A Look Inside 103.5 KTU

This past week, I was given the incredible opportunity to represent VandyRadio at the CMA Spring National College Media Convention in New York City. In addition to sitting seventh row at Madison Square Garden and riding on an indoor Ferris wheel in Toys R Us, I was able to check out one on New York’s better known FM radio stations, 103.5 KTU “The Beat of New York”. Here’s a brief look inside the studio at some stuff I learned.

KTU mainly plays “feel good music”, which roughly consists of Top 40, EDM, etc. Inside their studio, they have autographs and records from everyone from B.o.B and Steve Aoki to John Mayer and the Black Eyed Peas. Maralei (our station manager), Viktoria (our music director), and I were invited to the studio by Steve Bartel (better known as simply Bartel), the Assistant Program Director and Music Director at KTU. He is also one of their on-air personalities, and he was hosting his show when we got there Friday night.

Our selfie game is too strong
Our selfie game is too strong

Personally, this was my first time inside a commercial radio station, so it was quite interesting to see exactly how things are run. Pretty much everything at KTU- from what songs are played to the commercials- is run by a software program. Bartel simply followed a strict schedule that told him when to cut in and voice over to give a station ID, mention the weather, or something similar.

Bartel on-air
Bartel on-air

Of course, this software must be programmed, and as Music Director, this job falls on Bartel. While hosting his show, Bartel was bouncing back and forth between his office, where he was programming the music for the next day. This part of his job was especially interesting. Bartel programs music based on a number of factors. First, songs are divided into different groups based on how recent they are. For example, songs in group A might be current hits while songs in group E might be throwbacks. value of a domain name . Although the program already decides when each group will be played (for example, ABCEABCE, etc.), Bartel is the man who chooses what songs within each category will be played. He hand picks songs based on how well they mesh with other songs being played (a fascinating skill that Bartel has developed over the years) as well as how often and frequent a particular song is played. All these factors combine to make a playlist- and a radio station- that is enjoyable to listeners.

The soundboard and software program.
The soundboard and software program.

There you have it, a brief look at 103.5 KTU in New York. I was really struck by the huge combination of factors that go into running a commercial radio station. I will definitely take what I learned and use it to help make VandyRadio a better experience for our listeners. Well, for you all.

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