Today marks the first annual College Radio Day. More than 350 stations all over the United States and Canada have signed up to participate. The concept’s fairly simple, it’s a day when people are encouraged to tune in to college radio and the goal is increasing awareness of the amazing range of stations based at colleges and universities.
Participating stations don’t have to do much beyond airing a 15-minute documentary about college radio’s “past, present, and future.” However, many stations have taken the opportunity to create special programming and events to spread the word about not only their stations, but also college radio.
On KFJC (where I volunteer and DJ) yesterday there was a pre-College Radio Day discussion on “Thoughtline” about not only College Radio Day, but also the fight to save KUSF. You can hear the archive (mp3) of that show for the next 2 weeks. KZSU will be hosting a live remote from the center of their campus today and a free concert at Stanford University tonight. KUCR, which is celebrating its 45th anniversary at University of California, Riverside, will be airing special programming between 3 and 5pm today.
When I spoke with College Radio Day founder Rob Quicke back in June, he told me that the day was originally conceived as simply celebration of college radio; but that stance has changed a bit considering some of the college radio stations currently fighting for their licenses. In fact, College Radio Day’s blog today states:
“It’s time to raise awareness of the college and high school radio stations across North America. It’s time to start tuning in and fighting back against the corporate takeover of radio. It’s time to support creative programming and truly independent content and music you can’t find anywhere else. It’s time to start giving back to the stations that help break the bands you love…”
For me, every day is College Radio Day. I pretty much listen to college radio exclusively, I spend time every week volunteering at KFJC, and I think and write about college radio on a daily basis.
My hope is that on College Radio Day people not only check out the left side of the dial, but that they also start paying attention to the precarious state that college radio is in. I applaud the commitment and passion that supporters of college stations have put into fighting the sale of KTRU and the pending sales of WRVU and KUSF. For me, those individuals and those stations are the heroes of College Radio Day.
Here’s what I hope college radio supporters will do today:
1. Tune in to your favorite college radio station
2. Donate to your favorite college radio station
3. Tell your friends to listen to college radio today
4. Listen to a college station that you’ve never heard before (scan the dial of your terrestrial radio, sample a variety of college radio shows using a tool like Soundtap or its College Radio Map predecessor that lists the best freeform stations on a map of the U.S. and Canada, or look at some station options at my Spinning Indie 50 state tour project)
6. If you’re at a college radio station, make sure you don’t take your station for granted. Keep your eyes open and take steps to ensure your survival
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