The Little Basement that Rocks with Change: Asher Smith Appointed as KWLC General Manager


Asher Smith (‘22) tabling KWLC merch last spring. Photo courtesy of KWLC’s instagram page (@kwlc1240).

As Luther’s student-run radio station KWLC nears its 96th year of broadcasting, the organization has appointed a new General Manager, Asher Smith (‘22). In their time at Luther, Smith worked at KWLC in various capacities as a DJ with his own radio show, as Student Work Program Director and as Student Station Manager. 


Started in 1926, KWLC is one of the oldest continuously operating college radio stations in the country. They broadcast seven days a week to listeners around the country, promoting a love of music and liberal arts. For Smith, radio broadcasting has always served a purpose in his own life. During their time at Luther, that interest grew while being a part of KWLC. 


“I fell in love with the station the first time I stepped inside, I’ve always had a love for music and radio broadcasting,” Smith said. “I can remember when I was a kid and just being obsessed with NPR and 89.3’s “The Current.” When I found out about KWLC, I was totally enthralled immediately.”

Nick Greseth (‘23) serves as the social media director for KWLC, and works closely with Smith to promote KWLC. Greseth touched on the importance of KWLC in his life and the importance of giving this job opportunity to Luther Students. 


“I love the idea of college radio as a cutting edge way of learning about new music,” Greseth said. “There’s a really fun energy about it. [KWLC] has greatly impacted my time at Luther. It combined everything I love: radio, music, concerts, visual art, and just fun people. I’m excited to see what Asher does with KWLC, I’ve loved working with him so far.”


Smith is focused on the future of KWLC and the importance of making students aware of what opportunities are available beyond just hosting a radio show. They hope to get back to where KWLC once was, in terms of student involvement and listeners. 


“I think that KWLC and having a radio show is a great resource for students, but we also have a full recording studio for campus musicians to record music,” Smith said. “Since the pandemic happened, I don’t think people have been as aware that the resource is available to them, so something we’d really like to do is open that back up again. We’d also like to be involved in as many concerts or music related events as we possibly can, and really get the KWLC name back out there on campus.” 


Jenna Gengler (‘21), the previous Student Manager of KWLC, shared this sentiment. Under her leadership, KWLC’s main goal was that of expanding the radio show across campus.


“For those who are unfamiliar with the little basement that rocks, let me give you the quick rundown,” Gengler said. “KWLC is Luther’s very own student-run commercial-free radio station. We pick the music, we go on-air, spin the tunes, and reap the benefits! College radio plays a super important role in the crazy music industry.” 


As for the future of KWLC under Smith, they hope to reach the 100-year milestone as a station. To achieve this, Smith hopes to solidify the engagement of KWLC through concert production, studio recording for musicians, and radio broadcasting. He also invites students to apply to host a show via their Instagram page which can be found @kwlc1240. KWLC hosts night broadcasts Monday through Saturday and a day broadcast on Sundays.