Students Use Skills to Redesign Area Public Radio Station
BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – MARCH 5, 2013 – Two students at The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College have used their talents to create an updated web site for the Rio Grande Valley’s public radio and television station KMBH.
From Left to Right: Nick Rise, Underwriting Manager and Radio Manager at KHMB; UTB and TSC student Cristian Torres; Robert Gutierrez, President and Chief Executive OFficer KMBH; and UTB and TSC graduate Pedro Rodriguez, look at the newly designed KMBJ web site in a computer lab at UTB and TSC.
Cristian Torres, a senior computer science and music – vocal performance major from Puebla, Mexico and Pedro Rodriguez, a graduate student in educational technology from Harlingen and a graduate of San Benito High School, worked on the project with KMBH staff.
“We are still a small station,” said General Manager Robert M. Gutierrez Jr. “The support and the assistance from UTB and TSC has been invaluable and priceless. This is helping us do a lot more.”
The updated web site utilizes the Drupal open source content management platform and includes television and radio schedules, larger photographs, social media links and an online donation form.
“It is a responsive layout, meaning you can see it on your phone and computer,” said Rodriguez, 32. “It scales to your phone.”
Dr. Juan R. Iglesias, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Computer and Information Sciences, said the radio and television station now has a web system to maintain donation reports and create tax information.
“I was in charge of the design of the database, the program that would allow them to connect in an easier way to manage the information,” said Torres, 25. “I was in charge of looking for the best way to handle the sensitive information.”
Torres also set up the server and wrote coding.
“I’m really happy with what I did,” he said. “Computer science is very brogue. You study but you have many, many things to learn.”
KMBH recently used the web site as part of a fund raising campaign and received $880 in online donations. The station had never used the web site before to solicit donations.
“We are really happy because with Pedro and Cristian’s help our web site has really come into the 21st century,” said Gutierrez. “It really provided our viewers and listeners with so much up to date information.”
The radio and television station hired Rodriguez part-time to maintain the web site.
“It was unexpected at the very beginning,” said Iglesias. “They were so happy with the results they needed someone who could move this project forward and keep it in good shape.”
Rodriguez said some of his work involves manually changing out photographs and schedules on the web page. He said he wants to install a program soon that can schedule when information and images come on and off the web site.
Rodriguez said he enjoys the work because it is for a non-profit organization that all residents can benefit from.
“I’ve done this work before for other non-profits, mainly churches,” he said.
The station’s future goal is to provide streaming audio.
The web site re-design came out through a series of get acquainted meetings Gutierrez had with administrator and faculty members at UTB and TSC.
“I think partnering with organizations that are depending on the community is very important,” said Iglesias. “It’s an important experience for the students because they get the community service experience that is needed for their personal growth.”
Iglesias said the department is always seeking opportunities to match students’ skills with businesses and organizations that want computer and online expertise. The department will begin a new internship class this summer providing students with work opportunities for academic credit.
“Our students are talented and have very good ideas,” said Iglesias. For more information on partnerships with the Department of Computer and Information Sciences, contact Iglesias at 956-882-6605 or email@example.com.