HEAD COPY EDITOR
KPOET has been growing all semester in both employee population and popularity on campus. This newfound fame can be at least partially attributed to fourth-years Astra Yatroussis and Lyla Matar, the General Managers at KPOET. They have worked hard to put together the many events on campus and update KPOET’s technological aspects. Both of them got their start at KPOET as DJs for the station.
The two also have similar stories of what brought them to KPOET. Like most who work there, music led the way. “I love music; I have always loved music, so since I started on as a DJ, what made this a unique position for me is that I got an opportunity to share the music that I love with other people,” said Yatroussis, “especially because I am low-key kind of a hipster, so a lot of the stuff I listen to is not super well-known. I like the idea of having a platform where I can support the bands that I like.”
It was easy for Matar to agree. “Ever since my first year here, I was drawn to this space: the collaborative energy, the music sharing. It was always like a really cool, fun, safe place to be,” she said. “So, I just kept on working here, and now it has been four years.”
Each KPOET employee has a chance to share their music with the world, including the management. “I am one of the many faces of DJ Fillin’,” said Matar. “Whenever somebody does not come into a shift or no one can cover, that space is known as DJ Fillin,’ and that is my time to shine as a DJ.” Yatroussis continued, “That is both of us now. We no longer have our own show blocks anymore, but we will cover for people if need be.”
While Yatroussis describes her style as being a bit unknown, Matar has a different relationship to music. “I would say ‘eclectic’ [is] the adjective I would use [for my music taste] because I do like some more mainstream stuff, but I do like obscure stuff and the classics,” said Matar. No matter when you tune in to their livestream, which can be found through their site, kpoetradio.whittier.domains, there will always be something unique to listen to, and there has been no lack of support.
“I think generally, our reception on campus has been pretty good,” said Matar. “People are engaging a lot more with the station this year, whether it be internally or externally, [and DJ’s] are promoting their shows. We are looking forward to doing more events on campus. Our Open Mics have been really good. It has been super exciting to see people engaging.” KPOET is even being played in Campus Inn on a fairly regular basis now. For more on that, see last week’s issue of the Quaker Campus.
As for what is to come, KPOET has quite a bit planned for the rest of the school year, including more regular Open Mic Nights and possible small concerts on campus next semester. “We are working our way to get out there more, but the things that we have done so far have been really well received,” said Yatroussis. “We are looking, potentially, at one more Open Mic [Night] towards the end of the year. We are still getting all the logistics sorted for that. We were thinking it would be a sort of de-stress Open Mic Night right before finals.”
According to both Matar and Yatroussis, it is the KPOET team that has made it all happen. “I think the culture internally is really good actually,” said Yatroussis. “We are seeing a lot of nice engagement within the community. That is really nice to see because this can be very solitary work. For our album reviewers, you are off on your own doing that most of the time, and for our DJs, it is just one person in the booth. It is nice to see them making the station into a good space; kind of a second home for some of them, building friendships within it and working to make the station a better place together.” Of course, KPOET has flourished with support from faculty. “A huge thanks to [Technical Coordinator] Chris Greenwood and [Assistant Director of Residential Life] Tea Bogue, who have been working with us really closely this year and have been a really big help,” said Yatroussis.
Even though many are ending their KPOET careers in the Spring, there is much to look forward to with KPOET. Matar said, “I think the future of the station looks really bright. Everybody in a managerial position is graduating. The managers that we have in training, [second-years] Kris [Berardi] and Diana [Sarabia], are doing amazing work. They run the DJs. They help with the album reviews. They do great stuff. It is going to be really exciting to see what the future of the station is going to be like.” It is encouraging to know that management is working to make sure KPOET will be left in good hands. “We are very excited to see what they can do when they have full reign of the station,” said Yatroussis.
“Before, staff retention was a little bit difficult for us,” said Matar, “but this year, people love the work just as much as we do. That is what allows us to be successful — when people really love what they do, when it is not work, when it is fun to come in. Having a staff that loves this place as much as we do is what is making it so successful.”
KPOET has been able to establish a new website, an Open Mic Night series, and several new radio shows throughout the semester with management and staff collaboration, but the time for recruitment is never over. “We still want more album reviewers, if anyone wants to talk to Diana Sarabia or [fourth-year Album Review Manager] Garret Spejcher about that.” They can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. The album reviews are posted on their website and in the Quaker Campus, so be sure to read up if you are looking for new tunes!
With a diverse livestream, successful events, and a new string of album reviews this semester, KPOET sure has been working hard to stay visible to all Whittier students. “I encourage everyone to listen to us because we love music, and we hope to share our unique music taste with everyone else,” said Matar. Be sure to show your Poet pride, and tune in.