Thursday, May 1, 2008

Vermont's WGDR-FM No Longer "Just a College Radio Station"

After 35 years on the air, WGDR-91.1FM at Goddard College (Plainfield, Vermont) is celebrating and fundraising. There's a really cool article about their history in the Montpelier Bridge, which includes vintage station photos, images of old program schedules, and profiles of various DJs.

According to an article yesterday in the Times Argus:

"WGDR has undergone a metamorphosis since the days when students 'would bring a milk crate of vinyl' to play, [Station General Manager Greg] Hooker said. 'It's not longer just a college radio station.'

The station's transformation came about in 2002 when Goddard College replaced its undergraduate residency program with the low-residency model it had pioneered decades earlier. That meant the station could no longer rely on students for its programming. Increasingly, it turned to members of the community. While the college still holds the station's license, more than 60 community volunteers contribute music and public affairs programming to each week's broadcast."

What do you think, does the presence of community members on a station staff make it not "just a college radio station?" What does that mean? Is it a bad thing to be "just a college station?" Certainly having community members on staff leads to consistency and often stellar long-time programming at stations, often just what stations need in order to stay afloat into the future. Yet I also think that stations with very few college student staff are missing something as well.

1 comment:

nick said...

agreed, jennifer. as dickie wallace wrote in the article you blogged a few weeks back, this kind of hybrid station brings tensions into play, but also valuable opportunities for town-gown relations. the important part might be keeping the station on students' radar by any means necessary, or else they'll believe it's not for them. which is the saddest outcome of all.