In Spring 2011, College of the Desert oceanography professor Bob Pellenbarg donates radio broadcast equipment, spurring the Student Journalist Society, a club at College of the Desert founded by staff members of The Chaparral to take the first steps of building KCOD. On March 25th, a ribbon-cutting ceremony took place to usher in the debut of KCOD on airwaves throughout the Coachella Valley. The ceremony was attended by COD President Jerry Patton and other administrators, members of the community, and local media to cover the event. Much of the initial planning and structure was implemented by the then-Editor in Chief of The Chaparral, Jayel Aheram. As KCOD’s first General Manager, he was key in organizing fundraising and outreach efforts during the formative period of KCOD.
Programming director Raymond Bondad was responsible for seeking out much of the on-campus talent which filled more than 12 hours of airtime each day.
Throughout KCOD’s first semester, the station was broadcasting on 1620 AM, accessible throughout campus, and with particularly favorable weather, as far as Pasadena. To complement the over-the-air broadcast, RTV Announcing student Samuel Mountjoy set up a live internet stream through livestream.com, allowing for global access to KCOD around the clock. By the end of the Spring semester, Dean Jim Berg worked with Professor Laurilie Jackson to create a standalone production class to support KCOD.
During its second full semester in Fall 2011, attempts were made to expand KCOD’s programming, and outreach, promotion, and attempts at sponsorship began in earnest. Experience gained during the preceding semester was used to further structure and develop the station. In December 2011, KCOD students attended the West Coast Music and Radio Industry Conference, hosted by the Intercollegiate Broadcasting Service. Attendees included Ryan Davis, Alexis Carrero, Sean Wilbrecht, and Shauna Holmes, as well as faculty advisors Laurilie Jackson and Robert Pellenberg. At the conference, KCOD staff learned to utilize the IBS Backbone Service, which would allow the station to be on the air 24/7, and received a large donation from American pianist, composer and radio broadcaster John Tesh, and film and television actress Connie Sellecca. Tesh and Sellecca donated a professional sound board, two iMac computers and a one-year subscription of livestreaming service by IBS Backbone, valued at $2,700.
Over the winter break, Raymond Bondad’s successor as programming director, Ryan Davis, worked hard to learn, prepare and implement the IBS Backbone service, as Jayel Aheram’s successor as General Manager, Brendan C. Helliwell, worked on formalizing the role of KCOD’s staff in station management and planning for the Spring 2012 semester.
KCOD Radio operates on 1620 AM on the dial, and online through live-streaming at www.kcodradio.org. The station operates utilizing student and community volunteer operators, overseen by volunteer staff and a faculty advisor. Volunteer DJs and personalities ordinarily operate during KCOD’s hours of operation, which is between 8AM and 10PM. Radio programming is continued through the off-hours by utilizing the IBS Backbone service, which automates the station when it is not in use. KCOD is also staffed by volunteers, who fulfill a variety of functions in the station. These include activities such as engineering, production, programming, promotion, outreach and research.
KCOD is largely overseen by volunteer staff consisting mostly of students in College of the Desert’s Mass Communications department, which offers comprehensive programs in all aspects of mass communications, including a growing curriculum in radio programming and station operations.
Written by Brendan Helliwell, KCOD Station Manager