Laurelle Turner, a graduate student in Chemical and Biological Engineering at Colorado State University, is a finalist for a national college broadcasting award.
Although she is a chemical and biological engineering major, she found that mixing music and looking at its deep roots are as gratifying as her chosen educational field.
Turner’s passion for music and history has paid off, as she is a finalist in the category of “Best Regularly Scheduled Program” in the College Broadcasters Inc. awards. She hosts a live show every Saturday called “The History Of” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on 90.5 FM KCSU as DJ Alchemy. She is the sixth radio show host at KCSU in the last two years to be named a finalist for a CBI national award.
Each episode focuses on one specific musical genre or topic, followed by a discussion of the history of that particular music. This ranges from scaling playlists and dissecting events in chronological order to random facts or trivia about the topic or genre of music. For example, when Turner brings up jazz, blues, or soul she will discuss the film Blues Brothers and the music’s impact on minstrel song and gospel music, and how the genres have changed for modern times.
So how does a chemical and biological engineering graduate end up with a live musical broadcast that is nominated for a national award? Turner was a cellist at Chaparral High School in Parker, Colo., and has always known that music is a strong component in her life. She also knew, growing up, that her academic abilities were strong in science and math. Before starting as a graduate student, she completed her bachelor of science in Chemical and Biological Engineering at CSU.
Turner got involved in radio through a friend, Molly MacDougall, a past program director at KCSU, the on-campus radio station in Fort Collins. She spent lots of time at the station reviewing CDs and began looking up the history of past artists and their influences. The station offered her a show and, at first, Turner rejected the opportunity.
“I have a big case of stage fright,” she said.
Turner sat in with other DJs and went through training. She then took a shot at hosting her own show. Turner has now been involved with KCSU for a little more than a year.
CBI’s annual conference is in Minneapolis, Minn., this year. CBI represents more than 200 college radio and TV stations and supports student-run media. The conference accepts submissions from college stations throughout the country, inviting people to send in recordings for nominations of radio shows, radio documentaries, TV shows, etc. CBI then picks the top four as finalists and they are asked to attend the conference.
Turner will learn her fate at the end of this year’s conference. The awards show is on Oct. 24.
Until then, Turner will keep her head in the books and her ears open to the music.