you still have to check to make sure it’s not going to sound great over here, but on somebody’s radio, listeners are saying, ‘I’ve got to turn this up, I can’t even hear them’ because it still needs control here,” Davenport said. “Here the sound is clear, it’s just crisp.”

Galves noted that this new booth for the radio station provides students to get “real-world skills in a professional setting” while still allowing them to have fun in the collegiate setting.

“It’s important to me because it’s a place where I can go to listen to music, relieve stress, or get away from school for a little while,” Rico said. “Having a space you can really be more comfortable in, to express yourself, through music, or just going in on the microphone, you can be more comfortable. When you’re closed in, you can be more open instead of shy, not wanting to say anything because people are around, this is a game changer.”

UH Hilo students can apply for DJ or staff positions at KUHH. Find the BOMB / URH office and the KUHH sound booth on the third floor of Campus Center.