KSLU joins hands with Athletics


Kennith Woods

KSLU Radio has set up their equipment in Cardinal Newman Hall in order to provide listeners with streaming content.

Southeastern’s long-running FM radio station, KSLU, may soon become part of SLU Athletics.

The potential move would add to changes the radio station has experienced over the past year. In 2021, KSLU was in a “stage of limbo” following the announcement of renovation plans for D Vickers Hall, the building that formerly housed the radio station. 

Hurricane Ida further complicated KSLU’s situation after it ravaged D Vickers and forced the program to move out of the building and run off-air. KSLU is currently only available through online streaming

The push for change is led by Damon Sunde, the athletic director for broadcasting services and general manager of the station. 

Under his direction, athletic content on KSLU has taken a greater focus than music. Archives of coverage on past baseball, football and basketball games dating back to 2018 are currently available on the website. The move would further expand sports content on the air and potentially attract more listeners. 

Dr. James O’Connor, the department head of Communication and Media Studies, also pushed for the transition to take place.

“This is something we worked with the athletic department for over a year on and it is something we both agreed would be a good idea,” O’Connor said. 

O’Connor noted that thanks to Ida, now is the perfect time for the station to make the transition. 

“Part of the reason it had to be done rather quickly was that when D Vickers Hall was damaged, our equipment was damaged as well, in addition to our antenna. We had to switch off-air and go digital, so this was a good time to make that transition,” O’Connor said. 

Alongside a bolstered presence of sports content, the move would also provide an abundance of opportunities for students, especially those in the new sports communication major. The concentration was first offered to students in Fall 2020. 

“This would be a great experience for students. We had already been doing a few games on KSLU, but this would expand that and provide a new opportunity for students and this would be the easiest route,” Sunde said.

For Sunde, the move would not only be beneficial for the program, but for the entire communications department. Providing a wider variety of content for students to develop their skills could help Sunde build the department in a similar fashion of other schools with renowned journalism and communication programs.  

KSLU Radio has their set-up for streaming online from Cardinal Newman Hall. (Kennith Woods )

“If you look at schools like Syracuse or Missouri or Hofstra, a lot of graduates came out of those journalism programs where they were exposed to print and broadcasting and social media, as well as sports broadcasting. We can shape our program in the same vein and work our way towards having potentially the same influence in the future,” Sunde said. 

O’Connor echoed this sentiment as well. He stressed the importance that the move will further reinforce the educational benefits KSLU brings to the department. 

“They want KSLU to be a laboratory for students to gain education and broadcasting experience, so the partnership is still there,” he said. 

The prospective move would afford the Athletics Division “more marketing and branding opportunities” via KSLU airtime. To Sunde, this is especially important for athletics given that huge broadcasting channels such as the Entertainment and Sports Programming Complex (ESPN) have taken a bigger role in the Southland Conference over the past few years.

Although the move hasn’t taken place yet, the general consensus within KSLU is positive, according to Sunde. 

“While the program is more music-focused, they’re open to the move, especially now that new students are coming in and getting their feet wet in the radio business,” he said. 

Nathan Parrish, a graduate student and the operations manager for KSLU, commented on his excitement for the potential future of KSLU. 

“It is a new avenue with new people and different goals. I think athletics would be a good support system,” Parrish said. 

For more information on KSLU, the Athletics Division or the potential move for recognition, contact [email protected].