Another cockroach scuttles across the sound board during Marlana Berlingcrum’s radio show, hurdling over rows of volume sliders. The veteran DJ is unfazed, continuing her on-air spiel about some indie band you’ve never heard of.
“I’ve had a show at KNDS for four years, including two here in this cellar,” the senior majoring in broadcast journalism said. “If I were to stop every time I saw a critter, we’d have dead air. Lots of it.”
Berlingcrum and her fellow DJs have endured Vitamin D-deficiencies and further obscurity ever since KNDS 96.3 FM relocated to the basement of a downtown building nearly two years ago.
“Relocated isn’t the word I’d use to describe it,” Berlingcrum said. “We were evicted.”
In the summer of 2014, North Dakota State finalized a plan to tear down KNDS’ old studio, located south of the Alumni Center and, more importantly, north of the Turf.
“The old studio had asbestos spewing out the walls,” said Mitch Tellingsen, campus building manager. “We had to tear it down. We paved paradise to put up a parking lot. Oooh, bop bop bop.”
Doctors, health advocates and people named Doug on commercials agree: asbestos is bad for you.
“If we hadn’t torn it down, NDSU would be paying mesothelioma lawsuits up the wazoo,” Tellingsen said. “Imagine the infomercials: ‘Attention, senior citizens! Did you or a loved one ever work as a KNDS DJ at NDSU? If so, your family may be entitled to monetary compensation!’ We can’t afford that. We’re already running a deficit.”
KNDS was effectively homeless. Mary Moses, the station’s general manager, said she and her flock have been trying to return to the promised lands of campus ever since.
“The only reason people know BIN exists is because of its high visibility location,” Moses said. “You can’t really see a basement.”
Shawn Gerund owns the basement and the rest of the building, which also houses a newspaper and hairdressing salon. The wide-eyed and bespectacled Renaissance man also lives up the stairs of the studio.
“The radio waves transmitted from the station get me on this ultralight beam,” Gerund said. “Synergy.”
Moses said she is tired of new-age words tossed around un-ironically and literally being underground.
“Find a place for us back on campus, for real” she said, noting many false hopes that have been unfruitful.
KNDS thought it might have found a ticket back on campus with the C.I. Nelson Building. That building was subsequently torn down.
“Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone?” Tellingsen said. “We paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”