• Mark Leffingwell / Colorado Daily

    CU student looks through vinyl in the music library of Radio 1190 at the University of Colorado

  • Nick Oxford / Colorado Daily

    CU-Boulder's Radio 1190 is in the process of getting a face lift.



Check it out

Radio 1190’s music director and CU junior, James Calvet, writes a column for the Colorado Daily every Friday on Page 10. See what he has spinning in the studio for the week in “On-air next.”

Radio 1190 is getting a makeover.

The independent AM radio station housed in the basement of CU’s University Memorial Center is turning down the dirty dorm feel and cranking up its studio space.

The main studio has already been renovated, setting the tone for the rest of the project, which is expected to be finished by the start of the fall semester.

General manager Mikey Goldenberg said professional studio equipment, new sound proofing and $120,000 in tower upgrades will provide the studio’s 10 paid managers and 75 to 100 volunteers with a real-world experience.

“Just because it’s college doesn’t mean it’s being run as a hobby,” Goldenberg said. “But professionalism doesn’t mean it’s being run commercially either.”

Shiny new equipment will not take away from the funky vibe of the space. Ceilings covered in hand-tiled records and framed graffiti preserved on the walls keeps the studios from feeling too stuffy.

But the 24,390 albums that line the lounge walls are the undeniable highlight of the space, said CU junior and music director James Calvet.

The music library is one thing the station is not changing, he said.

“We cater to all genres from experimental, to pop, to world, to hip hop,” Calvet said. “We want to play something you’ve never heard before that you can’t get anywhere else.”

Rotation shows, like Calvet’s morning show, fill up the station from about 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. most days, he said. Each week the music gets updated by Calvet and student hosts combine the rotation with their own style, he said.

Right now, experimental pop-group Ariel Pink, the uber popular Panda Bear and Denver band Shady Elders can be heard on the rotation.

Music and info on video games can be caught on 8-bit with DJ Laila. Or tune into Alexis on Boom Operator, which claims to be “like real life, only with better music playing in the background.”

Paul’s your man for Louisiana music on Krewe de Louisianne. And requests drive Calvet’s morning show, which plays an array of the “very, very new and old,” he said.

Colorado bands dominate the station’s weekly Local Shakedown segment, which brings local musicians into the studio for a live performance.

Despite the station’s campus location, programming attracts student and nonstudent listeners locally and across the nation.

“I talk to folks from 60 to 16,” Calvet said.

Opportunities for student workers and volunteers are available every semester at the station, Goldenberg said.

The UMC studio is not just a space for future radio professionals but musicians, music lovers, creatives and students of all kinds, he said.

Monday nights are a great time to stop in. Pizza nights offer free food and is judgement-free.

“We want to create a space where people can walk in and just talk and hang out,” Goldenberg said. “Community, education and music.Those are the three things that drive us daily.”

Whitney Bryen: twitter.com/soonerreporter