Coyote Radio shares their experiences on how they navigated their services throughout the pandemic-related campus closure.
The Coyote Radio station is located below the John M. Pfau Library and hosts student DJs, social media managers, and a student promotions department. Before the pandemic, students held live shows in the radio production booth on a daily basis to connect with and inform their peers on campus and provide information on what is happening.
Kelli Cluque is the Operations Manager of Coyote Radio and Advertising. This July will mark her third year in the position.
One of the biggest obstacles the station faced was how to manage the daily operations without students on campus. At the beginning of the pandemic, the station had to manage itself using automation features. Station staff was originally not allowed on campus. However, Kelli is now allowed to be on campus once a week.
Penny Drake-Green, has been a lecturer at CSUSB for 26 years and teaches the Coyote Radio production practicum. Drake-Green was worried about taking the radio station online when the pandemic started, so she began thinking of ways to allow it to continue in the virtual learning setting.
For the staff of Coyote Radio, running the station remotely was not preferred, but it was manageable. For the students who were hoping to gain radio experience before graduating, the transition was difficult.
When students were on campus, the radio department was a bustling station. Students filled every room discovering new artists, brainstorming ideas, and creating on-air content. One of Drake-Green’s biggest challenges was trying to recreate the interaction that happens in the classroom over Zoom.
[su_quote cite=Cluque] I look back and realize it wasn’t the transition to virtual learning that was hard. It was the fact that I wasn’t on campus with the students who make Coyote Radio what it is. On any given day when we were on campus, there would be 20-30 students making the station hum. I missed that interaction immediately.[/su_quote]
Tony Castellanos is the Interim Production Department Lead for the Spring 2021 semester. Castellanos has mixed feelings leading the production practicum in an online environment and mentioned that it has taught everyone to be adaptable.
“The production department almost didn’t happen, because we just couldn’t figure out how to incorporate the production side of the radio, online,” said Castellanos.
Both Cluque and Drake-Green say that there was never any talk of the station shutting down. While the station was to remain open, there was a possibility that the production aspect of Coyote Radio would not continue, leaving only the promotions and social media departments. However, all of the station staff were determined to make it work.
“You just can’t turn off Coyote Radio – no way,” Cluque said.
“Coyote Radio continues to keep the music flowing even during this pandemic. Everyone should tune in and listen because we keep getting better. We all need a little music to make the day better and Coyote Radio will be there for all our listeners,” Drake-Green said.
Throughout the Spring semester, students have created promos and sweepers to go on air that support campus organizations, and there is hope that the Fall 2021 semester will host live DJ’s playing the music of local bands.
As the Spring semester comes to a close, Drake-Green and Cluque are proud of all of their student and staff and feel like they can overcome any obstacles at this point.
“I am very proud of our students. They have adjusted so well and very much contribute to the sound of Coyote Radio. And they’ve done it all from home on their phone or laptop. We have sort of perfected what we’re doing so I feel good about the Fall. Ready for it!” Cluque further expressed.
Correction (May 13, 2021): An earlier version of this story included an unintended omission of the word “remotely” in the following sentence: “For the staff of Coyote Radio, running the station was not preferred, but it was manageable.” Correct version: “For the staff of Coyote Radio, running the station remotely was not preferred, but it was manageable.”