August 6, 2018

The voice of Superior

91.3 KUWS represents a powerful resource for students and the community

When so much of the media available to the City of Superior comes from ‘the other side of the bridge,’ it’s easy to overlook an option right in the heart of the city. Yet the recently renovated studios at 91.3 FM KUWS offer a vast educational opportunity for University of Wisconsin-Superior students and a valuable resource for the community.

Since 1966, the radio station has broadcasted news, sports and music to the community. Originally located on the third floor of UW-Superior’s Old Main, the station has since relocated to the top floor of the Holden Fine and Applied Arts Center. In 2015 the station celebrated its 50th anniversary, with extensive renovations taking place in 2017. An affiliate of Wisconsin Public Radio, KUWS airs WPR programming and locally produced news, music and cultural programs.

“Part of our vision for the WPR Northern Region is to help find ways that we can weave the radio station into the fabric of the community through being both a resource and an asset,” said Paul Damberg, Northern Regional Manager at KUWS. “Obviously the most direct way is for people to send us information about community happenings and we’ll get them on the air in one way, shape or form. We’re also exploring ways that we can be even more of an asset.”

Those assets include a newly renovated recording laboratory with a 16-channel tablet-based mixer that can be used within the recoding space or taken out into the community. Students are able to come in to be recorded, and are able to learn how to record and edit.

This spring, UW-Superior students in the Music Technology course got the opportunity to experience the entire creative process with the help of Sound Central Production Services of Duluth.

“We have a really great relationship with Sound Central,” said Damberg. “They brought in the technology and we provided the space.”

Sound Central Production Services provided the students with a demonstration on sound reinforcement equipment. To further collaborate, sales manager Scott Lillo arranged a free professional recording session with the students.

“Initially, they had no idea of what that exactly meant,” said Hector Landa, instructor of the Music Technology course and assistant professor of piano at UW-Superior. “I believe only one or two of the students even knew of the existence of the radio station in our very same fine arts building. Once I explained what this project was about, they got pretty excited.”

Students Kristi Beaver, Alaina Johnson, Rachel Kivisto, and Kayla Raboin were able to perform the song “One Voice,” by Ruth Moody. Afterwards, they received the audio files from Sound Central Production Services to mix and master as part of the class. Each student was able to edit the recorded tracks to their own preference.

“We ended up with different versions of the piece depending on each student’s goals and preferences,” said Landa. “I see it as an exercise in the possibilities of post-recording processing.”

Landa believes this collaboration will create more opportunities for UW-Superior students with KUWS.

“Students loved getting to know what KUWS can offer the UW-Superior campus and the community,” said Landa. “They asked many questions and seemed to be interested in pursuing related projects beyond this class. Time will tell, but I feel like we opened a door to different types of collaborations, not only with the students enrolled in my class but also with the Music Department in general.”

For Damberg, he is hopeful that the new technology utilized at KUWS will help the partnership grow not only with UW-Superior’s Music Department, but the entire university and the community.

“The idea is that this recording capacity is not just for the UW-Superior soprano choir and the jazz band,” said Damberg. “We also could do poetry slam recording. We can do spoken word. We can do oral history. We can record for a professor who needs to have a high quality produced piece to use for an online class. We can record panel discussion, we can record debates, we can create sound effects – the sky’s the limit. This is a great big Swiss Army Knife with a lot of different functions. We want to make sure that we’re serving our community, both the UW-Superior community and the community as a whole by having this ability.”


UW-Superior Faculty/Staff

For more information about collaborating with 93.1 FM KUWS, contact Paul Damberg.



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