Triple Played: Time to turn up the volume at KMSA

KMSA 91.3 FM is sounding better than it has in a long while. Having been a listener since its inception, I am still partial to the 1970s version. However, this current version is giving it a run for its money. Plus they have access to all of the great music that has come along since the 1970s. If you don’t think there has been any great music since the 1970s, you need to listen to KMSA.

I recently took the opportunity to connect with Jim Davis, the station’s faculty advisor, and General Manager Tyler Fransen about KMSA.

I asked Davis for his overview of the station since he became faculty advisor at the start of the 2015 school year. Davis responded: “2015 was a great year for KMSA. The installation of a new automation system, larger staff numbers and outstanding campus events were some of the highlights for our general manager, Matt Cesario, and his staff. The new automation updated an antiqued system. KMSA has also been able to offer a wider range of musical genres, which has been well received.

(Full disclosure here: Matt is my son.)

“Matt also did a fantastic job of recruiting new student DJs, with a staff of about 35 for the majority of the year. He was a huge help in organizing media day, the 40th KMSA anniversary concert and the wedding fashion show. He did an outstanding job of promoting KMSA to other groups on campus and getting the word out on social media, plus an amazing job of increasing the profile of KMSA.

“Tyler Fransen takes over as the new GM after working as the station’s sports director. His experience working in college radio in Nebraska has provided the experience we need heading into this year. His energy and enthusiasm will help lead a great new staff this year at KMSA.”

“We’re lucky to have Aaron Kennedy back as operations manager. Aaron has done a wonderful job of getting our new automation system running smooth and is invaluable in representing KMSA on campus.”

I asked Fransen several questions.

How do you feel about the changes that were made within the last year?

“I feel good. There were some definite hiccups in the road, and sometimes it would get frustrating for reasons that were out of my control, but I feel good with them. For an institution like KMSA, we have to change, we have to be willing to adapt to our environment. Every year there’s going to be some change, whether it’s new management, new music, new software, new anything. It’s just a matter of how you deal with change and whether or not you can change with it.”

How do you feel about the radio station you inherited?

“Overall I feel that the station is in good hands with my staff and myself. Where the station was roughly a year and a half ago was not good. Matt Cesario needed to come in as both the fire department and the clean up crew. Now my job as the construction crew to rebuild KMSA from the ground up. The work that we’ve put in has been exciting but challenging at times and our hope for the future is looking bright.

What do you want to accomplish this year?

“I feel we’ve accomplished a lot so far and it’s definitely showing physically in our station. We cleaned the station quite a bit, we moved some things around, and we now have a couch in the green room of KMSA. I hope to get more students to listen to KMSA. I hope our DJs bring a variety of music and musical tastes to the station. I hope that KMSA can start to get accolades on the national stage. Prior to my coming to CMU, I was at another school where we won two national awards at the College Broadcasters Association conference. I feel this year that our staff can produce nationally recognized content, potentially even winning content. Certainly across the state and possibly around the country. It may be a long shot to some, but I know that it can be done and that our staff can do just about anything.”

Rock Cesario owns Triple Play Records, 530 Main St., and hosts “Acoustic Sunday” from 9 a.m. to noon on KSTR 96.1 FM. Email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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