I've been reading a lot about college radio lately and a number of scholars have raised alarm bells about participation in industry charting signaling college radio's downfall. They argue that by reporting "tops" lists to industry publications, station Music Directors are become more professional (in a bad way) and less experimental. Some stations even decide much of their programming based on college radio charts, which in turn, makes for a more standardized, less eclectic airsound.
I just ran across an article profiling some college stations in South Dakota that references a station's relationship with CMJ (the longstanding college radio publication that many stations report "tops" lists to) and it states that because they report to CMJ they get free music in return (a main reason that many stations send their charts to CMJ). The article mentions "CMJ play time rules" as one of the regulations that station KAUR-FM at Augustana College must fulfill. I'd never known about rules from CMJ, so am intrigued about what that might mean. If you're at a station that reports to CMJ, let me know if there are programming rules that you must follow. Does CMJ send specific items to you that they want you to add or do you just get sent music from bands and labels? If you're a station that doesn't report to CMJ, is there a specific reason for that and are you intentionally making a statement about remaining independent from the music industry and charts?
KAUR does require that their DJs play 50% new releases during their shows, so perhaps the items reported to CMJ are from this category. Incidentally, KAUR looks like a pretty cool station that's devoted to underground, independent music and pushes its DJs to play music that they aren't familiar with. Their DJ manual even states a rule that DJs can't play anything that's been on Top 40 radio in the past 10 years or anything that could be heard on other radio stations in their city in South Dakota. Great policy!
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