By Alex Dyson 

Cat Barr (’21) is a leader within KUPS and a candidate to serve as the station’s General Manager

AD: What is KUPS doing now, being that we are all gone, and we don’t have access to this equipment? 

CB: KUPS is obviously not programming now, because students are not on campus, but there are a couple of things that we are working on. The first is within staff, I’m trying to make sure that we are laying a solid foundation for next year, so I’m working on establishing a continuity report that is more consistently updated, just to make sure that the transition is smooth.

Also, Livi Plihal and I are working on QuaranZine, which is the coronavirus edition of the Aroma, the KUPS zine. DJs, the general student population, even alumni and faculty members are participating. Everyone can send their art in, whatever they’ve been working on, and we’ll format it so it looks like a zine…There have been a lot of playlists that people have been sending in, which I think is nice because I feel like I’ve been listening to more music than ever before. That’s something that’s been helping me with all of this — processing quarantine through all of this new music that I’m discovering.

AD: What will KUPS do if you don’t have access to the booth for a prolonged period of time? 

CB: I don’t know. I think as of right now, for my own sanity, I just have to hope for the best and hope that we will be back by the fall. If not, I’ll just deal with that as it comes along. Something that has been keeping me hopeful is getting to see other artistic ways that DJs and community members are expressing themselves that aren’t just one hour blocks a week of a radio show. I think that radio isn’t something that we can all do if we’re all spread out across the country, so I’m not really sure what that will look like if this continues for too long, but for right now whatever ways we can support each other, even if it’s just by producing different kinds of artwork and distributing that virtually, I think that that’s beneficial for everyone involved. 

We were having a lot of conversations right before the pandemic blew everything up about ways that KUPS could move forward and make progress… I just need to make sure that whenever we end up back at school, those conversations are still happening.

AD: How do you deal with the uncertainty surrounding this pandemic, being a leader in KUPS? 

CB: At some point, something has to happen, right? Eventually we’re going to be back on campus, and eventually things relating to KUPS are going to change…

We were having a lot of conversations right before the pandemic blew everything up about ways that KUPS could move forward and make progress. A lot of those conversations I’m afraid are going to get swept under the rug, now that we’ve stopped having them since we’re all dispersed. I feel like I just need to make sure that whenever we end up back at school, whenever we end up back in our meetings, that those conversations are still happening. Even if it takes a long time for us to get back to that point, those issues aren’t going anywhere, so we’ll still need to deal with them, even if it’s uncomfortable and even if it’s awkward. Just thinking about, in what way can I approach these issues and how can I be sensitive to these nuanced problems, but also actually make things happen?

There’s a lot of things to consider when you think about being a leader of this community with over a hundred people being involved. What is happening with those people right now? Everyone is in a different situation. Then we’re going to be back at school, and I think that a lot of things are going to change in general because of all this and because of quarantine. I’m just spending all my time trying to think about ways that I can make KUPS feel safe and welcoming and pleasant. Because I think that’s it’s nice to look forward to something being a pleasant space.