Student DJ works inside the KBEACH studio on the CSULB campus. Photo courtesy of CSULB ASI.
The California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) student-run radio station KBeach was recognized as one of the top 50 college radio stations in the country this week, joining Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the top five of the rankings put out by BestColleges.com.
BestColleges.com serves as a tool for prospective college students who are weighing their decisions regarding which campus they will attend. It releases rankings to help direct students to colleges that best fit their majors and also ranks school amenities like professors, dining halls and intramural sports.
Fourth-ranked Long Beach joined Cal Poly and Foothill-De Anza Community College District as the only stations from California to make the top 10. The number one spot went to Adelphi University in New York.
The station, which is broadcast on 88.1FM-HD3 and available for internet streaming through its website or the KBEACH app, reaches over 450,000 students throughout the 23 campus CSU system. Being listed as the fourth-best college radio station in the country is the second honor for the station this year, after it took home seven Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS) awards in March and was ranked the second-best station by IBS.
“We love what we do, so being recognized for something we are passionate about is the cherry on top of the sundae,” said Associate Student Inc. Media Coordinator Danny Lemos. “It’s nice to find out that professionals in media notice and reward our efforts.”
Lemos attributed the success of the station to the passion, creativity and talent of the student body and community. He said the student’s ability to keep a thumb on the pulse of the campus is one of the station’s biggest strengths.
Having spent time at other notable stations in the Los Angeles like KIIS-FM, the now defunct KMET and KKJZ, the jazz station that used to broadcast from the Long Beach campus, Lemos said the same things that made those stations successful are present at KBEACH. The station is also the only Long Beach station broadcasting from Long Beach, after KKJZ’s departure to West Los Angeles.
The programming list, like the campus itself, is eclectic. Standard talk shows and music programs share the signal with others like “Food-ology," a weekly show breaking down nutrition for listeners, and “Sex At The Beach," which provides a platform for discussions on contraceptives, STIs and sexual identity among other topics. The latter was featured on MTV’s True Life.
What’s also unique is the station's allowing of non-students to participate in the production of programming, lending voices from the community to the station, even if they aren’t enrolled in classes.
How the recent success and distinction of being one of the top radio stations in the country might affect enrollment is unclear. But Lemos said the notoriety, combined with successful fundraisers that have allowed for newer equipment, and a recent influx of former students into the broadcasting field certainly don’t hurt.
“Eleven students in full-time employment in media in the last three semesters—that is one heck of an outcome for students and is inspiring students from surrounding campuses to transfer here,” Lemos said. “Kbeach FM is the only “free air” radio station in Los Angeles/OC where students can actually get their hands on the equipment. That makes our program unique and desirable.”