Arts & Events

“Overlooking the Sound” reviews KUPS as a whole

In response to a Hey You! saying that KUPS is not accessible­—meaning too avant-garde to even listen to—this week’s review is a little different.

Instead of focusing on one show that has been recommended to me by listeners and visiting the station while it airs, this week’s review focuses on a few different shows from the perspective of someone who randomly tunes into the radio.

Is it possible that the Hey You! is right? The remainder of this column will discuss sort of a mood match, how well the music fits in with where they are and what they are doing.

Thursday night—a typical night when older students are coming back from bars (or going out to them) and younger students are probably taking it easy and studying—Ben and Kaitlin’s hip-hop show from 11 p.m. to 12 a.m. might be the best match to mood that I have found during this little survey.

In one word, the sounds are smooth. Hip-hop can occasionally be too demanding of your attention, but here the vocals were smooth the transitions were smooth, and the beats were smooth, but still with enough energy to keep the listener interested, so it’s perfect for those not quite ready to go to bed yet.

While I was listening, the DJs didn’t say a word, it may have messed with the smoothness maybe not. But there was one track I would have loved the name of. It featured a strong female vocalist and a horn section. There was an easy cool vibe coming from the airwaves that didn’t stop at midnight.

The shows actually transitioned quite nicely into what I perceived as more experimental hip-hop. Not exactly smooth in the same way. From what I heard, there were crazier transitions between songs with more out-there intros that DJs must have a hard time working into their shows.

The sounds from this hip-hop show included more of those old recording voice-overs that you often get with layering sounds. I warmed up to the more bizarre samples. I made the decision to go to sleep when I heard a more simple track with a nice—sounding guy singing.

The next morning was a complete turn-around. The jury is still out whether there was a DJ in the booth (like there should have been) or whether I was listening to the computer.

Either way, whatever comes out of 90.1 FM is part of KUPS and it is getting reviewed. It was a brutal wake-up to AC/DC’s “Big-Balls” at 7:45 a.m. You cannot help but laugh. Some might view the song as quite the motivator and self-esteem booster for the morning.

Even weirder were the following songs. They were reggae. Now, this genre could be on a great morning playlist. I was into it.

It wasn’t even Bob Marley; either automation or the Friday morning DJ had a diverse knowledge of the genre.

What got me was the switch from AC/DC, to reggae, to oldies with a band that sounded like the Turtles, back to reggae, then to Ella Fitzgerald.

I’m placing my bets that automation was rocking my morning, but if not I recommend a more cohesive playlist for the morning DJs.

It’s Friday, I’m done with class for the day, starving, coming home to listen to KUPS while I cook and I’m faced with a classical hour. My faith in DJs has returned.

Once again, the DJ decides not to talk unnecessarily and lets the music take me away.

It is lunchtime, it is almost nap time, it is pouring rain and I am appropriately listening to “The Rite of Spring.” Tacoma, I think that you have a radio station that accurately represents your quirkiness.

To tune into KUPS through radio, tune the radio to 90.1 FM. To stream online, access the link through KUPS’s website:, or through their tumblr,