Daily 49er

KBeach launches FM HD-3 radio station

Mike Soultanian received the KBeach radio founder’s award.

Mike Soultanian received the KBeach radio founder’s award.

Shilah Montiel

Shilah Montiel

Mike Soultanian received the KBeach radio founder’s award.

Josh Butler, Staff Writer

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With a short speech and an eclectic live DJ set, KBeach FM radio officially came to life yesterday afternoon.

The Cal State Long Beach radio network, which has existed online since its birth in 1995, will now have a greater audience and a larger geographical reach thanks to its move to the FM frequency. The new 88.1 HD-3 station was launched yesterday with a reception on the University Student Union’s north lawn.

President F. King Alexander, Associated Students Inc. Executive Director Richard Haller and USU Director Dave Edwards all spoke at the launch, praising the effort and drive of the KBeach staff in getting the FM signal.

“It’s never been stronger,” Alexander said of the station. “It’s only going to get better and bigger.”

The end of the ceremony was timed to coincide with the first official transmission of KBeach 88.1 HD-3. ASI president John Haberstroh and vice president Jon Bolin welcomed listeners to the station on air for the first time. ‘Soulection’ with alumnus Joe Kay was the first show on the new channel.

“Being on FM radio is something I’ve always dreamed about, but it’s happened faster than I thought,” Kay said. “It’s a major boost. It’s official now, it will definitely raise the profile of KBeach.”

Among the dignitaries in attendance was station founder Mike Soultanian, who was presented with the KBeach founder’s award. He spoke of KBeach’s humble beginnings in his dorm room in 1995.

“When we started, there was no way to get onto FM or AM,” Soultanian said of the online approach. “It wasn’t about listenership, it was about learning how to do radio.”

KBeach advisor Danny Lemos says that Soultanian’s ethos is still in place, calling the station “a learning laboratory” for students. The new signal will reach from Mission Viejo to Oxnard, across the Los Angeles metropolitan area, and up to seven miles out to sea.

“For students, this will have incredible benefit,” Lemos said. “It will also give a validity to our signal and programming that stations on the Internet don’t have. The credit on students’ resumes will mean a lot more.”

KBeach will broadcast on part of KJazz’s signal, under a new agreement signed with the station. The station will run 24 hours a day, with new programs planned to join many existing shows from KBeach online on the FM band. It will be the first student-run radio station at Cal State Long Beach since KSUL was taken off the air in 1981, and the first new student radio station in California in 37 years, according to Lemos.

“It took us 32 years, but we got Long Beach students back on the air,” Haller said at the launch. He also said it was one of the most memorable moments of his career.

The launch was also the first time that KBeach radio alumni had officially gathered, according to Lemos, and was the first step in welcoming alumni back to the station. Mike Stark, head of the KBeach alumni relations committee, said that veterans of the CSULB radio station would be returning to offer guidance, advice, technical training and support for students.

“There’s a whole network of 50 or 60 alumni who are interested in getting involved,” Stark said. “We have a committee of five alumni who are involved in radio, who will be coming in to help out.”

KBeach FM can be heard on 88.1 HD-3 radio.

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