City College student radio station to be revived this spring

City Times Sound to focus on local music and culture in a complete overhaul of 88.3 HD-2 FM

Sound editing station with computers and microphone

Though the exact date of when students will be able to use the recording equipment at the San Diego City College radio studio is to be determined, spring 2022 will see the revival of KSDS 88.3 HD-2 FM, the student radio station. Photo by Vicky Pineda/City Times Media

Philip Salata, Multimedia Journalist

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2019, students and faculty of the San Diego City College radio station, KSDS 88.3 HD-2 FM, gathered together a playlist, cued it up and left it to loop. 

And so it went, until now.

The spring 2022 term will see the revival and complete overhaul of the station’s content. The City Times Sound team, just one branch of the larger City Times Media platform, will launch all-new programming focused on local music and City College campus life and culture.

I spoke with CTS Operations Manager Jakob McWhinney and our collaboration here gives listeners an idea of what’s behind the new pulse behind HD-2 and what they can expect from the student station going forward.

How did the idea for a revamp of HD-2 come about?

The idea for a revamp came about last semester. McWhinney said he was a student in RTVF 130, the predecessor to this semester’s student radio class. Each week they scheduled a block of student-produced podcast content to run Mondays at 5 p.m. 

But aside from that block, the enormous wall of music left in lieu of student programming reigned. And this seemed like a waste.

So McWhinney approached CTS Program Director Will Tran and they began brainstorming ways to stand up a student radio program that was not only current but reactive to the needs of the community at San Diego City College and San Diego more broadly.

Why will local music be a primary focus?

As part of the effort to speak to the needs of the community, McWhinney and Tran thought they’d experiment with something San Diego hasn’t really seen before – an all-local music radio station. 

According to McWhinney, San Diego is simply a smaller market than Los Angeles and doesn’t have the same sort of robust musical infrastructure despite being home to a thriving and diverse music scene. 

They hoped to use City Times Sound as a way to not only shine a light on some of the incredible artists San Diego is home to, but also to use local music as a way to tell the stories of the city.

What other kinds of programs can we expect?

Programming won’t be restricted to just music.

The plan is to collaborate with students from the other partners of City Times Media – which also includes the digital news site City Times and the weekly television news show Newscene – to create news centered on City College.

Students also plan on producing all sorts of podcast content that includes favorites from last semester like the topical call-in show The Listening Machine, the musical interview show San Diego Local Spotlight, and the narrative-driven Still Processing, all while creating a wide array of brand new content.

What’s special about college radio and why should we listen?

Unlike corporate radio, college radio doesn’t necessarily have a strict monetary incentive, which allows students to try all sorts of new things, McWhinney said.

That freedom, to create and experiment, and even to fail, is an invaluable learning experience for students. But it can also create the sort of magic that many for-profit radio stations often lack.

A show strictly about UFO sightings in the San Diego region? A block of the best songs about El Cajon Boulevard? An interview show with people standing in the line to cross the border at San Ysidro? It’s all possible on college radio.

And while a for-profit station may need to worry about roping in sponsors, all the HD-2 team needs to worry about is creating something dynamic and entertaining.

When will programming start? How and at what time can we listen?

According to McWhinney, this is a big undertaking. Students are going to need some time to build things up. The first real week of broadcasting will be at the end of February. 

From then on listeners will be able to tune in at 5 p.m. to hear new content daily or anytime to hear local music.

Can students still join the team?

There’s still time to join the radio team and anyone interested is highly encouraged to do so. This is going to be a really significant undertaking, according to McWhinney, and CTS needs all the help they can get. 

If you are a current or former local musician, we encourage you to submit your music to [email protected].