student working the radio station

Stephen F. Austin State University’s student-run radio station, “Axe ’em Radio” on 90.1 FM, which is operated by the Department of Mass Communication, changed its call sign from KSAU-FM to KAXM-FM March 1. The radio station serves as a classroom and lab for students who are pursuing careers in the mass media industry.

NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Stephen F. Austin State University’s longstanding student-run radio station — now aptly named “Axe ’Em Radio” on 90.1 FM and operated by the Department of Mass Communication — has changed its call sign from the nearly half-century-old KSAU-FM to KAXM-FM.

The change to the call sign, which identifies a radio station, was approved by the Federal Communication Commission and put into effect March 1.

According to Dr. John Hendricks, chair and professor of SFA’s Department of Mass Communication, the new call sign better affiliates and promotes 90.1 FM as SFA’s radio station.

“This change to our call sign for the radio station better promotes and embraces the Lumberjack brand and spirit that has been a fixture of the university for 100 years,” Hendricks said. “This is an exciting time for SFA, and this change enables our student media to promote our university’s rich traditions even better moving forward.”

Granted its first license from the FCC on June 17, 1975, the noncommercial radio station has established itself as a prime figure in SFA’s vast history, and a leading example of hands-on learning opportunities available to students.

Serving not only as a hub for the latest alternative rock hits, the radio station is also a classroom and lab for students who are pursuing careers in the mass media industry. The students, under the watchful eye of a faculty advisor, gain first-hand knowledge and experiences on the radio while also building a portfolio that prepares them to apply for jobs immediately upon graduation.

For the majority of its existence, the radio station was under the tutelage of Sherry Williford, who served as instructor and advisor for 31 years until her retirement in August 2023. Tom Reynolds, lecturer, now serves as the current advisor.

Originally designated for students in mass media courses, the department has opened the radio station to student volunteers in any major.

“The radio station will always remain a student-run station,” Hendricks said. “The mission of KAXM-FM, just like KSAU-FM, is for Lumberjacks to serve the broadcasting needs and interests of the East Texas media market and to gain educational experiences they couldn’t find anywhere else.”

The call sign change highlights an example of the ever-changing media landscape and the efforts taken by the department to adapt with the industry. According to Hendricks, it’s a change that he’s wanted to make since his arrival at SFA in 2009.

“The media landscape is constantly evolving, and it’s our responsibility to evolve with the industry, too,” Hendricks said. “That’s exactly how the commercial media industry —where our graduates will be employed — works. There’s constant change, and our students must be taught to be adaptive and nimble whenever change is required.”

Tune in to listen to 90.1 KAXM-FM “Axe ’Em Radio” seven days a week, 24 hours a day. For more information about the Department of Mass Communication, visit their website.

Stephen F. Austin State University, the newest member of The University of Texas System, began a century ago as a teachers’ college in Texas’ oldest town, Nacogdoches. Today, it has grown into a regional institution comprising six colleges — business, education, fine arts, forestry and agriculture, liberal and applied arts, and sciences and mathematics. Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, SFA enrolls approximately 11,000 students while providing the academic breadth of a state university with the personalized attention of a private school. The main campus encompasses 421 acres that include 37 academic facilities, nine residence halls, and 68 acres of recreational trails that wind through its six gardens. The university offers more than 80 bachelor’s degrees, more than 40 master’s degrees and four doctoral degrees covering more than 120 areas of study. Learn more at the SFA website.