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KETR hands radio show to students "After Dark"

By Carmen Martin
On November 30, 2010

Local radio station 88.9 KETR featured a new kind of programming this semester in "Lions After Dark," a student-run radio show, which airs Monday-Thursday for two hours a night.

Show host Gabby Magnussen, known on air as Gaby Estrada, said the idea behind the show was to fulfill the desires of A&M-Commerce students.

"The goal of this show is to be all about the students, getting out to the student body by playing music they like, mostly the top 40, and giving them campus news they would be interested in such as homecoming events," she said. "We really wanted to cater to the students since KETR has more of an alternative feel."

Magnussen moved to "Lions After Dark" after being a part of the student-run Internet radio station KKOM, and she said she could not imagine a better way get paid.

"I don't think this is work, this is fun," she said. "I mean think about it, I'd rather be up here cueing up music than flipping burgers for the same pay. I really like the way it is and think it's really cool."

"Lions After Dark" has more than 150 fans on Facebook during its first semester of broadcasting and is working on establishing a website linked to KETR.

Magnussen's co-host senior radio/television major Heather Hutchens said they are already looking for ways to improve the program.

"We would like to see more listener involvement such as games to give away prizes, more musical student guests, and more guests from around campus so we could really put the phrase student radio to its meaning," Hutchens said. "This was a really good opportunity that I couldn't pass up. To co-host a program on a 100,000-watt station is an opportunity a lot of people in radio never really get."

After working on "The Morning Blend," another of KETR's broadcasts, which was cancelled this past summer and replaced by the National Public Radio's "Morning Edition," Hutchens looked for another job in the field and found "Lions After Dark."

"It is our show, although there is not complete freedom," she said. "If it is relevant to the campus it is on our show, if not, then we are not doing our jobs. It's not about us, it's about the students. We should aim to be your source for everything so you can stay up to date."

Guests are welcomed on the program and regulars from the Student Government Association (SGA) appear every Monday. Student Government Association Vice President and senior construction science major Marcus Graham was a guest on "Lions After Dark."

"We are helping promote each other and support one another because I feel we are in the same position," he said. "We both are taking baby steps, nothing comes right away, but we know good things can come."

Head of the Department of Mass Media, Communication and Theatre Dr. John Mark Dempsey said he pushed the idea for the show.

"'Lions After Dark' was my idea," he said. "I wanted to bring back the student radio that has been missing since the ‘70s, which featured a show called ‘Free Form.'"

Dempsey said Magnussen and Hutchens were among a few students he thought could do well on the air.

"When we decided to try and get approval and funding, we obviously had a list of people in mind, and I knew Gaby and Heather were both capable and trustworthy," he said. "Once we got the approval for ‘Lions After Dark' on KETR, we asked Jerrod Knight for a spot and he has been very valuable to us with his opinions and critiques."

He also said he wants the show to do more than just provide information and current music to listeners.

"'Lions After Dark' is not just to serve the community and campus, as that is the main goal of any radio station, but also we hope in the long run to help unify the campus," he said.

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