URH Shines As the Only College Radio on Hawaii Island

COVID-19 isn’t stopping URH from striving and thriving

University Radio Hilo (URH) is the only college radio station on Hawaiʻi island, and they aren’t letting COVID-19 stop them from entertaining and informing the Hilo community. URH is working with campus administrators and fellow student leaders to bring back more announcements from our campus community because itʻs important for our community to know whatʻs happening at UH Hilo.

“We do our best to keep at a 6-foot minimum distance from each other,” said URH General Manager Michael Taylor. He noted that the radio’s main studio, called “ WhisperRoom,” can hold six people, but they are now restricting that room to one person alone. “We are looking into ways of using the WhisperRoom, which is quite literally an isolated box, and taking advantage of it having see through plexiglass by making a co-hosting area outside of it —using new equipment and a good amount of soundproofing foam for just as great of an experience.” Taylor added that URH also sanitizes equipment after each individual use.

It’s almost near to impossible to operate and manage a radio station virtually, Taylor stated. “As someone with a decent understanding of radio and audio, I've had to make upgrades to our systems to better equip URH in providing itʻs services generally– and not just for this pandemic.” All departments on campus have been hit hard fiscally and with changes in personnel, but URH has learned to utilize their strengths to better support others on campus by using the radio as an effective means for communication, Taylor said, adding that URH is in the process of “re-expanding URH to the internet, and most especially the UH Hilo app.”

To become a URH Student DJs, you must be enrolled in at least six UH Hilo credits (about two classes at UH Hilo), and must maintain a minimum of a 2.0 GPA. DJs and URH staff go through trainings on the legalities of radio. Taylor noted that the radio is public and not exclusive to the university, so URH must abide by broadcasting laws, licensing laws, and regulations set forth by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission). When one comes aboard to be a DJ, they not only learn the legalities, but also how to use URH’s broadcasting system, as well as the multitude of audio, lighting, and DJ equipment that is typically used, according to Taylor. DJs must also be engaged and excited about what they’re presenting, Taylor said. “A lot of the times in past in-person events I had outside of URH, DJs really have to hype up the crowd, as they play off of your energy just as much as you do theirs. The same applies to radio, except, you’re not getting that feedback from the audience immediately — so you have to do all the heavy lifting of sounding engaging.” If a DJ is on air, you can dial (808) 932-7376 to request a song. DJs must screen the song first to see if it is fit to be on air (No profanities, calls to action, etc.), so it is never 100% certain that your request can make it on air.

After being interviewed as a DJ, you can get on air as soon as you’re hired and finish your trainings. “I like to move at the pace of the DJs,” Taylor said.

“We can work with you to develop your own radio personality and slowly come to form the identity you’d like to showcase on air. I never want to force getting on air ASAP upon a DJ, every move is at their own comfort level.”

To become a DJ, you can either request an application online, or you can visit the URH office on the third floor of Campus Center, Room 313, to pick up an application. Applications are also available on the second floor of Campus Center, Room 210.

Tune in to the URH-KUHH 101. 1 FM.

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