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College Radio DJ Archetypes

Sign Outside College Radio Station KZSC

Sign Outside College Radio Station KZSC

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.


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One Response to College Radio DJ Archetypes

  1. Paul Riismandel June 22, 2009 at 9:29 pm #

    I’m afraid that I started out as “student station manager” (though I was actually a program director) and may be on track to be “long-suffering faculty member” (even though I’m the adviser, I’m not faculty).

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