Sunday, March 16, 2008

From Gaspipes to Websites: College Radio History Project at Brown

I'm enjoying reading about the history of college radio on various campuses and was impressed by the audio documentary project From Gaspipes to Websites, produced by students at Brown University in 2007 about the history of college radio there. The 60-minute documentary covers the years 1936 through 2006 and is broken down into shorter sections that can be downloaded for free.

On the website you can also view some amazing vintage college radio photos and there's an opportunity for alumni to share stories from stations WBRU and BSR.

BSR is in an interesting situation today as they only broadcast from 7pm-5am on WELH 88.1FM, whose airwaves they share with 3 other organizations. They're currently working on getting their own all-day license. According to BSR's website:

"BSR currently broadcasts on 88.1FM, WELH in Providence, RI. The signal is 150 watts at 100 ft AAT, and is owned by the Wheeler School in Providence. The tower itself lives in Seekonk, MA. BSR is on the air from 7PM-5AM, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We share the WELH airwaves with Spanish-language programming in the mornings (Exitos 88.1), the Wheeler School's jazz and soul music programming in the afternoons, and New England Tech's broadcasting school's programming on Sunday mornings. This all makes for a very different listening experience depending on when you turn your radio on.

BSR has been looking for a new home on the radio dial almost since it began broadcasting. We applied for a Low-Power FM (LPFM) license on 96.5FM in Providence in 2000 along with many other applicants. We are still working through that process. To read more about LPFM and why it's important for radio, check out the Prometheus Radio Project. We are also always exploring other possibilities for having our own 24-hour a day license."

Wow...that's a really complex broadcasting arrangement. I wish them luck getting their own license!

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