As I was writing this week’s MASSIVE College Radio Watch (I’m catching up on several weeks worth of news), I saw a post from XMU DJ Jenny Eliscu that read, “Sadly, yes, @SIRIUSXM’s Classic College Radio channel is only alive for another week. Enjoy it before it’s
#RIP.” SiriusXM will still continue programming its other college radio-themed station SiriusXMU, which focuses on “new indie rock.” XMU gets some special kudos from me because it used to also have a show called the “Student Exchange,” in which different college radio stations provided content for a weekly feature.
Admittedly, I haven’t listened to the Classic College Radio channel (since I mostly listen to actual college radio), but it sounds like the station (channel 319 for those of you with satellite radio) was a favorite of my age-mates for its emphasis on early indie rock. The station’s website states, “The roots of indie rock started on college campuses across North America. SiriusXM brings the spirit and the passion of those early days of indie rock with Classic College Radio! Hear Sonic Youth, The Replacements, The Pixies, R.E.M., Bjork, Guided by Voices and more.”
Centenary College Radio Station to be Sold to University of Pennsylvania
Earlier this week we learned that University of Pennsylvania plans to purchase the FM license for Centenary College’s radio station WNTI and will use it for broadcasts of WXPN programming. On the Radio Survivor Podcast, we talk more about the situation at WNTI and also share some tips for stations that might be worried about losing their licenses (tune in to the College Radio Watch segment at about 52 minutes in). Also on this week’s episode, podcaster Chauncey De Vega reveals some tidbits from his college radio past (at around the 16:50 mark).
Cymbal Inviting College Radio DJs to its Music Discovery App
I can’t wait to try out the Cymbal app (after I get around the updating my phone’s IOS!), as it combines two of my favorite things: music discovery and college radio. Described as sort of an Instagram for music, the app is creating a college radio specific section in a nod to the importance of college radio DJs. An Oakland Post article gets the skinny on the app’s new college radio section from Cymbal’s Head of Growth Charlie Kaplan. Kaplan tells the Oakland Post,
“Most of the Cymbal team had radio shows in college, and we loved them. But college radio stations face a common problem: It’s hard to get people to listen. This is odd, because college radio has long been the place where alternative and emerging music has found it’s first home…
People both seem to care a lot about what college radio is doing, and yet don’t listen. Considering that 4/5ths of Cymbal were college students as of May, this seemed like a pretty immediate problem. It also seemed like a very obvious way find the right users for Cymbal. Here’s what I mean: We want to be the world’s best community for music lovers, and college radio stations have already done the hard work of finding them. So by featuring college stations we’re not just exposing where all that cool music is coming from, we’re also making DJs and stations be some of the most important voices in a community that cares what they have to play.”
Oh, this takes me back to my days at Uplister in the pre-iTunes world. We built a music discovery app based around the idea of human curated playlists and part of Uplister’s marketing plan included recruiting college radio DJs. In fact, that’s a lot of what I loved about Uplister was interacting with a great mix of college radio DJs from all over the United States. Cymbal has the right idea in engaging with the intensively music-focused college radio DJ crowd.
CMJ Announces College Day Winners + New CMJ Radio Show
I was sad to miss the CMJ Music Marathon in New York City this week, but there are plenty of updates from this year’s College Day. Winners for CMJ’s annual College Radio Awards were announced and the big winner is West Virginia University’s college radio station WWVU in Morgantown, West Virginia, which won Station of the Year, Music Director of the Year, and Specialty Music Director of the Year. Other winners include WXIN (Rhode Island College) for Biggest Champion of the Local Scene, WFMU for Most Creative (although it isn’t a college radio station anymore), WMUA (University of Massachusetts, Amherst) for Small Station, Big Ideas, WVAU (American University, Washington, D.C.) for Best Student-Run, Internet-Only Station, and KWCW (Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA) for Biggest Improvement.
CMJ also announced this week that it will be launching, The CMJ Show, a weekly hour-long radio show that will highlight music and artists related to CMJ charts. The first three episodes will focus on this year’s CMJ Music Marathon and the history and future of CMJ. You can listen to a teaser here.
CBI and NextRadio Announce Winners of College Radio Spot Contest
This summer we wrote about (and discussed on Radio Survivor Podcast #12) the CBI/NextRadio competition that invited college students to create commercials promoting the NextRadio app (which facilitates the use of FM chips in smartphones). Well, the winners have been announced, with first place going to Thomas Baker III from Lincoln College (Lincoln, Illinois). His spot, Data Pigs, is already being featured in NextRadio’s current national campaign. The 2nd place winner, Tayler Shaindlin, hails from Central Washington University (Ellensburg, Washington) and the third place winner, Ryan Flannery, attends Seton Hall University (South Orange, New Jersey). You can listen to the winning spots here.
KEXP Launches Under the Needle: the KEXP Sessions over 30 Stations
Back in June, we reported on KEXP’s forthcoming syndicated music series on both Radio Survivor and on Radio Survivor Podcast #3 and now it has officially launched at around 30 college and community radio stations. The weekly show will feature live performances recorded at KEXP’s Seattle studio. According to a statement from KEXP, the series launched, “with a performance by Courtney Barnett, followed by Mac DeMarco and FKA Twigs…Upcoming artists include Young Fathers, Algiers, Purity Ring, Parquet Courts, Built to Spill and The War on Drugs.” Some of the participating college radio stations include WLUW (Loyola University Chicago), WMCN (Macalester College), WMSE (Milwaukee School of Engineering), KUSF.org (University of San Francisco), and KAOS (Evergreen State College). Additionally, a number of community radio stations have signed up to carry the series, including KWMR in California.
College Radio History: Did WNYU Show Herald New Era for Music Promotion in 1980?
This week a WFMU DJ hosted a retro-style radio show, drawing inspiration from his 1980s college radio show on WNYU. While promoting the 2015 show full of punk, new wave, and power pop music, he passed along an article from last year that speculates that a specific WNYU show was hugely influential to college radio and the music business. Tim Sommer argued in his Brooklyn Bugle piece that, “…around the early-ish 1980s, college rock/indie rock seems to have become a more-or-less recognizable and consistent concept.” He suggests that WNYU’s decision to focus on new, non-mainstream, non-commercial radio-programmed music starting in 1980 was a critical moment, saying that the head of WNYU at the time, Sal Locurto, deserves credit for this shift.
Sommer writes, “The traditional college radio station had zero consistency. Sal changed that, and changed the definition of college rock dramatically, turning WNYU’s core afternoon programming block into an outlet exclusively for new music. Secondly, Sal passed down the edict that although the music might be highly unconventionally, the mode of delivery wouldn’t be: DJs were to back-announce (i.e., say the name of the songs played and identify the station) after every second song, no exceptions, and DJ segments were to be taut and informative, as opposed to the bong-laced indulgent blabbering heard on other college stations.”
Additionally, Sommer says that, “Sal was literally the first person to create a radio outlet solely for independent and import-only music that was strong and consistent enough to be used as a promotional tool.”
I think it would take a lot more historical work to determine if WNYU was the driving force behind college radio championing independent music, especially since I’d speculate that this trend was probably happening in parallel all over the country at various other college radio outlets (big city stations like KUSF come to mind). Comments to the article also indicate that other college radio stations in New York City probably influenced WNYU as well, including WVHC at Hofstra University (now WRHU). Speaking of which, take a look at this silent film footage from WVHC circa 1974.
Seven New College Radio Stations Launch
Sweet Briar College Launches New LPFM
I was beyond thrilled to hear that Sweet Briar College in Virginia has survived another year (after is was initially announced in March that the college would be closing this Spring), especially since I knew that the school had a new LPFM radio station in the works and I was concerned about its future if the college went under. The News & Advance reports that, “The Briar, Sweet Briar College’s new radio station, is up and running at 92.7 FM and opening the airwaves to the Amherst, Nelson and Lynchburg communities with a palette of music, talk shows and community events.” Read more about the history of the station here.
Merrimack College Radio Station WMCK Launches
The Beacon is reporting that Merrimack College (North Andover, Massachusetts) has launched its new student radio station WMCK. According to the piece, “The radio station at Merrimack College is officially on the airwaves. The long time project to get a radio station on campus started about two years ago as a total student effort. The project took off last year as graduate Lisa Vasallo worked closely with Dr. Jake Turner, making the future radio station her senior capstone project.”
Texas A&M Launches HD Commercial College Radio Station
A rare commercial college radio station, Fusion FM, launched at Texas A&M. According to Texas A&M Today, the station “…is a partnership between Bryan Broadcasting and the agricultural communications and journalism program in the department of agricultural leadership, education, and communications.” Unique in that it’s in partnership with a corporate radio broadcaster, the station will be run by students, with “final oversight” from Bryan Broadcasting.
University of British Columbia Okanagan Launches Student Radio Station Heatwave Radio
According to InfoNews, student-run Internet radio station Heatwave Radio is a new addition to the University of British Columbia Okanagan campus. The piece states that, “Heatwave currently features two talk shows and ten music shows,” including programs about movies and video games, philosophy, as well as music shows across a range of genres.
LPFM Radio Station KWDC Launches at San Joaquin Delta College
Although its studio will also be open to members of the Stockton, California community, students are definitely an important part of the schedule at new low power FM college radio station KWDC at San Joaquin Delta College, writes RecordNet.
University of Oklahoma Station to Move to LPFM
Concord University Celebrates its New LPFM, WVCU-LP
Bluefield Daily Telegraph News reports on Concord University’s new LPFM WVCU in Athens, West Virginia, writing that, “The university received its license to operate a low-power FM transmitter last year. WVCU began broadcasting at a frequency of 97.7 on May 1 from its studio on the library’s bottom floor.”
Other College Radio News
CBI and SoundExchange Reach Agreement over Copyright Royalties
Radio World reports that, “The Copyright Royalty Board has published the agreement between College Broadcasters Inc. and SoundExchange concerning royalties for student radio station webstreaming.” Read more on the CBI website.
Community Radio Station Reaching out to Local Colleges to Attract DJs
Bakersfield’s community radio station KSVG Savage Radio has a largely underground/specialty music focus and it’s now trying to attract potential DJs from nearby colleges, according to an article in the Runner.
WMSC on the Air for 50 Hours Straight of Live Broadcasting
The Montclarion reports that college radio station WMSC at Montclair State University in New Jersey had an unusual couple of days of live broadcasting, as it covered both College Radio Day and homecoming festivities in back-to-back broadcasts totaling 50 hours. According to the article, “…the 30-hour coverage of College Radio Day quickly turned into the station’s 24-hour coverage of Homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 3. This is the longest straight broadcast time that anyone currently working at WMSC can remember.”
Coming from a station that is on the air with live broadcasts 24/7, it’s hard for me to relate, although doing 50 hours of special programming like this is a bit more labor-intensive, so kudos to WMSC!
WESS Adds Podcasts of Programs for 2 Weeks
East Stroudsburg University’s radio station WESS has just started to make podcasts available of its programming for two weeks following the original airdates. According to Pocono Record the programming archives can be found on the RadioFreeAmerica website.
College Radio Day Coverage
A lot of stations got press coverage surrounding College Radio Day festivities this year. A local TV station even stopped by Wilkes University station WCLH. The Observer writes about The ‘Burg’s plans for a night time glow parade and party in Ellensburg, Washington, the Signal reports on California State University, Stanislaus station KCSS’ College Radio Day festivities, the Sandspur gives the low down on WPRK at Rollins College (Winter Park, Florida), and Gannon University (Erie, Pennsylvania) writes of WERG’s role in the College Radio Day simulcast. Other articles cover happenings at KTXT, WMUL, WUTK, WRST, and WVUR. One of the intriguing events to me was the planned pop-up record store hosted by WDCV at Dickinson College.
Lancer Radio Thriving at Pasadena City College
A profile in Pasadena Star-News reports that radio is alive and well at Lancer Radio, where, “…after five years of grant writing, the college radio station has moved into a new space and has updated equipment to ensure students get a great start in a career in radio.” See a video tour of the studios on YouTube.
Student Radio Awards Nominees Announced in UK
UK-based University of York Radio is in the running for six Student Radio Awards according to Nouse. Another station, Demon FM at De Montfort University Leicester is in the running for 4 awards. The competition, put on by the Student Radio Association, is in its 20th year.