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CSU-Pueblo radio station ‘hip-hops’ up to third in ratings

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 Rev 89.5, the campus radio station at Colorado State University-Pueblo, recently climbed in the ratings from fifth to third, just missing the second slot, according to Mike Atencio, station operations manager.”

The last four years or so we’ve been stuck in between five and six in the local market, that being any signal that reaches the Pueblo market. We’re very proud of that, since we don’t have access to the budget that commercial radio stations do,” Atencio said.

The station is managed by Atencio, a 2004 Mass Communications graduate of CSU-Pueblo. Atencio worked at the station himself as a student between 2002 and 2004.

“I’m the only non-student here,” he said. “There are 21 on our staff, with three main assistants who are seniors, and the remainder working as d.j.’s.”

The improvement in rating means listeners are spending more time locked on the station.

“In the spring, the loyal listener was listening an average of five hours per week, and now it’s up to seven,” said Sam Lovato, Assistant Professor in the Mass Communications department, also serving as the broadcast sequence director. “What makes a station number one or dead last is the time the listener spends with you.”

The university radio station was formed in the early ‘70s as KTSC-FM and changed to the name Rev 89 in 1995, since then the station has tried out many different formats, but switched to the current “hip hop” format in January 2002, according to Atencio’s MySpace page.

“We had been thinking about switching up the format, but after the ratings hike, we will stay the same for the time being,” he said.

“The improvement can be attributed to a combination of things, we implemented a new morning show, worked on our play lists and music selection and we’ve had really good promotions and contesting,” Lovato said.

Most college stations use the block format, and until the mid 90s, CSU-Pueblo followed the trend, with each d.j. choosing what kind of music they would like to play in their time slot. 

“This format exposes students to many different genres, but it is almost impossible to build a loyal listener this way,” Lovato said. “I believe it’s better to teach students in this kind of structured format, since it fits with what most real stations do.”

On a normal day, the average listener will hear R&B in the morning and early afternoon when the programming transitions into a faster paced music schedule throughout the evening.  

Rev 89 will be moving to the Buell Communication Center located at the southeast end of campus this spring and summer, hoping to be moved in completely by July 1. They will operate in a smaller space, and have classes spread throughout the campus.

“The building is the perfect fit to integrate our department,” Sam Lovato said. “It makes sense for all of us to be working together. The dream would be extending the building to accommodate classrooms also.”

The radio station is waiting for upgrades to take place before they move to their new home.  Atencio and Lovato both said their excited about 2009.

“We are going to look more professional, which will help us recruit more students,” said Atencio. “Number two is our next goal, number one is a dream, but I see it as very attainable.”