Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

    9th Floor Radio to hit FM airwaves in July

    Housed in an unmarked white temporary building with blue trim just outside the Laney College campus, 9th Floor Radio has no address, so visitors are told to look out for a small garden and large satellite as landmarks. The station’s namesake comes from its original home at the 9th Floor of the Laney Tower, where it stayed until retrofitting in the tower forced them to move three years ago.
    Frequencies are hard to find in the Bay Area, so when Melissa Neal first joined 9th Floor Radio, she never saw going “live” as an option. Now, she’s anticipating a serious game-changer, and her excitement is palpable. Starting this July, 9th Floor will be broadcasting live at 96.9 FM. 
    Neal, now a programming director, has been one of 9th Floor’s station managers from the very beginning. Reminiscent of Bettie Page, Neal sports long jet-black hair with bangs, and retains a youthful appearance of a woman in her mid-20’s, despite having been with the station for over eight years. She says her music of choice is Punk Rock and Underground. 
    “Moving to FM solidifies us as being a part of the College and community,” Neal says. According to Jeff Heyman, Executive Director for Communications at the Peralta Colleges (and 9th Floor’s founder), this was no easy feat. The process alone took three years of arduous paperwork and “back-and-forth with the FCC,” he says. 
    Beyond the transition to FM, Neal wants to see 9th Floor evolve into a complete media outlet that integrates radio with social media, events, video, and blogs. “I want people to go to our website as a one stop shop to see what’s going on,” she says. According to Neal, there’s no shortage of bands and DJs in the East Bay. The problem is that there aren’t enough labels, radio outlets, magazines, and blogs to cover them all. 
    “People are going to run into us, flipping through the channels,” says Aaron Harbour, 9th Floor’s production coordinator. 
    Aaron Harbour tests equipment before recording Todd Stadtman’s program.Harbour takes a break from his post where he’s eating a cup of Ramen noodles and monitoring the audio of a show called “Pop Off Radio.” He is tall, lanky, mild-mannered, and wears an acid washed jean jacket. For Harbour, it was college radio that first introduced him to a world outside of generic radio. 
    “I first started listening in middle school and remember recording shows on cassette tapes,” he says. “I’m still constantly looking for new music.” 
    Harbour has been with 9th Tower for over six years now, and is greatly looking forward to the transition. “Once we go FM, we want to be a strong voice for diversity in the East Bay and Peralta [School District].” While the diversity of shows is strength for 9th Floor, it also comes with a challenge. 
    “We’ll go from a hip hop show and move into a show on online dating experiences right after,” Neal says. “It’s a big marketing challenge to engage with so many audiences when there isn’t one singular vision.” That said Neal encourages anyone seeking a career path in Marketing or Communications to consider interning with 9th Floor, adding that it’s also a great opportunity for those seeking a career in production, audio editing, and broadcast journalism. 
    Neal wants 9th Floor to do it all. To get involved, and/or intern with 9th Floor, contact them directly at 9thfloorradio(at)gmail.com.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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