Radio broadcasting is no easy task, especially if you are a student here at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Sure, if you wanted to be a radio broadcaster and if you were a student, you could pick up internships at any of the radio stations here in town, but the one that most students aren’t aware of is right underneath their noses. Of course, we are talking about KMSU-FM’s student-led variety radio show called Radio a La Carte.
As the name suggests, it is the only student-led radio show on KMSU’s otherwise busy schedule. Radio a La Carte broadcasts every Monday through Friday at a designated place inside Jazzman’s Café and Bakery in the CSU. However, when technology demands a change of venue, the show will broadcast from the studios in the Alumni and Foundation Center. There are at least seven radio hosts (usually two or three per weekday, with the exceptional day a host wants to do the show solo), each with its own playlist to entertain the listeners with their own style of music they wish to play. The co-hosts, in addition, do numerous interviews with many clubs and organizations that they find tabling in the main hallway between the Mav Ave food court and the Ostrander Auditorium.
Jim Gullickson, one of the station managers over at KMSU – nicknamed “The Maverick” – said that he was the one who started Radio a La Carte all the way back in 2009. Gullickson said the show got started when the technology became available to transmit high-quality audio over the Internet. At the time, KMSU wasn’t very visible – and according to Gullickson, it still isn’t that visible – to the campus community, and he sought a way to change that perception. The portable studio radio board solved the problem, according to Gullickson. “It also seemed like a perfect way for MSU students to have an opportunity to host a live program in a very visible way,” he said.
The radio board was procured through a vendor with IT Services, and they mounted wheels to handle the weight of the equipment. Radio a La Carte hosts use two special computers for their broadcasts. One is to transmit their high-quality audio over the Internet to the KMSU studio at the Alumni and Foundation Center, and their sister station KMSK-FM’s studios in Austin, Minnesota. Gullickson said the name of Radio a La Carte was a name that was given by the students, and it stuck.
Radio a La Carte was originally aired as a one-hour program from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. In January 2016, a change was made to accommodate the loss of a program called Blues Break and as a result, the program now airs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. following a successful experiment with it during the winter break.
Another aspect of KMSU/KMSK is the student run news program called The Southern Minnesota News Project, and it is made of up students who are willing to put in the extra effort reporting campus news. From its inception in 2004, the students who work with the News Project have gone on to do other things in media. Both programs don’t require you to be a mass communications student in order to do it.
KMSU/KMSK is found at 89.7 FM in Mankato and 91.3 in Austin. You can also stream the station online at kmsu.org, and you can find it on Tune in Radio. Download it either on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.