The Commerce Journal

March 23, 2012

Students take over airwaves

By Caleb Slinkard
The Commerce Journal

Commerce — While 88.9 KETR has a variety of both locally produced and nationally syndicated programing, one of their most unique shows has a distinctively student-centered approach. Lions After Dark, a late night program run and hosted by Texas A&M University-Commerce students, has established itself as a KETR staple. Hosted by Gaby Estrada, Jasmine Trejo and Chris Mangual, Lions After Dark centers around Top 40 radio singles and interviews with students and local organizations.

The format of the show was Mass Media, Communications and Theatre Department Head Dr. John Mark Dempsey’s idea, according to Estrada, as Top 40 hits would appeal to a larger audience. Lions After Dark also features student created segments like video game experts Alt F4, interviews with athletes, members of the Student Government Association, a segment with the student newspaper The East Texan and more.

“Dr. Dempsey wanted a student show on KETR, so he asked me and Heather Hutchins to go ahead and create it,” Estrada said. “We built Lions After Dark from the ground up. We didn’t even have a name.”

The show began in the fall of 2010, and after Hutchins graduated and moved on, Trejo and Mangual both applied for the open position and were hired.

“This is my second radio station, my first was a Spanish radio station in Mount Pleasant,” Trejo said. “At first, it was rough getting into it, but now I think we’re doing well.”

Both Trejo and Mangual be running the show this week as Estrada heads to the National Broadcasters Society Convention in New York City. Lions After Dark is a finalist for best Audio Music/Entertainment Program.

While the student response to Lions After Dark has been solid, the hosts would like even more interaction.

“The student response has been pretty good,” Estrada said. “We’re gaining popularity. I would like the whole campus to come to us when they events they want to promote. When we tweet or post something on Facebook, we’d love to get more feedback.”

Lions After Dark broadcasts Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from the KETR studio from 9 to 11 p.m. and in a remote broadcast from the Rayburn Student Center Fridays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“The remote broadcast gives students the chance to meet us and even be on the radio,” Estrada said.