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CDs at college radio station KWVA. Photo: J. Waits

College Radio Watch: Another Best College Radio Station List, College Radio Day Plans Revealed, Plus More News

I’ve really been enjoying doing the Radio Survivor Podcast for the past few months. This week I discuss the news that the old KTRU FM frequency in Houston is up for sale again. Plus, I share more thoughts about the death of media advocate Dan Reimold. I hope you are tuning in every week to the podcast. As a “thank you” to our Patreon supporters who are donating at least $5 a month, we’ve started to provide edited versions of just my college radio segments on our Patreon site. Additionally, last week our Patreon supporters were treated to a preview of my College Radio Watch segment before the podcast was released.

Another “Best College Radio Station” List

After seeing a profile of college radio station WEIU on the Daily Eastern News, I was clued in to yet another “best college radio station” list. Back in July, Gear Patrol shared its picks for the “10 College Radio Stations that Rock.” The piece does provide some context and needed praise for college radio, but it also falls into the trap of listing well-known, professionally-run stations that have little-to-no student involvement alongside more student-oriented stations.

Gear Patrol writes, “Radio hasn’t died, and it’s not going anywhere today. From the education it provides to students, to having a knack for playing emerging artists and underground beats, college radio still thrives in the studio and on the airwaves. People trust college station DJs to play what’s fresh, not what’s marketed and corporate backed. These 10 stations — ranging from fully independent ones to blends of students and professionals — curate the new, unheard and upbeat.”

The list includes: KEXP (which is not owned by a college anymore!), KCRW (professionally-run public radio station at Santa Monica College) and KCSN (public radio station at Cal State Northridge), as well as the following college radio stations: WPTS (University of Pittsburgh), WKCR (Columbia University), WTBU (Boston University), WRHU (Hofstra University), WESU (Wesleyan University), WESS (East Stroudsburg University), and WEIU (Eastern Illinois University).

College Station Left Unfunded after Controversy in Student Government

It’s always a tricky thing when a college radio station’s funding is voted on every year by an ever-changing roster of student government representatives. The Banner Newspaper is reporting that the college radio station at the College of Staten Island was left unfunded along with other campus groups. According to the piece, “WSIA, the college’s student run radio station, has also been left unfunded. The station currently cannot purchase office supplies or go forward with a joint project with CSI to convert to fiber optics. The radio station will likely be unable to attend the CMJ convention, a trip taken by college radio station’s across the country.”

College Radio Day Announces Plans for 2015 Event

This week College Radio Day revealed details about its annual celebration of all things college radio. Tune in to the Radio Survivor Podcast next week to hear the full scoop, including details about its simulcast and 24-hour marathon. The 24-hour marathon will include programming from different college radio stations from all over the country and will start at midnight with the debut of KBLT-LP, the new low power FM (LPFM) college radio station at Rice University (also known as College Radio Day is Friday, October 2nd this year. And… I’m happy to report that I’ll be featured on the College Radio Day Simulcast, talking about the state of college radio.

CMJ Music Marathon Approaches – Will there be Other College Events as Well?

A piece in Billboard previews this year’s CMJ Music Marathon in New York (in mid-October) and also alludes to CMJ’s attempts to connect more with college radio (its original purpose when it launched). According to the article, “CMJ’s role as a fulcrum for the national community of college radio stations — it has relationships with 455 campuses — waned along with its relevance through the ’00s, when ownership changes and revenue troubles began to chip away at the volume of its voice.” From its interview with CMJ head Adam Klein, Billboard learned that, ” a summit of sorts is planned for the coming year that would bring together stations for a knowledge-sharing and talent-exploring event.” Hmmm. I’m definitely intrigued…

CBI Announces Finalists for its annual Student Production Awards

See the CBI website for a full list of finalists for its annual Student Production Awards. Winners will be announced live at the CBI convention in Minneapolis on Saturday, October 24.

Radio in Ithaca

Ithaca Times runs through the variety of radio options in Ithaca, New York, including college radio stations at Cornell University (WVBR) and Ithaca College (WICB)

University President to Host Radio Show on College Radio Station WKWC

It’s always a great idea to get university administrators to feel more connected to one’s college radio station. Kentucky Wesleyan University radio station WKWC launched a new talk show this week hosted by its university president Bart Darrell. According to the Messenger-Inquirer, “In a show called The President’s Place, Darrell will speak to invited guests from the area to discuss their roles within the community.”

KDVS DJ in News After Photo Controversy

Fox 40 reports that a complaint made by a former friend of a KDVS DJ led to discussion about the appropriateness of an image used to promote the DJ’s show on the University of California, Davis’ student-run radio station. Both the station’s general manager and officials at UC Davis state that they do not censor student media. Regardless of that policy, the DJ opted to remove the “historical photograph of 11 African Americans hanging from a tree.” The DJ told Fox 40 that, “The theme of the show I was promoting was that violence against blacks has been minimized in history, and it’s still ongoing.”

College Radio and the Great White Incident in 2003 writes about the high hopes that college radio station WNRC had about a planned interview with the band Great White in 2003. According to the piece, “The hosts of ‘Jim and Mickey’s Power Hour’ rock music show on the college radio station WNRC had landed an interview with heavy metal band Great White lead singer Jack Russell. The radio station manager had indicated that one way to get the FCC to agree to increase the station’s 14-watt transmission power was to ‘get WNRC on the map.'” The DJs interviewed Russell prior to the infamous Great White show at the Station Nightclub in Rhode Island during which 100 people died in a fire, including Russell. One of the DJs had written a book about the incident and is doing a signing event later this month.

The Power of Live Improvisation on College Radio

A friend shared with me a really great, short audio interview with experimental artist Vicki Bennett (People Like Us). In her 2014 interview with The Wire, she talks about “quite experimental radio shows” on American college radio and shares a tale about visiting Don Joyce from Negativland in 1998. Bennett used to call in to Joyce’s KPFA show and would “join in the mix,” contributing to his show. She also includes an anecdote about performing at my home station KFJC (Foothill College), doing a set where different performers were in different studios. The experience proved to be inspirational to her, helping her to realize the power of experimentation on radio as well as the possibilities of live improvisation and collaboration.

We cover the culture of college radio every Friday in our College Radio Watch feature. If you have college radio news to share, please drop us a note at EDITORS at RADIOSURVIVOR dot COM.

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