A "Giant" Launch for UKR2

The “sky’s the limit” for Urban Knights Radio with the addition of the new sports talk station, UKR2

It’s been two and a half years since Academy of Art University’s School of Multimedia Communications launched, and 1.4 million listens on iHeartRadio and the station’s own website later, they have now created a new all sports and talk station called UKR2.

“UKR2, Urban Knights Radio sports [and talk], brand new to make sure that we cover all the sports at Academy of Art University,” Director of the School of Multimedia Communications Jan Yanehiro said. “You know, we’ve got basketball, men and women’s; we’ve got volleyball, softball, tennis. We want to make sure that we cover all those sports live, 24/7. Then we’ll repeat those games, so everybody can hear them wherever they are around the world.”

“We’re really excited to add UKR2 to the already stellar list of shows we have [on our] stations,” UKR Program Director and COM student Casey Franco said. “We’re excited to get started on sports talk … adding it to the eclectic vibe around the station that we already have. The students are really excited. I’m really excited. The sky’s the limit at this point.”

UKR2 is already up and running with live broadcast coverage of ART U basketball and baseball games and the plan is to have every sport in the athletics program covered on-air by next year. In addition to the live broadcasts, UKR2 is currently running talk shows hosted by Academy students. “One of the most entertaining shows that we have on UKR2 is hosted by [Connor Smith], who was kind enough to bring these trophies,” said UKR General Manager and COM instructor Matty Staudt.

Trophies? The San Francisco Giants World Championship trophies, to be exact.

On Thursday, Feb. 26, Academy student Connor Smith, who works with the San Francisco Giants Community Fund, made a stop on his way back from Fresno during the current World Champions Trophy Tour to the Academy’s radio station with the 2010, 2012 and 2014 trophies to promote UKR2. Smith started volunteering with the non-profit community fund a couple of years ago. “Every opportunity to volunteer I took, and it’s kind of led me down the path of an internship and this job. I’ve gotten kind of lucky,” said Smith, a second-year COM student. “My actual internship was wrapping up towards the end of the this season, and when they won the championship, they asked if I would like to do this part of the job. Absolutely. Why not?”


The San Francisco Giants 2014 World Championship trophy. Photo by Bob Toy.

Academy students and staff filled the radio station, located in the 79 New Montgomery building, for an opportunity to get a photo with the Tiffany & Co. silver and gold-plated trophies during their brief campus visit. “It’s really amazing having the trophies here,” Franco said. “We’re really excited. It’s an amazing opportunity that I don’t think a lot of people would get.”

Smith hosts The Connor Smith Show on UKR2, which he described as “a little bit of comedy and a little bit of music.” His show also covers ART U athletics. Right now, he’ll be on most of the Trophy Tour, making 40 stops over three months. “It’s awesome to see the fans come out and show their spirit in the smallest towns you could think of,” Smith said. “Yesterday, it was Porterville and there [were] 1,000 people that showed up decked out in black and orange. It’s pretty cool to see.”

Along with UKR2, is looking to spotlight live music once again this semester. “We’re starting up the Tuesday Tunes program again,” Franco shared, “so you can expect a lot of live music and a lot of cool new things coming from Urban Knights Radio in the next couple of months.” is looking for Academy students to help design a logo for the UKR2 website, which will be used to promote the sports and talk station throughout the university. Please submit your designs to:


022615_15 staff with the San Francisco Giants World Championship trophies from 2010, 2012 and 2014. (L–R) Connor Smith, Robbie Sarmiento, Kyomi Mitsuda, Nate Gercken, UKR General Manager and COM instructor Matty Staudt, Ricardo Ayer and Casey Franco. Photo by Bob Toy.


The School of Multimedia Communications’ Sports Reporting class with the San Francisco Giants World Championship trophies from 2010, 2012 and 2014. (L–R) Giancarlo Bautista, Connor Smith, Cody Edmunds, Joey Marchini, Nate Gercken, Josh Lopez, Robbie Sarmiento, Sidney Nickles, FOX TV sports anchor and COM instructor Joe Fonzi, Daniel Skinner, Shampayne Clay, Yoshi Uemura and Zayanya de Alwis. Photo by Bob Toy.


ART U baseball team with the San Francisco Giants Championship trophies from 2010, 2012 and 2014. (L-R) Josh Lopez, Jacoby Barragan, Daniel Gutierrez, Cody Edmunds, Joey Marchini, Jacob Green, Brett Adami, Nate Gercken, Daniel Skinner, Yoshi Uemura and Daniel Robertson. Photo by Bob Toy.


Director of the School of Multimedia Communications Jan Yanehiro and COM student Connor Smith. Photo by Bob Toy.