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College Radio Day Survey Respondents Optimistic about Future of College Radio

WNYU (Photo: J. Waits)

WNYU (Photo: J. Waits)

A recent survey of college radio participants indicates that college radio DJs are still enthusiastic about the medium and believe that college radio has a bright future.

In the first online survey conducted by College Radio Day, most of the 134 U.S. college radio DJs surveyed indicated an appreciation for new music and a strong affinity for college radio. Most said that their stations play local artists and the majority also agreed that college radio alone can break new bands.

As one might expect from a survey of college radio DJs, the majority said that it’s important for them to seek out new and unheard music and that it’s also important for people in general to discover new music. Additionally, 84% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that “college radio plays music that you will not hear anywhere else.”

The majority (66%) agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “College radio has a bright future and respondents also indicated that college radio is still  a “tastemaker” and that college radio alone still has the power to break bands and influence music purchases. At the same time, DJs stated that they do not write bands off when they become successful. Although 44% agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “If commercial radio is playing a new artist, my station is less likely to/or won’t play them,” 56% disagreed or were neutral. Additionally, 75% disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement “If a band that college radio has championed becomes massively successful, I lose interest in it.”

I was also interested to see that there was no consensus about preferred media. While 40% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that DJs at their stations frequently played vinyl, 43% disagreed or strongly disagreed. As far as digital files vs. CDs, 57% agreed or strongly agreed (and 31% were neutral) when asked if their stations preferred to receive CDs when compared with digital files. The survey did not ask if stations had a preference for vinyl.

Rob Quicke, founder of College Radio Day, told me that the survey was conducted in October through December, 2012. It was sent by email to all stations that were registered participants in College Radio Day. Among the 134 respondents, 65 radio stations were represented. Although it’s difficult to project these results to college radio at large with such a small number of respondents, Quicke said that he hopes to conduct future surveys with even more participants. Some of the more interesting findings include:

  • 93% agree/strongly agree: “It’s important to me that people listen to college radio.”
  • 88% agree/strongly agree: “It’s important to me that people discover new music to listen to.”
  • 86% agree/strongly agree: “It is important to me to seek out new and unheard music.”
  • 84% agree/strongly agree: “College radio plays music that you will not hear anywhere else.”
  • 66% agree/strongly agree: “College radio has a bright future.”
  • 66% agree/strongly agree: “College radio has an obligation to play unsigned and non-mainstream artists.”
  • 62% agree/strongly agree: “College radio alone can break bands and make them successful.”
  • 60% agree/strongly agree: “I buy music because of my exposure to it on my college radio station.”

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