Planning and Pop Culture radio show

Planning and Pop Culture is a class offered to APDesign students frequently during spring intersession. However, this past Spring the class did something that new and produced a radio show. Regional and community planning faculty Dr. Huston Gibson, Dr. Kate Nesse and Professor La Barbara Wigfall led the class in a project that won a Kansas American Planning Association New Horizon Award at the 2013 KS APA Annual Meeting.

“The class touches on many issues related to planning from how the routing of a highway affects life in small towns to how cities grow and change to building community within marginalized groups,” Nesse said. “The great thing about the class is that the content changes every time. We are always experimenting and trying new things.”

In the spring semester, students explored the balance that planning and pop culture hold. The professors led the students through discussing everything from mass transit systems and social behavior, to music and movies popular throughout pop culture.

“One of the most important lessons learned from Planning in Pop Culture was how to recognize and analyze when planning was being presented within pop culture. I have heard many of the songs played in class and never realized exactly what they were saying or really any idea that they were talking about planning at all,” said Danielle DeOrsey, 4th year landscape architecture student.  “I think that having this skill or even the desire to analyze the pop culture in which surrounds us every day would be very beneficial.”

Towards the end of the course a question was asked of the students, “What do you believe regarding community planning?” The students answered this question in the form of a passion essay, modeled after the “This I Believe” essays that are aired on the Bob Edwards Show and other NPR shows.

The idea spurred out of a brainstorming session Wigfall, Gibson and Nesse held. After discussing options and resources, the professors decided to have students take the essays and read them aloud on Wildcat 91.9, the K-State radio station.

Once the idea was formed, students in the class had the opportunity to shape the radio show. The finished product included the students’ readings, which were alternated with songs from class and conversation about the movies watched during the course.

“My favorite part of this project was the exposure to planning that it created. It was a chance to expose the public to the issues of planning that surround us everyday in our pop culture,” said DeOrsey.

To listen to the radio show, click here.


1. Aaron Johnson, student co-host of Planning in Pop Culture: The Radio Special, introduces the show. Aaron and Mitch Koop, both graduates in architecture, programmed the radio show and formatted the music files for Jared Clark.  Photo by La Barbara James Wigfall
2. Jennifer Edgar, program director and senior in mass communication, sets voice levels in the Wildcat 91.9 recording studio for Glen Jarrett, 4th year student in landscape architecture. Each student was mike checked by either Jennifer Edgar or Jared Clark, radio show producer and junior in mass communication, before recording the show. Photo by La Barbara James Wigfall
3. Nicolas Olson, 3rd year student in regional and community planning; Danielle Deorsey, 4th year student in landscape architecture; and Rebekah Chmura, 4th year student in architecture; review their planning essays while waiting for their mike checks. Photo by La Barbara James Wigfall