It’s summertime in college radio, which means that many stations are working with skeleton crews or are off-the-air (or off-the-net) for a few months. This became all the more clear to me this week, as my attempts to visit a few Southern California college radio stations were thwarted due to post-graduation closures. For many stations, however, summer is business as usual, and I will have some future radio tour reports from stations that are on the air non-stop.
Speaking of my station tours, I just posted the recap of my visit to WCUA, the college radio station at the Catholic University of America. My 101st station tour report, it’s one of the handful of East Coast visits that took place during my February travels. More will be published soon. Anyone following these reports knows that I try to include as much station history as I can find and for that reason, I was really happy to see Fred Krock’s guest post this week about college radio at Stanford University station KZSU in the 1950s. The San Francisco Bay Area has a rich non-commercial radio tradition and college radio is a big part of that.
KFJC’s Live Remote Broadcasts from the Netherlands and Italy
Like last year, I am glued to my computer today, watching KFJC‘s live remote broadcast from the Eindhoven Psych Lab in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. This is the second year in a row that the station where I DJ and volunteer is broadcasting live from this event. The live broadcasts take place today and tomorrow (June 10 and June 11). From there, KFJC volunteers will be journeying to Italy to broadcast from yet another festival, the Surfer Joe Summer Festival in Livorno, Italy. Four days of surf music will take place from July 16 to July 19, with an international roster of bands. These two broadcasts will be KFJC’s 6th and 7th live broadcasts from oversees. The first was from England in 1996, followed by trips to New Zealand (2000), Japan (2008), Britain (2014), and Holland (2015).
CMJ’s College Radio Slowdown
Last fall, CMJ revealed some ambitious plans for the year, including regional college radio conferences (College Day on Tour) and a radio show about college radio called the CMJ Show (listen to a teaser here and hear the three episodes on CMJ’s MixCloud page). The company, which produces content about music culture, compiles weekly music charts from radio reporters and also puts on an annual conference/music festival, began as a trade magazine in the late 1970s and quickly became an important music industry conduit for college radio. In recent years college radio has been one piece of the company’s overall endeavors, which also address the community of independent musicians.
I was excited about CMJ’s increasing outreach to the college radio community in 2015 and eagerly attended the inaugural regional CMJ event, College Day on Tour, in Portland, Oregon in November. However, as the months went by and I heard no word about additional regional College Day on Tour events (one was supposed to be held in Chicago in April) and also saw a decrease in college radio-themed editorial; I started wondering if those plans were dashed. CMJ used to regularly publish college radio news, college radio station profiles, and other radio-themed features on its website; but that radio-oriented content dropped off in November. Additionally, all three members of the radio team (which was behind the regional College Day events and the radio show) have left CMJ within the past few months.
There’s no information on the CMJ website about a forthcoming CMJ Music Marathon, which normally happens in New York City in October. Typically by this point in the year there are announcements from CMJ about the dates of the festival, along with a call for applications from musicians who wish to perform. Currently the CMJ website only has information about the October 2015 marathon. Couple that with news this week that CMJ’s founders (who are no longer at CMJ) are planning a new conference/music festival, MONDO NYC, which will take place September 14-18 at New York University (the former home of the CMJ Music Marathon’s daytime panels and events) and I’m left with questions about the status of a 2016 CMJ Music Marathon.
Radio promoter Douglas Blake, co-owner of Pirate! Promotions has been speculating about the changes at CMJ on his blog and in a message to me said that, “There are some serious issues going on at CMJ with all of the main radio charting people quitting within the last 6 months. I know Marathon…is difficult to pull off [and] has to be even more difficult without people or resources.”
I’ve reached out to CMJ staff members and have yet to hear back, so it’s hard to know about the company’s future plans. I hope for the best. CMJ has been around throughout my college radio career. My first trip to New York City was for a CMJ conference in the 1980s when I was Music Director (MD) at my college radio station WHRC (Haverford College) and it was an incredible introduction to the city and to the broader college radio culture. In the past, I spent many hours compiling my station’s music charts for CMJ, not only during my MD years at WHRC, but also when I was Assistant MD at WBGU (Bowling Green State University) and as a volunteer at KFJC (Foothill College). Back when CMJ used to do a print publication, I used to get a thrill seeing my name in print alongside my station’s charts. It somehow made all of the late nights of playlist tallying worth it.
U.S. College Radio News
2016 Student Murrow Awards Announced (Radio World)
Spinning the Tales and Tracks of a College Radio DJ at WKDU (The Smart Set from Drexel University)
Alabaster Native Recreating Golden Age of Radio at WGTC (Shelby County Reporter)
East Mississippi Community College Radio Station Breaking New Ground with Radio Drama (Choctaw Plaindealer)
College Radio KWDC Station Goes Silent (Stockton Record)
USI Student Recognized as one of top Collegiate Sports Broadcasters in Country (University of Southern Indiana)
ComRadio General Manager Named to Radio Hall of Fame (Penn State University)
Radio Contact Exhibit at Harvard University (Harvard/The Special Exhibitions Gallery)
1924: Gettysburg College’s First Radio Station On Air for One Day (Gettysburg Times)
International College Radio News
MSU’s Official Sayaji FM Targets More Audience (The Indian Express)
Registration Open for Alternatives2016 Student Radio Conference in Finland (Alternatives2016)
Loyalist Broadcasting Students Receive National Award (Quinte News/Canada)
Student Radio was a Window on University Life (Stuff New Zealand)
DU Community Radio to Help Admission Seekers (the Statesman)
NUS Campus Radio Lands Global Radio Deal (National University of Samoa)
New Team Announced at Nerve Radio Awards Night (Bournemouth University)