KCOD nationally recognized at the 81st Annual IBS Conference


Photo courtesy of KCOD. Chris Thomas, President of the Intercollegiate Broadcast System hosted the award ceremony.

KCOD, College of the Desert’s student radio station, was nominated for Best Community College Radio Station in the United States. This is the fourth year in a row KCOD has been nominated for the prestigious title by the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS). In a five-day conference and awards ceremony held virtually this year on March 6, KCOD and its staff contended for a total of five awards in a variety of categories.

In addition to the nomination for Best Community College Station, other candidates included two shows in the sports category – Best Sports Interview by Melissa Espinoza and Best Sports Update by Alexandria Rosales; a nomination for Best Live Music Broadcast for her show “Rock Steady” with DJ Alize and Best Community Volunteer Program for “Open Book” hosted by essayist Maggie Downs and novelist Tod Goldberg.

Photo courtesy of KCOD. The KCOD studios and classroom on Park View across from the main Palm Desert campus. All students have been working remotely doing the shutdown since March 2020.

“Maggie and I have loved our time working at KCOD,” said Goldberg. “Doing our show is a labor of love, but more than that, it’s an expression of what makes public radio so important: Real people telling real stories. To be nominated for an IBS award lets us know that what we’re doing has the ability to touch people far outside of the borders of this valley, and that means quite a bit to both of us.”

“It is amazing to see KCOD’s continued success and being recognized as one of the best community college radio stations in the nation is an honor.

— Alex Zatarain, radio production faculty and media lab technician

While there were no first-place winners this year, enthusiasm at the station remains high. All nominees are national finalists and will receive a trophy for their success.

“It is amazing to see KCOD’s continued success, and being recognized as one of the best community college radio stations in the nation is an honor,” said Alex Zatarain, who is a radio production instructor and lab technician for both KCOD and The Chaparral newspaper.

Zatarain added, “Like any other operation, we’ve had to work with scaling back and make do with limited resources. Luckily, we have an amazing crew and radio production students who have brought us a long way in bringing home six nominations.”

Assistant Professor of Media Production Laurilie Jackson agrees, “I am extremely proud of all the nominees. Even though we did not win first place this year, the fact that our students were nominated for their hard work and success and the entire station as the best in the nation is amazing.”

Thousands of students from colleges, high schools and universities across the United States attend the IBS Conference every year. For a young station such as KCOD, the faculty and staff believe it is truly an honor to be nominated in the top five among so many distinguished schools. Some schools swept multiple categories this year, including Nassau College in New York and Goshen Community College in Indiana.

Hosted by Chris Thomas, the president of IBS, the event was virtual this year due to COVID-19. Thomas noted the organization could not fathom canceling the program this year because of the struggle of college stations to continue operating under lockdown. “You did continue,” he said, “despite quarantines and COVID-19, lockdowns, and people abandoning campus even, you continue to get the messages out.”

The year 2020 was a difficult one for operations, with pandemic lockdowns limiting programming and reducing student and community shows provided.

“The students adjusted by having to produce all of their content from home, and we are beyond impressed with what they were able to do. They should all be proud of themselves,” said Zatarain. “As we’ve maneuvered through these uncharted waters, we have worked diligently towards expanding content and giving students more opportunities to contribute through remote access. Taking in all of the information from the conference allows us to think of new ways to get students involved and provide more diverse content that fits the mold of the community we represent.”

“You did continue, despite, quarantines and covid, lockdowns and people abandoning campus even, you continue to get the messages out.

— Chris Thomas, President Intercollegiate Broadcasting System

Award-winning KCOD has been a platform for College of the Desert students and faculty, rising artists and the greater Coachella Valley community since it began in 2011.

“KCOD is only a decade old. The fact that we have won many first-place awards over the past eight years and nominated for the best community college radio station in the nation four years in a row means we are doing something right. Our students are all winners,” said Jackson.

KCOD is open for all students who want to cultivate new radio personalities, play various music, and discover new artists for a college and community radio soundtrack. The station welcomes interested students and offers community-hosted programs with radio DJs and professionals. More information can be found on the KCOD website.

Listeners can tune in via the KCOD App, available for Apple devices and Google Play, as well as on the Tune-in app. KCOD in the past could be heard on 1450 AM and 99.9 FM but is on a temporary silence due to the pandemic.