iCLU is Broadcasting Music, News, Sports, Talk Radio From Home

Aaron Rohrer, Reporter

“You’re listening to iCLU radio, your campus station,” sounds the daily radio host’s voice when tuned into the California Lutheran University broadcast via the RadioFX app.

Recording from home is the new normal for iCLU radio and podcasting students at Cal Lutheran.

Even without the state-of-the-art equipment inside the KCLU radio building, an NPR station which broadcasts from the north end of campus, students and professors are finding ways to ensure broadcasting continues.

Adjunct Communication Professor and Adviser for iCLU radio, Jason Beaton, said in an email interview that his students are using platforms such as Adobe Audition, Audacity and GarageBand to produce pre-recorded programming.

Generating creative content is no easy task. Nonetheless, Beaton has been working with students to build interesting radio shows day-in and day-out. This includes a mix of relevant community news coverage of the ongoing pandemic as well as a gradual transition back to a station that plays a selection of top music hits.

“I try to encourage my students to be creative, do something different, select a topic you are familiar with and enjoy talking about,” Beaton said.

Kyle Tamkin, a Cal Lutheran graduate student, has been a part of iCLU Radio since fall 2016. While there are significant drawbacks associated with remote radio broadcasting, Tamkin is currently co-station manager and is using his years of experience to keep the station running as smoothly as possible.

“[iCLU radio] has given me a chance to grow, explore internship opportunities, learn how to capitalize from mistakes, craft my skill and become more confident in broadcasting,” Tamkin said in an email interview.

The complete online transition has impacted some broadcast production courses more than others.

Beaton noted that the launch of Cal Lutheran’s podcast production course could not have come at a better time, as podcasts are pre-recorded. With an audio recording device and editing software, the coursework can be done remotely.

For sophomore Athena Alexander, who is currently enrolled in the iCLU radio course, she feels the class structure itself has been impacted.

This course is a hands-on communication elective taught by Adjunct Professor Spencer Fischer, where students of all majors are welcome to gain practical experience working at the student-run station.

“The steps you go through when broadcasting a show are a lot different than recording a sound piece in your room. I feel like the point of the class was to teach us how to run a radio show and without the whistles and buttons that come with that, it is hard to accomplish that goal,” Alexander said in an email interview.

From having a radio show once a week on Thursdays from 6-7 p.m. to having no show at all, Alexander said she misses the relaxing aspect that comes with broadcasting, getting to say and play whatever she wanted for her hour segment.

Using social media interaction, live streaming and incorporation of video recordings along with traditional music and news, the station is maintaining a strong connection with its audience.

“Radio has become visual in the last few years. Radio is broadcasting, and broadcasting is streaming. In 2020, if you don’t have something creative to say no one will listen because there are so many options out there to choose from,” Beaton said.


The campus radio station presented “Couchella,” a virtual live DJ set with Fischer on Saturday, April 18, via the iCLU radio club’s Instagram live. This is one creative way in which the station aims to continue to reach listeners and spread music during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“We got some really good feedback on ‘Couchella’ and are looking to have another live virtual event the weekend of May 2nd. We want to continue as many events as possible throughout the summer virtually too,” Tamkin said. “Furthermore, we continue to plan not only these virtual events, but events for next school year in conjunction with other clubs and ASCLUG!”

The station is expanding its online streaming presence and launching new initiatives with diverse content for its listeners.

“We now have a new feature on the iCLU radio station called the All Star Podcast Weekends. Every hour on Saturday and Sunday we have a different podcast airing from one of my students,” Beaton said. “You can hear everything from News, Sports, to beauty tips, and how to play Dungeons and Dragons properly and effectively.”

A little creativity alongside the presentation of relevant news for the Cal Lutheran community has allowed the station to navigate the dynamics of this unprecedented situation.

“Knowing that the current pandemic may alter school next year, we are planning on how to approach the year shall we continue schooling via online only,” Tamkin said.