New KCSU show highlights research, innovation

Most of the programming on 90.5 KCSU is what you’d expect to find a college radio station – student deejays playing a wide variety of music occasionally intermixed with news.

But this semester, on Wednesday nights at 5, KCSU listeners can learn about ongoing research at Colorado State University during “What the Wonder.”  Hosted by Mary Willson, a communication studies major, the new, hour-long program features lively discussions with researchers and innovators from across campus.

“CSU is a hub of innovation and research and I wanted to find a way to get that message to students in a way they would enjoy,” Willson said.

The show kicked off Jan. 21 with Brian Jones, a pradio show photo2hysics instructor and director of CSU’s renowned Little Shop of Physics.

Willson asked Jones, a recognizable figure around campus, how he came up with his experiments, what it’s like bringing hands-on science to K-12 students, and how the Little Shop outreach program has changed over the past 25 years.

Jones also conducted experiments live and on air. He used a hammer, nail, paper clip and magnet to demonstrate electromagnetics while Willson explained to her listeners what she saw and the strange sounds emanating from the studio.

“I think the first show went really well, (Jones) was really engaging and I had fun with it,” Willson said. “I’m excited to make this a weekly thing, and hopefully get some campus interest.”

Upcoming guests include Michael Carolan, a professor in the Department of Sociology who specializes in the sociology of food systems and agriculture and has written seven books, and Maury Dobbie, the assistant director of the Center for New Energy Economy.

We sat down with Willson and asked her some questions:

You’ve hosted shows before on KCSU. What were they? How does this compare?
This is my second show with KCSU. My show last semester was an electronic music show, in which I played local and national music. Although I have written for the campus magazine, College Avenue, and the Collegian. But I love learning how radio works, and KCSU gives students a ton of creative show photo

Does this show require a lot of research?
Well, not any more research than I put in for articles I write, and I’ve been a student journalist since high school so it’s not bad. I actually love learning about new fields!

What are your goals for the show?
My only goal is to give students and the CSU community an opportunity to learn about the innovation occurring on their campus. Sometimes, the most impactful people don’t get a spotlight because they’re too busy on their passions. I’m just grateful I have a platform to educate the community.

What kind of response have you received?
Well, so far my mom has told me it’s great! But, past the obvious fans, I’ve had a few of my friends on campus say they tuned in, which is nice to hear. I’m sure that this show won’t be super popular, as KCSU is mostly all about music, but hopefully I can turn a bit of interest. The great thing about this show is the topic changes every week- so you may not be into science, but you may love learning about psychology or equine science, and I hope to cover those, too! So there is something for everyone to get into.

How do you pick your guests? Are you still looking for guests?
So far, I have just asked some of the innovators I have heard about or had classes from in the past to be on my show. But, if anyone on campus that is involved with something that is innovative and you’d like to be featured (students, too), feel free to email me at