KUPS to Start Own Record Label

Puget Sound’s radio station KUPS has received funds from ASUPS to start KUPS Records. The first release will feature local and international artists, compiled for this event.

“This will be the first release from the station but has been discussed on and off over the last couple years,” KUPS general manager Chloe Ginnegar said.

According to KUPS hip-hop music director Travis Shetter, the release will be titled So Far to Go: A Tribute to  James DeWitt Yancey. Known by his stage name J-Dilla, Yancey passed away in early 2006. “We are using the $492.75 we received from ASUPS to press a batch of cassettes, and we hope to donate the profits of this release to the J-Dilla Foundation, a charity established to provide music scholarships for Detroit youth and families after J-Dilla’s death in 2006,” Shetter said.

Lawrence Huffines, operation advisor for KUPS, had expressed interest in pursuing a record label at Puget Sound, but it was not until recently that this dream was able to be accomplished. Following a recording session with the local band Wolof, Huffines once again brought the idea forward to the KUPS staff.

“Travis just took the ball and ran with it,” Huffines said. “And then he came back from break and said, ‘Okay, I’ve got all the bands already lined up to do this rap compilation!’” All that Shetter and KUPS needed to produce the physical cassettes was financial backing, which has been approved.

This is only one of the many steps that KUPS has taken over the years to grow as a studio and as a locus of student radio. Many of its advancements have led to national recognition and awards, including the MTVu Woodie Award for Best College Radio Station in 2009. But there was more work to be done.

“We re-outfitted the whole entire booth with entirely new equipment…and we updated the production studio from being an old analog board that didn’t work well to a new digital console and new computers,” Huffines said.

Part of the technological upgrade included new servers for streaming the radio live on the internet. The old computers were nearly ten years old and, according to Huffines, could only stream to 20-30 users at one time. “Now we can stream as many [as we want]. It’s almost infinite,” Huffines said.

Part of the goal of KUPS records is to reach out beyond the student body into the surrounding community. The University of Puget Sound Campus Music Network is a label that already supports student artists at the school, and Huffines stated that this is in no way a competition.

“We’re lucky enough to have bands that want to come by and play, do in-studios, do interviews, be on the radio with us and support the station,” Huffines said. “It’s a good way to give back and keep on promoting the station for a great destination in college radio.”

“We hope to record artists from the campus and local community through in studio recording sessions and in the future establish a 7” inch vinyl series,” Shetter said.

After almost fifty years, KUPS is still a vital part of the Puget Sound’s musical body, and the continued support from students and local artists will help to ensure its continued dedication to music.

“We are hoping that this release will be the first of many over the years [and] to work with campus and local bands,” Ginnegar said.