From KSUB to KXSU - Big Changes for Seattle University Student Radio

Posted by Caitlin Joyce on Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 5:30 PM PST

For the past 20 years, Seattle University students have been finding their voices behind the microphone of KSUB, Seattle University’s student run radio station.

Are you thinking, “Seattle University has a radio station?” You’re not alone. While an integral part to the student experience for some, KSUB’s small circulation let it fly under the radar of many on campus – but that’s all changing. 

KSUB got its start in 1994 when Fr. John Foster, recognized the need for student radio.  Joseph K. Abel, then head of KIRO’s News Division and a Seattle University Regent, donated monophonic broadcast equipment from a defunct AM station, giving the students of Seattle University a voice. 

In its beginnings, KSUB was broadcast through the electrical systems of the student residence halls. With the support of President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., KSUB underwent major upgrades and began streaming online in 2003 through the station’s website, 

Cameron Collins, ‘06, has had a show on KSUB since he began law school at Seattle University in 2003 and remains dedicated to the station as an alumnus. 

“I’ve always taken pride in what KSUB is and what we’ve accomplished. I believe in independent college radio and Seattle doesn’t have a lot of that. KSUB offers students the opportunity to get a show on the schedule if they are willing to put in the time and effort. That’s not how it works at most stations.” Collins said. 

This past summer, KSUB’s dream of landing a spot on Seattle’s FM dial finally began to take shape when they were granted an FCC permit to build a broadcast tower, with an FM license expected to follow. In preparation for the launch of their FM signal, 102.1, the station changed its name to KXSU with an unveiling party in early October.

KXSU faculty advisor, Professor John Carter, has hopes that the new FM signal will better help KXSU connect to the community. “I think what sets us apart is that we are a radio station with a Jesuit point of view. The new station is a way to serve our community and that’s important to me,” Carter shared. 

Seattle University senior and KXSU general manager, Shannon Phelps, is excited for what the future holds for the station. “We want to have a stronger presence on campus. It’s our goal that every student knows about the station and that we broaden our listener base. My involvement with the station has helped me develop as a public speaker and the hope is that KXSU will become an educational resource for the rest of campus.” 

With the addition of 102.1 FM to their current online broadcasts, the door is opened to a whole new listener base. “The signal will cover about six miles. We looked at a map of the range and it’s cool that we’ll be heard from Queen Anne to the Bay,” Phelps said. 

Despite all the changes at KXSU it remains open to all members of the Seattle U community with a passion for music and broadcast communications. Alumni who are interested in KXSU should know that KXSU is interested in you, too.  “We want alumni involved and this is a great opportunity,” Carter said. “If you want a show, get in touch with me.” 

KXSU plans to host a grand opening of the FM station in October 2015. You can stay up to date with all the latest KXSU news by following them on Facebook.

Were you involved in radio as a student? Will you be tuning in to support our student DJs this spring? Let us know in the comments below.