Student Media & KTXT-FM
by Kimberly Atkins, floor plans courtesy of Texas Tech Facilities Planning and Construction
From decades-old workspaces to newly renovated facilities, the Student Media Department and KTXT-FM radio station will move to the new Media & Communication Building, previously the Rawls College of Business. The move will take place between the Summer II and Fall semesters.
Along with improved working environments, Student Media and KTXT-FM gain a stronger presence in the new location. The new student media workspace will be in the former Business Administration Rotunda, and the KTXT-FM studios will be on the third floor of the building, in a high traffic area.
Director of Student Media Susan Peterson said the staff wanted to be in a fairly central location to be more visible and to make going from class to work more convenient for the mass communications students who work for the Daily Toreador newspaper and the La Ventana yearbook. Peterson said more than 80 percent of the student staff members are mass communications majors, so the new workspace will make work and school more fluid for the students.
Outside the Student Media Office, a large screen will display the front cover of the Daily Toreador, announcements for the college, and information about upcoming events. Features editor and summer editor of the Daily Toreador, Kassidy Ketron, said she hopes the increased visibility will bring in new reporters.
“The thing that I’m probably most excited about is we won’t be so isolated,” Ketron said. “It’s almost like we’re a clique just because we’re in a different building and it’s not as welcoming as it would be if we were in the building and they could walk by everyday and see inside the office.”
Founding Dean of the College of Mass Communications Jerry Hudson said the location of the student media newsroom creates a beneficial situation for the college and the publications.
“Our goal is to get more students involved,” Hudson said. “Their goal is to get more students involved. So that’s going to be the win-win situation.”
After the students working for the Daily Toreador knew about the move to the new building, Hudson said they began to visualize how they would use the space and brought ideas to the architects working on the project. Hudson said the real benefit is that the new facilities will be constructed in a manner to help the college and the Daily Toreador.
“We’ve gotten to have a little bit of a part,” Ketron said. “That’s kind of been cool -- being able to actually be a part of it and not being told, ‘This is what you’re getting.’”
In the old building, Hudson said student staff accommodated their goals in the space and yet had little money for renovation.
“All our stuff is old and it’s kind of ratty and gross,” Ketron said. “We’re looking forward to being somewhere that’s new.”
Ketron said the move is bittersweet for alumni who worked for the Daily Toreador because the current workspace holds mementos from the former staff, such as inspirational, funny quotes written on the walls.
“I think they’ll still appreciate the fact that there’s a lot more College of Mass Communications students now,” Ketron said, “and that’s always good to have more students and more people in student media.”
According to the mass communication’s website, the college intends to host a celebratory event in November, and a 50+2 year anniversary celebration for the student radio station KTXT-FM in April 2013. The station currently runs out of the basement of the Mass Communications Building from a single studio. In the new building, KTXT-FM will operate from four studios and several offices.
General Manager of the KTXT-FM station, Derrick Ginter, said the new location will showcase the activities of KTXT-FM and will foster a more collaborative environment among faculty, staff, students, and the station.
“It will enable us to do a lot more, once we are properly equipped in our new home,” Ginter said.
Production Director Colin Niebergall said the new station facilities will attract interest from more students, enabling KTXT-FM to incorporate more student programming and reach a wider audience. He said the expansion creates valuable opportunities for students.
“Although we are student-run,” Niebergall said, “we want our students to come out having the feeling, ‘I worked at a real radio station; I’m confident.’”
Ginter and Niebergall said alumni of KTXT-FM will be impressed at how far the station has come over the years.
“I think it will be interesting for alumni of KTXT-FM to see the new building,” Niebergall said, “and to see it’s come from one studio that used to be in the Student Media Building to four brand new state-of-the-art studios with a news booth and office, more like a real radio station.”
The alumni who took their experiences at the station and went on to do bigger and better things have the chance to give back to the college so that other students can have similar opportunities, Ginter said. He said alumni could donate to have rooms and the KTXT-FM studio named after somebody as well as fund the music acquisition process and equipment purchases.
The new facility gives the College of Mass Communications opportunities for more research space, classrooms and labs, Dean Hudson said. The building space will increase from 78,000 to 120,000 square feet and includes: 140 faculty and staff offices, 24 classrooms, 5 seminar rooms, 13,000 square feet designated to faculty and student research, 2,000 square feet for student organizations, and 14 video and computer labs.
Although the faculty and staff did not anticipate the move two years ago, they were trying to figure out how to grow and now have all the opportunities in the world to do so, Hudson said.
“It certainly gives us the message that the administration is pleased with what we are doing,” he said.
“For them to realize that we needed some expanding space and to give us that opportunity,” he said, “speaks for their respect for what we’re doing and how we’re progressing.” mc
Kimberly Atkins is a May 2012 public relations graduate from Austin, Texas.