Story by Melanie Buck
Photo by Luke Nankivell
“There is something mysterious and intriguing about radio. You can’t see the people talking, and it is much more personal than television or some of the other media,” said John Lytle, the Ellis and Nelle Levitt professor of journalism electronic media at Drake and the advisor for The Dog.
94.1 The Dog is a student-run radio station at Drake and is part of the Drake Broadcast System.
“I love knowing that I’m actually reaching someone,” said Mariah Lewis, a sophomore broadcast news major and program director for The Dog.
“I love being able to connect with an audience even if I can’t see them. I know they’re out there,” Lewis said.
The Drake radio station started off in 1982 as KDRK via carrier current technology.
In 2000, it changed to KDCS Bulldog Radio, playing “Today’s music with new music first.”
It aired on closed-circuit campus TV sets and the web.
The Drake radio station finally became 94.1 The Dog on Aug. 22, 2006.
The radio is a lab outlet for students in the Digital Audio course.
They do a show and produce public service announcements and produce station IDs at the top of the hour.
Students from the course Radio News produce a news cast every week that airs on the radio.
All radio and TV producing and broadcast news students prepare and host their own programs.
“We have an opportunity for people to come and play their songs, play what they listen to and I think that benefits a lot of people,” said Amanda Horvath, a junior broadcast news major and the operations director for the Dog radio.
Horvath also trains the new disc jockeys and helps get them on the air.
Students all across the university can get involved with The Dog radio no matter their major.
“It couldn’t be easier to get involved,” said Todd Evans, a professor of electronic media. “Any student can contact Mariah Lewis, Amanda Horvath or anyone in the Drake Broadcast System and say, ‘I’d like to do a radio show,’ even if they’ve never done anything with radio.”
“My show on 94.1 The Dog is what I submitted as an air test to get a real DJ shift on Star 102.5,” Lewis said. “The same skills I’m learning through 94.1 The Dog will be applied to a real job. I don’t think I would have been able to step into this opportunity without this experience.”
The Dog radio changes every year.
“The most notable change has been how hands-on both Mariah Lewis and Amanda Horvath have been,” Evans said. “Both with programming and the jocks and really working with them, they have been tremendous assets.”
Another change has been an increase in the number of DJs.
Last year, they had about 15 total DJs, including new and returning DJs.
This year, they have 25 new DJs, not including those returning.
“This has been the first summer, this past summer, that we had a program director that lived close enough to be able to keep the program updated,” Evans said. “That was amazing to finally have.”
“It is so open to creativity and I am really looking forward to utilizing all of that while I can,” Lewis said.
They are a chart-pushing, rock-based college hybrid radio station and broadcast weekdays 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. and all day Saturday.
They broadcast not only on Drake’s campus but into the Des Moines community as well. They live stream online 24/7 and are also available through iTunes.