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College Radio Watch: College Radio Covers Protests, Seeking College Radio History, and More News

Last week I wrote about the fun collection of vintage college radio playlists that I came across from the 1970s and 1980s. That post prompted some interesting responses from former college radio DJs and current college radio programmers, sharing some of their tales and also word that other playlist collections are out there. This week I also took a look at some similar college radio surveys that were featured in IBS’ Journal of College Radio. In the issues that I perused from 1970 to 1972, the “Music Industry Department” section included lists of singles, albums, and breakouts, as well as record reviews and a music industry column.

College Radio’s Protest Coverage from the 1960s

Earlier this week, I delved a bit into college radio’s role in covering protests during the 1960s and 1970s. In response to that post, I heard from several folks, who pointed me to additional collections and audio from college radio stations reporting on protests. Those resources include:

1968: Columbia in Crisis coverage from college radio station WKCR

NPR Story on the 1968 Columbia Protests

1969: College Radio Station WDBS’ Recordings of the Allen Building Takeover at Duke University

1969: STRIKE: Confrontation at Harvard LP Featuring News Reports from College Radio Station WHRB

1960s/1970s Recordings Made by KZSU Chronicling Political Activity on Campus – Stanford Tape Collection

KZSU Recordings in Stanford Speech Collection, including sit-ins and strikes from 1968-1970

Calling all College Radio Historians! Tell Us About Your Archives

Since I’m luckily not the only person fascinated by college radio history, I wanted to make another pitch for the Library of Congress’ Radio Preservation Task Force. I’m one of the Research Associates working on this project and my main goal is to help collect a list of college radio collections. If you have a collection of historical materials (recordings, playlists, program guides, photos, scripts, etc.) at your college radio station, on your college campus, or elsewhere and would like to be listed as a affiliate archive or collection, please let me know and I can get you signed up.

College radio history can be really hard to track down and materials housed at college radio stations are often in danger of getting tossed in a dumpster with changing station personnel and campus moves. It’s my hope that affiliation with the Radio Preservation Task Force will lend some much needed credibility to these important collections.

College Radio History also Reveals the Joy of College Radio

Speaking of college radio history, my piece for Interactions: Studies in Communication & Culture on the 90+ year history of radio at Haverford College (read my summary of the entire issue here) sparked an interesting response from fellow Haverford College alum and All Access scribe Perry Michael Simon. Writing for a largely commercial radio/industry audience, Simon points out that many of us got into college radio simply for the fun of it, rather than out of a desire to be trained in radio. He writes,

I went to a small college in Pennsylvania which managed to have one of the very first licensed college radio stations and to then give it up, replacing it with the on-again off-again carrier-current shambles that, at one point, let me play around in a purple-painted cafeteria basement with cart machines and turntables and pretend to do real radio… There weren’t any real advisors, there was nobody to teach me anything… I just flipped some switches, dialed up some pots (yep, hand-me-down old-school board), opened the mic, and made a lot of mistakes, all for the benefit of the handful of people who might have strayed into the campus Dining Center after hours, because other than being streamed over half of the cafeteria tables (the other half was the “quiet side”), nobody could hear anything I was doing. Our carrier-current system couldn’t reach the dorms very well, and there were no open FM frequencies, or so we thought at the time, left in Philadelphia.

Remembering those days of learning by doing, I thought about why I got into radio in the first place, and why merely offering to teach young people how to do radio might be jumping the gun. Like many of you, I got the bug by listening. I listened to the radio and I heard the DJs cracking jokes and sounding big and having fun and I thought, you know, that would be cool, doing that and being heard all over the place by people you don’t even know. And when I got to college, I made a bee-line for the radio station, because I wanted to have fun like that. I knew I’d have to learn how to do stuff, but the primary attraction was the end product: fun.”

I couldn’t agree more…

Nearly 40 Year Old KJHK Stays Current with its In-Studio Video Series

College Broadcasters Inc. (CBI) regularly profiles student media outlets on its blog and the latest spotlight is on University of Kansas’ student radio station KJHK in Lawrence, Kansas. Celebrating its 40th anniversary this fall, KJHK has a particularly impression in-studio series.  Station Manager Matt Primovic told CBI,

We…have a robust multimedia department, the most noticeable facet of which is our live in-studio performance show ‘Live @ KJHK.’ The station brings at least one (often more) band per week in to the studio to perform live on air, or to pre-record for future broadcast. All of our in-studio performance get audio and video post-production so that our videos are as high quality as possible. Our YouTube page is at nearly 400,000 views (doubled from this time last year), and up over 1000 subscribers.”

WHUS’ MD and GM Rhapsodize about College Radio as Graduation Looms

A few weeks back, WHUS was the focus of CMJ’s station Q&A. The University of Connecticut station. Outgoing Music Director Trevor Morrison is about to graduate and reflecting on leaving college radio, he says, “Another thing I’ll sorely miss is that I won’t be directly introducing people to bands they might enjoy as often as before. One of my truest delights of being music director was when I would get feedback from a DJ about a record that they really liked. That’s when I know that I’ve succeeded in being music director, when people are discovering new things and I’ve brought joy to them through that discovery and through them playing it on their show.”

KFJC’s 35th Annual Month of Mayhem: From Bluegrass to Psych to Sun Ra

I’m a long-time DJ and volunteer at Foothill College’s radio station KFJC-FM and one of my very first shows there was a Mayhem special about kid-produced rock music. It was lots of fun, but also nerve-wracking, as KFJC sets a high bar for its specials. I’ve always been impressed by the DJs who spend months preparing specials by not only doing extensive research, but also by securing interviews. This year the month of May is full of specials about record labels, artists, music genres, scenes, and even about pop culture stalwarts like Star Wars. The full KFJC Mayhem schedule can be viewed on the KFJC website. Also, broadcast archives are available for two weeks in case you missed a special that you were hoping to catch.


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