From a small cubicle in the Upper Iowa University Liberal Arts building on the Fayette campus, the “Voice of Peacock Nation” is now being heard around the globe. Currently managed by a trio of student volunteers, KPCK online radio is on the air and broadcasting student-generated music playlists for anyone with internet access.
The energetic personnel behind the mics and controls are sports communication majors Travis Granberg of Oelwein, Iowa, and Amy Bonvillain of Stockton, Ill., and MBA student Ryan Bubulka of Hillsboro, Mo. While currently managing the music playlist, the Peacock broadcasting crew hopes to interject a full schedule of sports and career services talk shows, and live sports and campus events into the regular programming by January 2016.
“We do not have a shortage of programming ideas coming in from the students,” said Bubulka, while noting KPCK is seeking additional volunteers to help operate the 24-hour network. “The station certainly gives students an outlet to display their skills in marketing, business, graphic design, IT, and so many other skill sets. It will definitely provide a number of hands-on experiences and real-world opportunities to a great many students.”
“I feel the purpose behind this endeavor is to give students a chance to gain experience in running a station and at the same time find people who can care for KPCK and continue molding it for years to come,” added Bonvillain.
“This project provides a whole different skill set than the typical classroom, textbooks, and lectures. It is another great educational opportunity provided by Upper Iowa,” Granberg continued.
Dr. Melle Starsen, UIU assistant professor of communication, explains the proposal for an internet radio station at the University was conceived in 2010 by then student, Zach Carlyle ‘15, who now calls Peacock football games with fellow UIU alumnus Joe Stasi ’91 on KOEL radio. Carlyle submitted the initial proposal to University administrators by following guidelines provided by Starsen and writing it much like a real-life broadcasting RFP (request for proposal).
Carlyle also received help from a then newly arrived transfer student, Jacob Barron ‘15. Barron proved to be equally committed to the project and provided invaluable support, and more importantly, additional creative ideas. Unfortunately, despite the dedicated efforts, Upper Iowa didn’t have the required funding available at the time and the project was delayed.
A renewed attempt to form the UIU radio station took place approximately 1 ½ years ago when Communications faculty member NiCole Dennler stepped up to the mic, with the assistance of Starsen, former dean of Liberal Arts John Siblik, assistant professor of communication Matt Foy and a group of determined students.
“KPCK is no longer a dream and I am insufferably cheerful about the fact that we finally have our student-run station and the whole world will know about it,” said an elated Starsen. “I can’t wait to start listening to the programs. Talk about possessing a practical experience to benefit our students, who will now have the chance to create, propose, and submit ideas for typical radio programming. The station will afford them the opportunity to actually learn how to operate a control board, think on their feet, as well as read copy.
“The skills developed and honed during such experiences is included in the four major skills that Fortune 500 companies are looking for: writing skills, presenting skills, creativity, and critical thinking skills,” she added. “Plus, I have a feeling that the student DJs will have a lot of fun in addition to the work that they are doing.”
“I’m equally thrilled to see the plans and ideas shared at so many meetings by the respective faculty, staff, and students have finally come to fruition,” added Dennler, who expressed special gratitude for the vision provided by Starsen and Carlyle; funding from the UIU Provost Office and Office of Communications and Marketing; the design of the station logo by UIU lecturer Harold Waterman, the technical expertise shared by the University’s IT support administrator Monte Graff, and the ongoing dedication provided by each of the UIU student volunteers.
“Look out world. KPCK is online!” Dennler proudly proclaimed.
The “Voice of Peacock Nation” can be listened to at www.live365.com/stations/uiu2015. Any students wishing to volunteer to help with KPCK operations, or if someone wishes to donate funding to or advertise with KPCK, may contact Dennler at email@example.com.