Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Graveyard Shift as College Radio Rite of Passage

When I read Jon Fine's piece this week in BusinessWeek, "Requiem for Old-Time Radio," I was struck that it was the second reference that I'd seen this week to the lonely college radio graveyard shift. He writes:

"I remember what we now call 'terrestrial radio' with ridiculous fondness. I recall huddling with it long past bedtime, the volume set low, hoping to hear something I loved. Thus the truism of how radio is the most intimate medium: You're in bed with the lights out, the music and the DJ's voice going straight into your brain, the images created are yours alone. I remember, with terrible pangs of longing, my first days as a college radio DJ. Doing a 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. slot in a small town in Ohio, even if, during those still and wintry nights, I could have been the last living person on earth for all the people who were actually listening."

Did most of you college DJs out there begin DJing in the wee hours of the night? The graveyard shift seems to have become an iconic rite of passage in college radio. Unfortunately (?) I kind of missed out on it because when I was an undergraduate we had such a hard time finding people to participate in the station that we weren't able to broadcast 24 hours a day. first shifts were during daylight hours. Like the middle-of-the-night first-timers, I still wondered if anyone was listening and often they weren't.

Feel free to share you graveyard shift tales in the comments.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I remember trudging across the quad at the University of Notre Dame in the cold Indiana winters to start my 4-6am early early morning shift at WVFI-AM (now online only) - a station that had such a weak signal it didn't even get picked up in every dorm on campus. I often would carry a stack of vinyl from my own collection and mix my playlist with the currents. It was great - nothing better than playing some great music (eighties alternative at the time) in the wee, dark hours of the morning even if I was the only one listening. Although I have to say I was pretty pumped when I graduated to the Friday afternoon 3-5pm shift. At that point, I actually had a small following on campus - friends who would laze around their dorm room listening to my show. Now that rocks.