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College Radio Watch: How Did College Radio Influence Your Career Path and More College Radio News

Working in college radio can influence one’s life in profound ways, even helping to shape one’s future career. Earlier this week I posted my Q&A with author Eric Weisbard. Although his new book, Top 40 Democracy: The Rival Mainstreams of American Music, focuses on mainstream radio formats, Weisbard also has a college radio past (at WPRB in Princeton, NJ). In our chat he talked a bit about how his time in college radio ended up influencing his future careers as both a music critic and an academic.

It seems obvious now that my writing can be directly linked to my time in college radio, but earlier in my career the connections weren’t as obvious on the surface. I remember interviewing for my first “real” job after college and my future boss was impressed by my college radio past. We spent much of the interview talking about college radio and music, even though the job (a research assistant at an advertising agency) was seemingly unrelated. Something about having a common passion for music connected us and I think that definitely played a part in me getting the job.

Speaking of college radio pasts…Last night I became intrigued about Stephen Colbert’s college radio days after seeing a tweet from Jezebel’s Managing Editor Erin Gloria Ryan. She wrote, “Final moments of Colbert Report are Neutral Milk Hotel. Twist: he was a college radio DJ from 1999 all along.” Curious about whether or not this could be true, I did some research and found out that Colbert was indeed a college radio DJ at Northwestern University’s student radio station WNUR-FM.

Researching Educational Radio

Also this week, Brian Fauteux writes about Brian Gregory’s work researching educational radio. It’s interesting to think about how radio has been used as an “instructional tool” across a wide variety of stations, including college radio stations.

Radio Drama for the Holidays

It’s the time of year when radio dramas are plentiful and folks from Richmond Civic Theatre and college radio station WECI are doing their rendition of A Christmas Carol over the Earlham College student/community radio station WECI-FM.

University of Maine’s Student Radio Station WUMM-FM Makes Deal with FCC after Violations Revealed

This week the FCC released an order detailing its Consent Decree with University of Maine. In the course of renewing its license, WUMM-FM admitted that the station’s public file was missing Issues and Programs lists from January 2009 to March 2013. Since the station was student-run at the time of the violations, it was given a break and only fined $1000. In addition to the penalty, the station also agreed to a compliance plan in an effort to prevent future violations.

R.I.P. L.J. Palardy

WRUV DJ L.J. Palardy died earlier this week. According to an article posted on Seven Day, he was a “longtime jazz DJ at University of Vermont radio station WRUV 90.1 FM and a fixture in the local jazz community” who “was known and admired in equal measures for his prickly exterior and his love for and knowledge of jazz.”

WRBB’s Oasis Loop

It’s nice to know that the local media are listening to college radio. Vanyaland, a Boston-based music magazine, made note of some strangeness over the Northeastern University radio station WRBB (which I visited this summer). Vanyaland wrote, “We’re not really sure WTF is going on here, but apparently Northeastern University’s radio station, Radio Back Bay WRBB 104.9 FM in Boston, has been playing Oasis’ ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ on a loop for the past few hours…Is this a protest? A glitch in the system? Or just some good old fashioned love for Oasis? We may never know, so let’s just enjoy the ride.”

Ryerson University Station to Return to Terrestrial Radio

After losing its FM license for CKLN-FM back in 2011 (in a pretty serious move, the CRTC revoked it) Ryerson University went online-only with its new campus-community station the Scope. Now it’s expected to return to terrestrial radio in Toronto, Canada after being granted a new AM radio license. It plans to begin broadcasts over 1280 AM in January 2016.

WMUA’s Music Director Talks to CMJ about How the Station Engages with the Campus

University of Massachusetts, Amherst station WMUA-FM has been undertaking some interesting projects this year in order to engage more with its campus. Music Director Chloe Doyle gave CMJ the scoop about two recent events, including a vinyl sale and a mix tape giveaway. She told CMJ, “Spearheaded by myself and WMUA’s general manager, we put together two versions of a physical mixtape with individual hand-drawn album art and personalized messages. After tabling in the Campus Center for a couple of days, we were able to distribute stacks upon stacks of these custom mixtapes to the student body!”

College Radio Watch appears every Friday on Radio Survivor.


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One Response to College Radio Watch: How Did College Radio Influence Your Career Path and More College Radio News

  1. Bob Davidson December 25, 2014 at 1:30 pm #

    College radio directly influenced my career path – in fact, college radio was responsible for my first career and led indirectly to my second and third careers.

    I had always been interested in radio, as a listener of shortwave broadcasts, and as an amateur radio and citizens’ band radio operator. I loved to tinker with electronics. The fact that a student-run radio station was available on campus greatly influenced my selection of my college. On my second day on campus, I walked through the doors of the station’s studios. I had entered a whole new world. It was akin to Alice walking through the looking glass! Little did I realize that simple act would change my life.

    I soon was trained on the board and encouraged to earn my FCC Third Class Radiotelephone Permit. Shortly after I learned the board I was doing record shows. During my first school winter vacation I passed the exam for my “third phone.” In time I was preparing and airing radio newscasts, doing sports and learning production. I put my electronics knowledge to work by learning equipment maintenance and was eventually appointed Chief Engineer. I had collected enough training and experience to be hired into an entry-level commercial radio position after my second year in college. After I graduated the same station hired me full time as a board operator, talk show screener and talk show host. I parlayed my college radio experience into a nineteen year radio career, primarily in radio news. During that period I achieved recognition for outstanding journalism.

    As a youngster I had a keen interest in aviation. While in college radio I was befriended by a fellow disk jockey who also happened to be a private pilot. One day we began discussing flying. That led to the jock taking me flying in a light airplane. He turned over the controls to me and the aviation bug bit! I decided one day I would learn to fly. I did – about eleven years later. As I continued to upgrade my training there was news of a pilot shortage. An associate and a long time friend had become regional airline pilots. I thought if they could so could I. I completed my training and was eventually hired in aviation as a pilot and flight instructor. Clearly, my college radio encounter with the DJ-pilot led to my aviation career.

    As a radio newsperson I had covered court. I had always been interested in law and was impressed by the attorneys I encountered. Radio news developed my writing skills, along with honing my interviewing, public contact and analytical skills. It became logical that my skills would lend themselves to a legal career. I opted for law, as a paralegal. Had I never stepped through the doors of my college radio station and learned the rudiments of radio news I would have never been able to rub shoulders with attorneys, and court personnel, or write and report about law.

    Without a doubt, working college radio influenced my life in profound ways. It directly shaped one of my careers, and indirectly shaped two more. Even more importantly, college radio led to friendships that have endured for forty-five years. I owe a lot to college radio.

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