For 25 years KGHP has been the community radio station for the Gig Harbor–Key Peninsula area.
“The station has had an incredible life,” said station manager Spencer Abersold. “We started out as an educational opportunity for students and as the emergency information resource for our area and a general resource for the community.”
Now more and more local businesses are using the station to spread the word about their businesses. “They feel they’re getting their dollar’s worth or their two cents’ worth when they underwrite us,” Abersold said.
Funding is always a challenge, he said, but a few years ago, KGHP established a community partnership with several local organizations including Peninsula Light, PenMet Parks, St. Anthony Hospital, Key Pen Parks and others. “They all come together and contribute $2,500 or more every year,” Abersold said.
With dependable funding, the station has been able to renovate the control room with new equipment, including an “auto DJ” –– a computer that runs 24/7 when there’s not a human being in the station, he said.
“Our old thing was just a desktop unit, probably 15 years old, that had about 5,700 songs. The new computer is eight terabytes of memory with four terabytes of music already programmed – that’s probably a quarter of a million songs. It’s blues, reggae, jazz, soul, funk, classical, rap, hard rock –– all mixed and hand selected –– the best of everything,” Abersold said
The improvements have drawn more student participation as well. Enrollment in broadcasting class at Peninsula High School is up, and more students are getting on- air experience.
Two of those students, KP residents Nicholas Bosch and Kyle Kashuba, are making weekly use of the station’s facilities.
The two PHS sophomores, whose on-air monikers, according to Abersold, are Nick and Crisis, have a show on Friday afternoons.
“They do electronic dance music,” Abersold said. “They make it themselves. It’s music that’s geared to the younger ages, a new genre that’s just starting to get popular, but they’re way ahead of it. They’re really good and they’re probably going to go off and become professional DJs – I’m talking about stadiums full of 50,000 people –– like U2.”
Bosch and Kashuba have been making public music for about a year.
“And we’ve been producing our own style of electronic music for about two years,” Bosch, 15, said. “Kyle does one called ‘Dubstep’ and I create ‘House.’”
House is like dance music but it’s more relaxing, he explained.
“We combine the two types and we play past hits and today’s songs that might have just been released.”
For example, when DotPunk’s hit “Get Lucky” was released on a recent Friday, Bosch “got it on my iPod right before I came to the studio, so we got it on the air the day it came out.”
Bosch says that KGHP has been very helpful to him and Kashuba.
“When we listen to the music here, it gives us ideas of things we can incorporate into our songs. Then we play the songs we’ve made on the air, and kind of fit everything together.
“It shows people that we have the capability to become who we want to be, because Kyle and I want to do this professionally. It would be a lot more difficult without KGHP,” he said.
“Nick and I have known each other since the sixth grade at Key Peninsula Middle School,” Kashuba said. “When we got into high school we heard about the station and he asked his broadcast teacher if we could do a show everyday during lunch. Sometimes I’d play my own stuff, but we’d play all kinds of music.”
Listening to other music has helped him develop and grow as a musician, Kashuba said. “I realized that my music has many flaws and that maybe it shouldn’t have been on the radio yet, because it wasn’t a complete work. So I started putting more time and effort into it, learning different production techniques and whatnot. And I think I’ve gotten way better.”
Both teen would like to find a record label some day “…but that’s a long way off because I still have a lot yet to learn,” Kashuba said.
But being at KGHP is a good place to learn, he said. “KGHP expands your knowledge of all the different kinds of music –– especially new genres.”
The station streams live at kghp.org.