Those who make pronouncements about radio are always saying that it’s a personality-driven medium. I’m not so sure that I agree with that when it comes to non-commercial radio (especially college radio stations that are focused more on the music than on the DJs); but there’s no doubt that listeners are often drawn to and captivated by certain on-air personalities.
One such personality is Jesse Thorn (aka the host of The Sound of Young America, a syndicated public radio show) and he actually has a college radio past.
As I was writing up a news item about this for my Spinning Indie blog, I found a vintage 2006 article in which he outlines a list of the typical characters who one might encounter at a college/community radio station (no doubt inspired by his experience at college station KZSC where he first developed his radio show). According to Jesse these college/community radio archetypes are:
- Arrogant 19-year old
- Awareness Raiser
- Reggae Guys
- Aging Hippies (Friendly)
- Aging Hippies (Embittered)
- Student Station Manager
- Long-Suffering Faculty Member
- Aspiring Public Radio Producers
And, indeed, it’s all those crazy stereotypic personalities that make college and community radio great: both on the air and behind the scenes.