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College Radio Watch: WSJ Reports on “Shift” in College Radio as Evidenced by WRAS Situation

This week the Wall Street Journal ran a piece about recent changes at Georgia State University’s college radio station WRAS-FM. As we’ve been reporting, the student-run station in Atlanta, Georgia was recently told that administrators had made a secret deal with Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB). As part of that arrangement, student voices are now only heard over WRAS-FM during the evening, while syndicated public radio programming airs over WRAS-FM during the daytime.

The Wall Street Journal piece compares the WRAS deal with outright station license sales at WRVU, KTRU, and KUSF. In each of those three cases, college radio stations with a wide range of music programming were sold to public radio groups that are now airing classical music programming over the former college radio frequencies. The article states, “College-radio fans say the deals threaten rock innovation and experimentation. Many fledging bands still get their start on college radio, where the lack of profit constraints allows the stations to experiment with music and expand listeners’ horizons…”

Speaking of WRAS, there was a pretty interesting turn of events this week. Athens rock band the Whigs was scheduled to do a live performance at GPB. When WRAS supporters found out, they approached the band and asked them to reconsider in light of GPB’s takeover of former student radio airtime. Creative Loafing reports,

When Save WRAS Facebook page founder Mikey Johnson learned of the performance last night, he posted a late-night call to action stating: ‘The Whigs are scheduled to play an in-studio performance tomorrow at GPB. We need YOUR help! Let their management know what GPB really does to independent music in Atlanta…’ Overnight, the Save Wras Facebook post kicked up a flurry of online activity, apparently enough to convince the band to call off the gig.”

My Beloved KFJC-FM Profiled on Commercial Radio Station KGO

I was pretty excited to find out that a San Francisco commercial radio station devoted some airtime to profiling the college radio station that I call home. Peter Finch, of San Francisco commercial radio station KGO, popped by Foothill College radio station KFJC-FM (where I volunteer and host a weekly show) recently and was so inspired that he decided to do a 2 minute profile for his Finch Files radio feature. How often does it happen that a commercial radio station hypes one of its non-commercial radio brethren? By the way, this past weekend, Peter Finch was voted into the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame.

College Radio’s Star Turn in New Film “Dear White People”

In other college radio news this week, Dan Reimold of College Media Matters alerts us to a new film (it hits theaters in October) that will feature college radio in a starring role. He dissects the trailer for the flick, “Dear White People.” According to Reimold, “It… features some campus press theatrics, including a student radio show called ‘Dear White People’ which riles up the student body and the school’s powers-that-be.” While there isn’t too much of the radio station shown in the trailer, I was surprised to see a reel-to-reel in the studio.

KMSC in Windowless Closet this Summer

Summer is often the time for construction projects on campus and sometimes that means that radio stations have to move to new quarters. KMSC-FM at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa is now broadcasting from a windowless closet, while awaiting renovations.

West Virginia University-Parkersburg to Launch new LPFM Station

Preparations are underway for a 2015 debut of a new student LPFM radio station at West Virginia University at Parkersburg. The Spirit of Jefferson reports, “The college will be introducing a new broadcasting class this fall specifically designed around radio broadcasting.” The new station, to be called WPKM, is being built in a journalism lab. It was in the first batch of LPFM stations granted construction permits earlier this year.

We report on college radio news every Friday in our College Radio Watch column.

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