Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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This is 89.5, KQAL. Your Radio Alternative.” Profile

Jiovani Bermudez
KQAL Sign Showing someone is on the Air. The person currently can be heard across Winona and as far as Rochester.

While driving in Winona, few people would take the trip silently. Some may listen to spotify, some to youtube music, some may flick through the radio. Those who run through the frequencies may stumble upon 89.5 FM. “89.5 KQAL, Your Radio Alternative!” rings over their stereo system and they are greeted with voices of a variety of individuals. Some show clear signs of nerves, others seem as natural as if they do it every- day. Regardless, it is something different from the stations that are around it. KQAL has existed at Winona State University since Dec. of 1975 and continues to broadcast today through Phelps Hall.

Mike Martin, the current Operations Manager at KQAL started his career at the station as a student in the summer of 1976. He elaborated on the history of the station while commenting on his love for radio.

“You know I’ve always liked radio…KQAL was the second FM station in Winona at the time…
It was all live; there was no automation. We had to have a body in the chair the entire time we were on the air…from 5 a.m. – 2 a.m.” Martin said,

Martin went on to explain how instead of the Simian, the PC system used today at the station, KQAL started with a board, 2 turntables, a cart machine and a reel-to-reel. The station started its life in the Dufresne Performing Arts Center as part of the Communications and Theater Arts Major but was moved to Phelps during the deconstruction of Howell Hall in 2009.

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Since its move to KQAL the station has grown into the Radio Alternative we know today. The station has developed a focus on local artist and student run DJ shifts. Luke Ott, the current Program Director, commented on what set the station apart from others in Winona.

“It gives a lot of students a bit of creativity by creating their own radio show…it is very rare you will see the same song played twice in a day…We have a variety of music and…students can control what they play.” He shared,

KQAL also has five original shows that are produced at the station. These are “Don’t Cha Know” Mondays at 12:30 p.m. focusing on events occurring in and around Winona, “Art Beat” Tuesdays at 12:30 p.m. focusing on Artist around Winona, “The Sound” at 6 p.m. Wendsays that focuses on an album produced by a local artist with that artist, “Culture Clique” Thursdays at 12:30 p.m. focusing on anything culturally or historically significant in Winona and “The Live Feed” Fridays at 6 p.m. focusing on Live Performances in and around Winona. Bill Stoneberg, Program Coordinator at KQAL commented about the importance of these shows.

“They serve the community by bringing arts and culture to the forefront, informing the public of artists they may not have known about, and giving those artists a platform…Those four shows are also used to help students in their practice to create audio work.”

Stoneberg explained how besides “Don’t Cha Know” he along with a few students under the role of Production Assistant produce the original content that plays at the station. The focus on Winona and local artists combined with the freedom for student DJs was touted by Ott, Martin and Stoneberg alike.

“Sometimes professional things can sound cookie cutter…I think less professional is sometimes interesting and I think our listeners like that…It’s a little more human and we all…get to hear students learn and grow live on the air in front of our ears.” Stoneberg said.

Stoneberg, Ott and Martin all addressed how students today and the multiple options available to people have caused less interest in the station by the students at Wi- nona State. Despite this, the three had very unique ideas of the future. Martin referred to Winona State’s recent budget issues as a fear for the future of KQAL, although he also believes the value the station brings is well recognized for it
to continue. Stoneberg believes though radio in the physical may be on its way out, the concept will live on similar to streaming and cable television. Ott believes the station will continue thanks to its focus on local artists. More information on KQAL can be found at or tune into 89.5 FM.

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About the Contributor
Jiovani Bermudez
Jiovani Bermudez, Photographer

Jiovani A. Bermudez is a photographer and features reporter for The Winonan as of late spring 2022. He is currently in his fourth year at Winona State University majoring in mass communication with a focus on creative digital media.

Besides photography for The Winonan, Bermudez is currently involved with the university's student radio KQAL as a production assistant and hosting "Jazz Cafe" on Fridays from 9 AM - 12 PM. He also a member of the Dev Team for Cubeify games.

In his free time, Bermudez enjoys playing a multitude of games, biking around Winona, writing, and engaging in discussion about poetry, philosophy, politics, mythology, and games.

Bermudez hopes to make games to share the stories he has written in his favorite medium of entertainment. He also hopes to put his efforts towards voice work.

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