A Letter to Our Community

Entertainment Media is a fascinating subject. It’s very different from the brand of journalism created by our friends at The Chronicle. Many people would argue that it’s far more frivolous, that it doesn’t have the same social responsibility. That with all of the calamities and important stories going on there are better things to discuss than sports or music. I’ve often wondered, with so much work that needs to be done in our world, am I really choosing to make a difference by making entertainment?

I believe, though, that creating entertainment requires just as much social responsibility as journalism. It certainly has just as much social impact, if not more. And I realized this as I sought out my own reason for loving this industry so much. I used to say it was the intersection of art and technology that drove me to entertainment, and that’s still true. But in my time working at K-UTE Radio and attending this university, I’ve realized that’s not the whole story. The big “Why” for my love of entertainment is that entertainment spawns community.

I’m not sure why it took me so long to put this into words. A community surrounding entertainment is literally the definition of a fandom, something we know a lot about at The Geekwave. It’s been a goal of K-UTE Radio and The Geekwave for as long as I’ve been around. It’s the goal of any entertainment creator; although they may use more sterile terms like “growing audience” or “encourage engagement”. But at its core, it’s something very personal that you’re creating: a community of people that are brought together over a common love. And it’s powerful. Reddit is full of stories of people coming to the aid of strangers in their fandom. People who are literally connected by the entertainment they enjoy.

In my four years participating in and leading K-UTE Radio and The Geekwave, I’ve seen amazing things happen. We got to reach out to local artists and give them venues to showcase their work. We’ve had local business owners champion our cause and help us make connections in the community. We’ve offered our skills to the University and other student groups to create great experiences on campus. We assisted with the first Crimson Gaming events, an organization that would pave the way for the U’s Varsity Esports. We were a sponsor and organizer for the charity event Respawn Ready. We’ve given people and organizations trying to make a difference a place where they could speak to the world. We started out as a loosely joined group of shows trying to build our own small communities. We became to two large teams of people working together to support and build the communities that were already there.

But there’s one community that we created that I think may be the most powerful: The Student Media Team. I will never forget the passionate students that found a home here. I’ll never forget watching nervous freshmen who thought radio might be fun become creators and leaders. I’ll never forget watching students of different backgrounds become friends and teammates over their desire to work hard and make something together. We have had students come in with a story to tell or a message to convey and we’ve given them a microphone and a podcast. We’ve had geeks who love to gush about their favorite things and we’ve taught them to put their passion on paper. We’ve built brands, we’ve built websites, we’ve built makeshift studios and publishing schedules and individual portfolios and leaders. But most of all, we’ve built a family.

I’ll consider myself a part of this family for the rest of my life, and I know that I’ll always be welcome back at University of Utah Student Media. Thank you to every person who made these four years the greatest experience of my life. And good luck to Gustavo Cordeiro, Geoff Sutyak, and Lee Neuschwander as they lead our Entertainment Media into the future.

Keep Dreaming.

Jarom “Solar” Norris has been the Station Manager for K-UTE Radio for the past two years. He also was the Executive Producer of The Geekwave since he started it three years ago. If you’d like to keep following Solar and his projects, check him out on Twitter or at his website http://jarom.solar

K-UTE Wins National Student Production Award

It was only in August of 2015 that K-UTE Radio completely redid our website and began a rebranding to build a University of Utah podcasting platform. We knew that our audience wanted our talk entertainment content on-demand, and that by building a place where we could publish a variety of different topic shows, we’d be able to give them that and leave ourselves with room to grow. That means that we’ve only officially been publishing podcasts since then, with The Geekwave: Episode 0 releasing on August 20, 2015, and the first episode of The Rostrum on August 25.

And so, it’s with great pride that we accept the 3rd Place National Student Production Award for Best Podcast.

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The podcast in question is an episode of The Vet Set, recorded by Andrea Bryant and produced by Keith Blanc. In it, Andrea talks to University of Utah student Cory about his experiences in the Navy. You can listen to the episode here:

Thank you to the College Broadcasters Inc. for bestowing this award. We’re very happy to be able to take something home our first year of entering the awards. K-UTE will continue to improve our standard of quality, especially with our new forms of web entertainment content. So watch out for next year, when we’re going to bring home a 1st place prize!

~ Jarom “Solar” Norris, K-UTE Radio Manager

The Future of The Geekwave

It was almost two years ago that, after a summer of planning, Claire Heman and I launched our very first live broadcast of The Geekwave Talk Show, along with a Facebook page, a Minecraft server, and several club outreach initiatives. Our goal then was simple: To create a radio show about the things we were passionate about, to have fun doing it, and to bring the geek communities on campus closer together through variety entertainment. Sure, we had some big dreams then, we got involved with as many things as possible, we showed up at as many big club events as possible, we threw a Super Smash Bros. release party, we created the Geek Madness bracket and The Geekwave Blog, we even hosted the U’s first Hearthstone Fireside Gathering.

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The summer after we created The Geekwave I was hired to be the manager over all of K-UTE Radio. Alex Wiles, the manager before me, told me “Keep doing your show.” So I did, and as I laid forth K-UTE’s plans for the future, I realized that I was going to have to cut The Geekwave from the air and put it on our website as a podcast. A year ago today I did that, having no co-hosts (Claire and Kelby had graduated) and no idea how I was going to keep it up. But with support from great club leaders like Sam Wasson and Ri Hansen, I was determined to make it succeed. Luckily after pulling club leaders to be co-hosts for several weeks, we hired Logan “Ollie” Erickson on as my co-host. He started out as a wild-eyed freshman from Wisconsin, and has since grown incredibly to be a reliable and passionate producer on the show. Lee Neuschwander rounded out the team a few weeks later, and the third generation of The Geekwave was born.

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Near the end of Spring semester, Logan and I started laying out our dreams for how to make The Geekwave better and better. Lee had helped me revive The Geekwave Blog and turn it into a regular feature, Logan made some great contacts when he got into CES, and the Student Media Video Team, especially Stephanie Rudzik and Reed Petersen, helped us experiment with more video content. We had so many dreams, and we realized that if we wanted to accomplish them, we were going to need to hire more passionate creators. This summer we hired Kimmy Workman to join our podcast, Izzy Perrino to help with various content creation, Kyler Alvey to run our new Geeks Play series, and Chris Swensen as a full-time geek blogger. We had become the biggest single team on K-UTE Radio, and the largest online content producer by far.

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So today, one year from the day we officially switched from a Radio Show to a Podcast, we’re changing again, from a podcast to a full-on multimedia platform with it’s own website separate from K-UTE Radio. This will allow us as a Geek-focused team to provide our audience with a more streamlined experience of content they care about, and allow K-UTE to go back to a music-first site and not get overrun with our antics. K-UTE Radio still owns The Geekwave, and The Geekwave will continue to be part of our department and team, because it still projects K-UTE’s core value: To use entertainment media to bring the university community closer together. But now it stands as a separate content vertical of Student Media, along with K-UTE Radio, The Daily Utah Chronicle, and Wasatch Magazine.

So check us out at thegeekwave.com, and also check out our brand-new YouTube channel at youtube.com/c/thegeekwave. And to all current fans of The Geekwave, let me take this moment to say I can’t thank you enough. It’s the support of our audience that drives us each and every day to put so much of our thoughts and our time into this project. Thank you so much.

 

~~ Jarom “Solar” Norris, K-UTE Broadcast Manager and Executive Producer of The Geekwave

The Geekwave Episode 46: Infamy. Infamy Everywhere

What’s up Geekdom!?

This week on The Geekwave we catch up with Reed after his study abroad in China. We’ll talk about which languages are the hardest for English speakers to learn, and then we learn that Solar can speak in really broken Spanish.

Next up, we talk about New World Interactive’s new game, “Day of Infamy“. The game was released through Steam Early Access, and Ollie’s given it a go. As far as first impressions go, he gives the game two thumbs up!

Speaking of infamy, we’re all excited to see Suicide Squad! We’ll talk about our expectations of the movie, Solar expresses his strong opinion of Movie Critics, and then Ollie splits into the awesomeness that is The Transformer Movies. After a related topic change to Mark Wahlberg, we head right back to Suicide Squad and the DC Universe. We’ll discuss all the controversy over the newest rendition of Harley Quin, and other issues we see through anonymity and the internet.

Thanks for tuning into The Geekwave this week. Also, Check out The Geekwave’s new YouTube Channel!  We’ve got our first video where the Geekwave plays Halo, and our newest video with Solar and DecreeB playing the Yooka-Laylee Toybox.

Geekout Peeps!

 

 

P.S. No Ollies were harmed in the making of this episode.

Star Trek: How the Next Generation is Exposed to an Old Fandom

In Modern Geekdom there seems to be works that we believe will stand the test of time. If you ask somebody what the premiere creation of the Fantasy genre is, they’re likely to tell you it’s The Lord of the Rings. Every geek parent knows it is their sacred duty to expose their children to the original Star Wars movies. And we’d like to think that Harry Potter will be considered a literary classic even 50 years from now. Some of these stories are newer and haven’t actually had a chance to die yet, some get perpetuated by new content, but all of them are perpetuated from generation to generation by the fans themselves.

However, there’s one great fandom that hasn’t had its original content catch hold among the newer generation, and that’s Star Trek. Now, let me make a few things clear in this argument. First of all, there is no way I’d ever propose this diminishes the value of Star Trek. Geeks, Filmographers, and Social Historians alike will tell you that Star Trek shaped the current face of television in general and science fiction, also in general. I’d also be a fool to propose that there isn’t a decent sized Star Trek fandom within our current generation, who did have it handed to them by their geek parents. And finally, I believe that even if the Star Trek fandom is not what it once was, it’s impact on the Geekdom is still felt, and can be seen in the massive amounts of references and memes that still circulate, even among geeks who have never watched a single episode.

But my argument is that there’s a huge swath of young geeks who haven’t seen a single episode. And that’s weird, for a work that influenced so much of geek culture. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s just because of its medium. Television is not a medium that perpetuates itself well over many years. They simply haven’t had a chance to watch it, or haven’t looked for one.

That makes for a tough situation for the creators of this new trilogy of movies. They have the huge task of creating a story with the purpose of bringing in and appealing to new fans, while also appealing to the old fandom. Add that to the fact that making a movie is all you have to do to piss off the vocal minority on the internet. As someone who never really had a chance to watch more than a few episodes of Star Trek, I’ve loved watching the new movies. Being able the see the characters and themes that I know about as a geek in a setting built by modern artists J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and now Simon Pegg. And I’m very excited to see the action spin that director Justin Lin will put on Star Trek Beyond.

But I’m sure you have your own opinions on this. Tell me how you think the new movies have done at appealing to a new audience in the comments below, I’d love to converse with you. Speaking of which… We’re giving away a pair of tickets to Star Trek Beyond on our Facebook page. All you have to do is like our Facebook page, and then like the post shown below. That’s it! Make sure you watch our Facebook page over the next few days, we’ll be announcing the winner on Monday. (UPDATE: Monday is a Holiday, and we don’t know when the tickets will get here, so we’re pushing back the deadline. Sorry for the confusion!)

https://www.facebook.com/geekwave/posts/872501159520356

The Geekwave Episode 37: The Big Utah Games Episode

What is up Geekdom! :)

We are recording from the floors of the second annual Salt Lake Gaming Con at the Sandy Expo Center. This event is a gamers’ paradise with countless games to play, demo and enjoy. There is still one day left, so don’t hesitate to come on down.

SLGC has a special place in our geek hearts since at the original Salt Lake Gaming Con, The Geekwave did its first episode. So far we have had a pretty good run. This year The Utah Games Guild has been so courteous to let us use their booth for the episode and Fresco Press has generously donated t-Shirts for us to give away on Facebook. Make sure to like this episodes Facebook post for a chance to win. If you win show up at the Fresco Press Booth on Saturday, June 4th and pick up your t-shirt. The three prizes are a visually pleasing Boba Fett t-shirt or one of two Salt Lake Gaming Con shirts.

On this special episode, we sit down with three different development teams from The Utah Games Guild. To start it off, we speak to Lanie a director of The Utah Games Guild and Josh the developer of Legacy of The Elder Star. We chat it up about the con and Josh’s game which releases on June 7th. In fact, we will have some Steam Keys to give away next week. Legacy of The Elder Star is a really fun and pretty action shooter that is accessible to everyone. Definitely check it out!

Next up, we talk to Marc and Dave, two of three brothers who have been working on Crashnauts, a futuristic, 2D, local-multiplayer and insanely entertaining game. Growing up playing similar games these brothers bonded. Wanting to give others a similar experience and drawing inspiration from games like Towerfall Ascension, Crashnauts was born. Make sure to stay tuned for more updates from these rocking developers!

Last but not least, we sat down with David and Nick developers of We Need to Go Deeper. This co-op, submarine experience inspired by 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea is a blast for a group of sea hardened or not sea hardened friends. We hear what it is like to switch engines and we are not talking about on the yellow submarine. From Game Maker to Unity, We Need to Go Deeper is a great time and we look forward to trying to captain our own submarine in the future.

Once again, like the Facebook post, checkout Salt Lake Game Con and don’t forget to geekout!

 

-The Geekwave

The Geekwave Episode 30: Cory Doctorow on the Reality of Science Fiction

“Stories can change world politics by describing a path.”

Solar and Ollie had a chance to sit down with Cory Doctorow, science fiction author, activist, journalist, blogger, member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and co-founder the UK Open Rights Group. He’ll be speaking in the Marriott Library Gould Auditorium tomorrow, April 5th, at 6:30pm. Tickets are sold out for the event, but spare seats will be given away at the door once the lecture has started. More details right here.

While his talk tomorrow will be on Privacy and Surveillance, we wanted to talk to him a little bit about storytelling. And we were not disappointed, Doctorow had a wealth of knowledge to share about the way that science fiction describes possible futures, the way it models repeating history, and how even more fantastical stories like zombie thrillers are related to our current social conditions. “Predicting the future is boring, inspiring the future is interesting” he says.

We also delve a little bit into his opinions on gaming, and how much of modern free-to-play gaming has lost the benefits that playing games should be providing. Doctorow describes the Zynga-era of games as the “Empty Calories Version” of video games, “compelling without being satisfying”.

You can follow Cory Doctorow on Twitter, or check out his website craphound.com.

The Geekwave Episode 28: Technical Difficulties Live from GDC

Hey geeks!

First off, we’re happy to announce the winners of Geek Madness Round 2! We talk about it more in the podcast, but you can see the current standings here:

Geek Madness Bracket Round 3 Scaled

Round 3 is open as of right now! Click this link to go directly to the voting form. If you want more details about Geek Madness, you can always check out kuteradio.org/geekmadness.

Meanwhile, our very own Ollie is in San Francisco attending the Game Developers Conference! He’s meeting all sorts of cool people (See: photo of him with Tim Schafer above) and trying out all sorts of new tech. He calls in briefly during this episode.

Finally, we want to give out some reminders. Tomorrow night at 7pm, TESPA and The Geekwave are hosting Team Fortress 2 Game Night! It’s an online meetup, so just get on your computer at 7, log into our Discord server, and play some TF2 with us. Also, next week we’ll be at Salt Lake Comic Con’s FanXperience! We’re super excited to go, so be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to see our posts from the show floor.

Hope you University students had a good Spring Break, and have a good weekend!