KZSU on track to resume operations after COVID-19 disruptions

The non-commercial, student-run FM radio show KZSU is slowly recovering after nearly eighteen months of virtual production.

Early COVID-19 security protocols did not allow so-called “external members of the community” to access KZSU production spaces unless accompanied by a student. In an effort to restore access, KZSU members suffered what they see as a series of interactions with the Stanford administration, causing student staff to fear for the future of the radio station.

Beginning October 8, the University’s COVID-19 security protocols began phasing in the fall term Student Volunteer Organization (VSO) gatherings, allowing gatherings and parties indoors.

Today, KZSU is finally open to the public again, and some programs are resuming live production.

“We have just started the process of transitioning from deejays to the studio. We worked with the Office of Student Engagement (OSE) to develop a plan that allows students and the Stanford community to access production spaces while respecting security protocols, ”said KZSU Co-CEO Anna Toledano MA ’22, who was with KZSU for seven years and produced her own weekly show called “I Like to Dance: Shake Off Your Pants”.

The station plans to resuscitate the programming it featured in the past. One of these projects includes “Wednesday Night Live,” a special that features a live performance.

“A group will come and perform live at the station on Wednesdays from 6 pm to 9 pm. Usually this is a local artist, student artist, or student group. We are delighted to resume this start, ”said KZSU Co-Managing Director Omar El-Sabrout ’22.

As production slowly regains iotas of normality, student staff report that access by external community members to the station remains limited, identifying this as a remaining point of contention.

“So KZSU is finally open to the public again. Students are allowed to return to the production spaces, but the participation of community members is limited in time, ”El-Sabrout said. “Hours are limited to thirteen hour slots which can be from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., or from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m., either five days a week or two days on weekends.”

Mark Lawrence, chief engineer and one of KZSU’s “dinosaur drivers”, has served the station diligently since his fall from freshman at Stanford in 1963. As a seasoned member of the organization, Lawrence considers members community as constructive and integral to the success of the station. He also sees the University’s current restrictions on VSOs as an awkward compromise.

In the case of KZSU, Lawrence indicates that these time restrictions directly conflict with station protocols; if the deejays need to find replacements to host a show, the designated time slots immediately eliminate other deejays with different authorized times.

“It’s the amount of overhead in all of this, setting up schedules and updating. I hope that the administrators of Student Affairs will try to open it soon. That’s what we’re dealing with right now, but at least we’re bringing people in, ”Lawrence said.

Lawrence says recent interactions with OSE have been friendly and helpful, and sees these developments as evidence that the University wants to increase community members’ access to VSOs. However, he also attributes the VSO’s restrictions to what he sees as the University’s larger and changing perspective on “outside” involvement..

“I’m not sure where the foreign restriction policy came from, but it clearly comes from the top management of the University. It affects many areas unrelated to KZSU, even before COVID. It would be worth exploring the roots of this policy of restricting foreigners at the university, ”said Lawrence.

In response to these concerns, a spokesperson for the University declined to explain how the situation has changed, but maintains that he is “grateful that community members are following the reopening and health requirements of the University, including COVID testing and key card access, “and that their previous statement from early October is still valid.

“Community members enrich the student experience in many of our student organizations and are a welcome presence on our campus. In addition, the University is gradually restoring access for community members to interior spaces on campus, ”said Senior Director of the Office of Student Engagement, Snehal Naik, in response to Daily inquiries in early October. . “Many spaces are assessed on a case-by-case basis, including KZSU. “

As part of the plan to gradually expand access over time, Toledano and Lawrence said the University will soon expand Color COVID-19 weekly testing services to community members. Lawrence also said that after a long negotiation process with the OSE, the university is restoring full 24-hour access to critical engineers at KZSU.

According to Toledano, KZSU just renewed their Federal Communications Commission license, which is valid for 8 years, signaling that they intend to be there for a long time. In the future, station officials are eager to resume production in full force, but for now, their focus is on increasing student participation at the station due to campus limitations.

“We’re trying to get more students involved, that’s the main thing we do. We have a low volume of student deejays at the moment and we really want to increase our number by training more people, ”said El-Sabrout. For more information on involvement with KZSU, contact [email protected].

According to Toledano, KZSU is the right place for any student interested in the news or listening to music for hours.

“At KZSU anyone can have an idea or start something new,” said Toledano. “People will be on board, and it can transcend the borders, the silos that exist at Stanford and all the other places as well.”

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