Thursday, July 31, 2008

College Radio Love Letter - Chicago Style

Yesterday in the Illinois Entertainer there was a wonderful article praising the merits of college radio in Chicago. In "College Stations: Terrastrial (sic) Radio's Last Frontier," Cara Jepsen writes:

"Down at the left end of the dial, sprinkled among the non-commercial religious and public-radio stations, is where you’ll find the most subversive sounds on the radio.

That's the domain of college radio – where students and community DJs often play (and say) anything, and with its focus on the local and offbeat, college radio is a great place for local bands to get airplay."

Yes! Yes! Yes! Go College Radio! She goes on to profile a number of Chicago college radio options, including:

WLUW 88.7 FM (Loyola University)
WLUW is a "community" radio station whose programming may change as the station becomes more tightly controlled by the university. Read my May 2008 post "Chicago Station WLUW to Change from Community to Student-Run" for more details and links about the situation at the station.

CHIRP (Chicago Independent Radio Project)
CHIRP (spawned by the situation at WLUW) is working to secure a license for a new community radio station in Chicago and in the meantime will create a new web radio station.

WZRD 88.3 FM (Northeastern Illinois University)
Cara writes about the station where she used to DJ back in the 1980s:

"The format is all free-form, all the time...where different genres of music, spoken word, and sound effects are played side-by-side in a way that usually flows rather than jars. With a library of rare recordings that includes 15,000 records and another 15,000 CDs, cassettes, and reel-to-reels, there’s no telling what you’ll hear...

WZRD is also home to the longest-running live-music radio show in Chicago, 'Thursday Night Live,' which airs Thursdays around 10:30 p.m. and dates back to 1979."

WNUR 89.3 FM (Northwestern University)
According to Cara:

"Its major formats are indie rock, jazz, hip-hop, and world music. There’s also reggae, folk, blues, classical, Southeast Asian, and punk rock...The engaging and funny (yes, funny) public-affairs show 'This Is Hell' airs Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the live-music show 'Airplay' (Saturdays evenings from 5 to 7) has featured in-studio performances since 1988."

Be sure to look at the extensive history section of their website, featuring tons of information, photos, and artifacts from this station dating back to 1950.

WHPK 88.5 FM (University of Chicago)
Last month they were named "Best College Radio Station" by The Chicago Reader. Cara states that the 50+ year old station was " of the first radio stations in the country to play rap thanks to mid-'80s DJs J.P. Chill, Ken Wissoker, and Patrick Moxey, Jr."

WHPK's staff is made up of both students and community members. According to their website:

"WHPK’s membership of approximately 160 people includes about 100 graduate and undergraduate students; the remaining being primarily community residents from the greater South Side."

WDCB 90.9 FM (College Of DuPage)
Cara writes that WDCB is a:

"...professional, 5,000-watt public-radio station that focuses on jazz, folk, blues, reggae, and classical music...An unusual standout is Steve James' metal show, which features local talent and airs early Monday mornings from midnight to 5 a.m."

Cool. That's amazing that a 5-hour metal show exists on a station that primarily plays jazz.

Vermont's WBTN Sold to Community Group

In February I wrote about Southern Vermont College's decision to sell off their radio station WBTN 1370 AM. At the time it was unclear to whom the station would be sold and if it would remain locally-owned.

Today there's news in the Bennington Banner about the successful purchase of the station by a community group. According to the article "WBTN Celebrates Ownership Change":

"The station was recently purchased by Shires Media Partnership, a local nonprofit organization, for $100,000 from Southern Vermont College. College trustees decided in the fall they could no longer financially support the station creating an uproar of support from the community to keep the station's broadcasting local."

An article in the Rutland Herald back in May pointed out that students will still be involved with the station after its ownership change, stating:

"The radio station will still be used by Southern Vermont College students who are majoring in mass communications."

I'm sure we'll hear more in the coming months as WBTN makes its transition.

Ring Tones as the Latest Late Night College Radio Hit?

It's always fun to find references to college radio in odd places. Today's New York Times has an article about mobile phone allowances and its lead paragraph uses college radio as part of the punchline. In "Phone Smart: How to Give Your Child an Allowance, The Mobile Way," Bob Tedeschi writes:

"Nowhere is it written in stone that all teenagers must at some point run up their parents’ cellphone bills with 3,000 peak minutes, 5,000 text messages and enough new ring tones to fill the overnight slot on a college radio station."

Now that's some graveyard shift lore that I was not privy to. I can't say I've ever heard a ring tone-filled show, but I suppose the gauntlet has now been thrown down.

Spoken Word Show at WSUM in Madison

The Capital Times ran a nice story today about a college radio show at WSUM-FM (University of Wisconsin-Madison's "student-run community radio station") that focuses entirely on spoken word. According to the article "Student Station Allows Radio Host to Wax Poetic":

"The student-run station has its rock and its hip-hop, some heavy metal and some jazz. But once a week the station has poetry and spoken word in all its forms, some as contemporary as hip-hop music, some so avant-garde it seems to be nonsense...

[Paul Alan] Baker is the host of 'Wordsalad,' an hour that features authors reading from their own works. The program plays selections from familiar names like Allen Ginsburg and Gertrude Stein to more recent artists like Anti DiFranco and former Madison rapper El Guante."

The story goes on to give some insight into the programming philosophy of the weekly one-hour show that airs on Thursdays at 1pm:

"He alternates readings between male and female voices, with music in between as a 'palate-cleanser.' He tries to keep readings at 3-5 minutes, although some will go as long as 8 minutes. He tries to provide a balance between 'academic, cerebral poetry' and 'earthy, emotional poetry.' He's been playing more slam poetry lately, he says, in anticipation of the National Poetry Slam..."

You can learn more about the show and see playlists on Baker's Wordsalad blog.

Does your station play much spoken word? Although I don't know of any other shows focused entirely on spoken word, I'm always happy to hear spoken word mixed in during music shows too.

Vinyl Records at Best Buy?

It's pretty incredible that the massive music and electronics chain Best Buy is considering stocking vinyl records. According to Patrick Wall's The Playlist column in Columbia's Free Times:

"The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Best Buy is considering dipping its toe into the vinyl market. The big-box retailer — the nation's largest consumer-electronics store — has a pilot project in place that would stock an undisclosed number of stores with vinyl records. Obviously, Best Buy doesn't anticipate or need record sales to become a huge portion of its business, but many mom-and-pop record stores do, and Best Buy's doing what it can to drive consumers out of the record stores."

He makes an interesting point that by selling vinyl Best Buy could actually be hurting indie record stores.

Monday, July 28, 2008

KSLU Playlist from Yesterday's XMU "Student Exchange"

Image from KSLU Website

St. Louis University radio station KSLU made another appearance on satellite radio station XMU's "Student Exchange Program" yesterday.

Although KSLU is a cable and Internet-only station now, according to its website, " at Saint Louis University began in 1920 with the establishment of the first radio station west of the Mississippi River, WEW. WEW was a faculty-run, religious radio station. Then in 1949 the communications department established KBIL, a student-run station operating as a carrier current facility broadcasting to a small radius around campus...the call letters KSLU were established in 1983..."

Coming up next Sunday, August 3rd (4pm Eastern/1pm Pacific) on XMU's "Student Exchange" will be DJ Adam Dexter from American University station WVAU. If you want a preview of what he'll be playing on the show, take a look at Adam's writeup on Dexter's Lab.

Here's KSLU's playlist from yesterday's show on XMU:

KSLU - Saint Louis University
XMU "Student Exchange Program" Playlist
July 27, 2008

No Age–Ripped Jeans–Nouns
White Denim–Don’t Look That Way At It–Daytrotter Session
The Black Lips–Step Right Up–Good Bad Not Evil
Dark Meat–One More Trip–Universal Indians
Mika Miko–Where The Sidewalk Ends-666
Japanther–See Evil–Skuffed My Huffy
Clinic–The Witch–Do It!
The Pretty Things–Honey I Need–The Pretty Things
Black Mountain–Evil Ways–In The Future
The Blue & The Gray–Don’t Send Me No Flowers–Lost Souls Volume 1
The Black Hollies–Paisley Pattern Ground–Casting Shadows
The Kingsmen–Little Latin Lupe Lu–The Best Of The Kingsmen

The Talking Heads–And She Was–Stop Making Sense
Wolf Parade–California Dreamer–At Mount Zoomer
Pattern Is Movement–Right Away–All Together Now
Asobi Seksu–Pink Cloud Tracing Paper–Citrus
Celebration–Evergreen–The Modern Tribe
French Kicks–Over The World–Swimming
The M’s–Tryin’ To Keep My Feet In–Real Close Ones
Spiritualized–The Waves Crash In–Songs In A & E
Deer Tick–Ashamed–War Elephant

Maps & Atlases–Songs For Ghosts To Haunt To–Tree, Swallows, Houses
Ecstatic Sunchine–Beetle–Freckle Wars
Abe Vigoda–Dead City Waste Wilderness–Skeleton
Born Ruffians–I’m One Of Those Girls–Born Ruffians EP
Envelopes–Smoke In The Desert Eating The Sand Hiding In The Grass–Here Comes The Wind
Les Savy Fav–Hold Onto Your Genre–Inches
Parts & Labor–Fractured Skies–Mapmaker
So Many Dynamos–We Vibrate We Do–Flashlights
Man Man–Easy Eats Or Dirty Doctor Galapagos–Rabbit Habbits
Fire Engines–Meat Whiplash–Hungry Beat
My Morning Jacket–Highly Suspicious–Evil Urges

These are some massive sets of music, with only a few mic breaks. Do you play sets this long without back announcing at your station?

Come to think of it, does set length even matter on satellite radio since the playlist appears on the listener's tuner?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Humboldt State Radio Station Gears up for 50th Anniversary and Dodges Rumors

Humboldt State University (Arcata, California)'s public radio station KHSU is in the midst of a controversy in the wake of the resignation of its General Manager and rumors about programming changes. According to an article in the Times-Standard:

"Local public radio station KHSU will hold its monthly meeting [July 30th] in Humboldt State University's Kate Buchanan room Wednesday, rather than in its usual location in the Student and Business Services Building, a move that reflects community concern over the departure of the station's longtime General Manager Elizabeth Hans McCrone and the rumored cancellation of several popular programs..."

Plus, the station will celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2010 and they are already working to compile artifacts via a digital archive. According to Humboldt State Now:

"A sample of some of the historical recorded news content includes KHSU volunteer Michael Fennell’s 1984 live-on-the-spot CAMP report. Also added to the archives is a reel-to-reel audio of an interview with the late environmental activist Judi Bari. It was recorded in 1993, three years after the infamous car bomb attack Bari and passenger Darryl Cherney suffered in Oakland in May of 1990.

KHSU Volunteer Coordinator Beth Rogers is getting the word out to people who have been involved with the station over the years. 'We are hoping to reach out to former KHSU deejays, staff and volunteers through HSU alumni channels to encourage them to give us a paragraph or a short story on their days with the station, or memorabilia items that can be added to the archive,' Rogers said."

You can view the KHSU digital archive from the Humboldt Digital Scholar website and read more about their history on the KHSU website.

What is your station doing to preserve its history?

More Canadian Radio Drama

I just read some news about conflicts happening at Toronto, Canada's campus community radio station CKLN out of Ryerson University. This week the blog Take Back Our Radio Station published a statement from a group of members of the CKLN Board of Directors. According to the statement:

"In February, 2008, members voted to remove the non-student members of the Board of Directors and to dismiss the Station Manager and Program Director. This was done carefully and in accordance with CKLN’s By-laws. Subsequently, two community members, two volunteer members and a core staff member were elected to the Board, in accordance with the By-laws, in every respect.

The Board members and senior managers who were removed/dismissed have refused to leave and are taking actions they have no right to take. With a huge impact on CKLN."

Take Back Our Radio Station also includes links to media coverage about the situation at CKLN. Additionally, you can read more details in the CKLN website's news section.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Community Radio and iPhone Streams

The other day I mentioned all the buzz about the ability to listen to radio over the iPhone. I'd heard rumors about various indie stations who had this capability already and today I got word from the folks at young community radio station (as of May 2008) UtahFM that they have a specific iPhone Stream that can be heard without having to download any additional applications. According to their press release:

"Utah Free Media (UtahFM) is proud to be one of a handful of stations worldwide to stream audio directly to the Apple iPhone...UtahFM's product is unique for iPhone users since it doesn't require the user to download an application from Apple's App Store but instead utilizes the Quicktime software already built into the device. Mobile streams are available for the newer iPhone 3g as well as older models."

Community radio station WFMU-FM has also been offering live streaming and archived content on the iPhone since November 2007 and may have been the first radio station to do this.

Super cool for both stations. Can you think of other pioneering radio stations with simple iPhone streams?

Classic College Radio Airchecks Unearthed

Like many college radio DJs from another era, I have boxes and boxes of cassette tape airchecks gathering dust and mold. Some day I'll dig them out and decide what to do with them. In the meantime, I just found a few folks who have brought their old cassettes into the digital age so that all can hear that elusive college radio sound.

Thanks to the False 45th blog, I got turned on to The College of Musical Knowledge, where a former college radio DJ at WRUV-FM (University of Vermont) has uploaded many of his radio shows from his 18-year stint at the Burlington, Vermont station. The DJ (now a college professor) includes shows from the 1980s and 1990s and has detailed descriptions of them so that you can pick and choose according to whether or not you want to sample some punk, reggae, Brian Eno, Joy Division, The Residents, an hour of instrumentals, or just an eclectic mix.

If this isn't enough for you, another ex-DJ just posted a 1995 aircheck from a morning show on the Freed-Hardeman University radio station WFHC-91.5 FM (Henderson, Tennessee). You can find it on the RadioInsight aircheck collectors message board (who knew?).

College Radio DJ Tribute to Famed Baltimore DJ K-Swift

There's a really nice tribute to renowned hip hop DJ K-Swift in the Baltimore Sun this week. What's cool is that it's written by a female college radio DJ who was inspired to get into radio and club DJing by the talented "Club Queen of Baltimore" DJ K-Swift. K-Swift (Khia Edgerton), who was an on-air DJ at WERQ-FM (92Q) died this week in a pool accident at her home at the age of 29. According to the article:

"When I heard a live K-Swift set for the first time at age 13, I knew there was no one else on the radio like her. Her mixes, on-air commentary and obvious love for music inspired me and my interest in music and radio. Of course, I had no idea what Baltimore Club music was then - I just knew that whatever she dropped was infectious.

I was certainly not alone in my love for K-Swift's radio show. An avid listener throughout high school and into college, I got a show at my school's radio station and, following her example, got into live DJing. Each time I drop a Baltimore Club track, I think of her and remember which of her many mix tapes put me on to the song."

The author, Alexandra Douglas-Barrera is a DJ at college radio station WMUC (University of Maryland). She continues:

"Dynamic and jovial on the air, K-Swift showcased her talent during her 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. radio spot, Off the Hook Radio, with co-host Squirrel Wyde. Her live mixes always opened with an enthusiastic introduction that would make any listener excited about what she had in store. In venues ranging from the massive Paradox to the cramped Talking Head, she would glow with appreciation, love and an unmatched passion for her crowd and music when she spun...

To see a young female DJ achieve so much in such a short life showed me - and other young female DJs - that it was possible to gain recognition and acceptance in the male-dominated worlds of DJing and hip-hop. To watch her perform was to witness a talented young woman, still perhaps a bit in disbelief of the magnitude of her success, prove exactly how she got there in the first place."

She sounds like an incredibly talented lady.

How about you? Were you inspired to go into radio by one particular DJ?

Philly and Minneapolis Local Music Swap via Public Radio

We've heard a lot recently about the decreasing amount of local content on radio stations. Obviously college radio stations are great resources for local artists to gain exposure, but it can be more challenging to get commercial or national airplay. According to an article in the Daily Pennsylvanian, Minnesota Public Radio station "The Current" and University of Pennsylvania's public radio station WXPN are working together to share some of their favorite local artists this month with listeners in Philly and Minneapolis.

Eight Philadelphia-area bands and 8 artists from Minneapolis-St. Paul will be featured during "The Music Exchange." You can learn about all 16 artists and hear samples of their work from the Music Exchange page on the WXPN website or hear podcasts from The Current website.

How about your station? Have you connected with other college radio stations around the country in order to learn about new music? Who are some of the local bands in your area that you think people need to check out?

Monday, July 21, 2008

iPhones to Revolutionize Radio?

Last week Larry Magid wrote a piece called "Can the New iPhone Revolutionize Radio?," which points out some intriguing possibilities and new audiences for terrestrial radio with iPhone applications like AOL Radio, Pandora and Tuner. He writes:

"...the iPhone may fundamentally change the way people listen to the radio when they're in their cars or otherwise on the go.

Two free applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch, and another program that costs only $4.99, make it possible to listen to live radio on the iPhone from anywhere, including a moving car.

Unlike those pre-TV days when families sat around a big radio console in the living room, a lot of people now listen to radio mainly when they're on the move. Internet radio has been around for more than a decade, car radios were introduced in the 1930's and portable transistor radios became available in the 1950s.

Until now, live radio pretty much meant listening to a broadcast station with transmitters relatively nearby. But with the iPhone you can listen to stations from around the world, including some that broadcast only on the Internet and don't even have transmitters.

Over time, this could be as disruptive to the radio broadcast industry as the Web has been to print."

Have any of you tried listening to radio on an iPhone? Do you think this will mean more listeners for college and indie radio stations? Pretty cool if it does, but pretty sad if people just retreat further into their own individual playlists.

P.S. Here's another piece about the indie radio possibilities of the iPhone, along with praise for "cutting edge college radio stations" from The Daily Press.

P.P.S. An article last week in the San Francisco Chronicle pointed out that "More than 200,000 Pandora stations have been created on the iPhone, with the highest number of listeners the company has ever had..."

Playlist from Radio UTD's XMU Show Yesterday

Radio UTD (University of Texas-Dallas) made another appearance on the weekly college radio-themed XMU satellite radio show "the Student Exchange Program" yesterday. Their list was full of some great stuff, old and new. I was excited to see that they busted out some classic Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. I think that their earliest stuff is just beautiful (especially "Architecture and Morality") and totally stands the test of time.

Next Sunday, July 27th, KSLU (St. Louis University) will make another appearance on the "The Student Exchange Program" (1pm Pacific/4pm Eastern). On to the playlist...

Radio UTD-University of Texas-Dallas
XMU "Student Exchange" Playlist - July 20, 2008

Spiritualized - I Gotta Fire - Songs in A&E
Pop Levi- Never Never Love - Never Never Love [EP]
Hercules & Love Affair - Hercules Theme - Hercules & Love Affair
Halo Benders - Virginia Reel Around the Fountain - The Rebel's Not In
Wolf Parade - California Dreamer - At Mount Zoomer

Abe Vigoda - Dead City/Waste Wilderness - Skeleton
The Cure - Close To Me - The Head on the Door
Gang of Four - Damaged Goods - Entertainment!
The Normal - Warm Leatherette - T.V.O.D./Warm Leatherette 12"
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark - Mysterialities - Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Section 25 - Inspiration - From the Hip

The Notwist - Alphabet - The Devil, You + Me
Meho Plaza - I Sold My Organs - Meho Plaza
Death Set - Around the World - Worldwide
Joanna Newsom - Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie - Joanna Newsom and the YS Street Band

John Maus - Times is Weird - Love Is Real
Glass Candy - Etheric Device - B/E/A/T/B/O/X
Boom Bip - Coogie Sweater - Sacchrilege EP
Fiery Furnaces - Sweet Spot - EP
Bodies of Water - Under the Pines - A Certain Feeling

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - (Keep Eye On) Other's Gain - Lie Down in the Light
Eric Chenaux - Love Don't Change - Sloppy Ground
Cat Stevens - First Cut is the Deepest - New Masters
Tape - Beams - Luminarium

Treasure Mammal - Best Friends Forever - You Wish I Was Channeling Your Spirit

Thursday, July 17, 2008

YPulse Mashup Part Two - MC Hammer, Chess and Hip Hop

I've written previously about the dearth of hip hop on radio and that even when radio stations are devoted to hip hop, it isn't always the type of hip hop that audiences want to hear. Local and indie artists find it particularly difficult to get airplay. For that reason, college and underground radio stations have a huge opportunity to present the wide range of hip hop styles on their channels, but unfortunately not everyone is listening.

Tuesday's YPulse Mashup panel "Totally Wired Hip Hop: Reaching Urban Youth," ended up being a fascinating discussion that was more about addressing the audience's misunderstanding of hip hop than about marketing to urban youth.

The panelists eloquently spoke about the definitions and history of hip hop. My new hero, Adisa Banjoko of The Hip Hop Chess Federation, pointed out, "there are almost 100 subgenres of hip hop....a kid can just listen to backpack rap [if that's what he's into]..."

Despite this, audience questions tended to focus on the negative, stereotypical side of hip hop, which is thought to be full of violent content, dirty lyrics, and stolen samples. Panelists acknowledged that these are concerns in some forms of hip hop, but that it does not represent the whole scene. Additionally, there are lots of creative solutions to these concerns, from clean song edits, to instrumental hip hop to sample clearinghouses.

Additionally, MC Hammer (yes, the one and the same), argued that, "you can't expect...if I'm living in can't expect me to rap about heaven." He challenged the audience to think about working on "how...we change the conditions or the environment producing these songs..." rather than attacking a whole genre of music.

One of Adisa's closing points was "don't be afraid of the hip hop can't reach them if you're afraid of them."

So true.

YPulse Mashup Part One - Teen Music Trends and the Go-Go's

I spent Monday and Tuesday at the fabulous YPulse Mashup in San Francisco, a conference that brings together folks interested in youth, media and technology. I've been a teen pop culture fanatic for years, so the YPulse blog and conference are amazing fun for me.

Although the conference wasn't specifically focused on music, there were still many presentations about music and references to indie culture and radio. Besides that, I met numerous people there who worked with radio, had college radio pasts, or who were passionate about indie music.

On Monday, Jacqueline Lane, of the Teen Eyes division of C&R research, did a fast and furious presentation full of stats on the youth market. In terms of music, she told us that 62% of teens (and 46% of tweens) go to music websites and 35% of teens (33% of tweens) spend money on music.

Reiterating that the music biz is not dead, Damon Whiteside from Walt Disney Records, did a keynote on Tuesday about the huge successes that their record label has had with young pop stars like Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana, Jonas Brothers, and Hilary Duff. He explained that tweens are actually the "driving force" in music sales right now, which means that Walt Disney Records is doing better than ever, with sales up 60% from last year. He also told us that Radio Disney has the top tween radio network with its terrestrial and satellite stations. He acknowleged that music trends change quickly, meaning that in a few years the obsession with teen pop stars may again dwindle.

One of the most interesting tidbits of all, was Damon's news about the in-the-works girl rock band KSM, which was originally supposed to be a Go-Go's redo called the Po-Go's (with the blessing and involvement of the original band). KSM's debut album of originals (not Go-Go's covers) is coming out in 2009 and I'm kind of intrigued.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sunday's Chico State Playlist from XMU Radio Show

Satellite station XMU featured Chico State's radio station KCSC as guest curator of "the Student Exchange Program" this past Sunday, July 13th. Coming up next Sunday, July 20th (1pm Pacific/4pm Eastern) will be another Internet-only station Radio UTD from University of Texas-Dallas.

Here's KCSC's playlist:

XMU "Student Exchange Show" Playlist 7/13/08

Animal Collective – Water Curses - Water Curses
Chin Chin – Chin Chin – Dontchusee
The Black Keys – Attack and Release – Psychotic Girl
The Chap – Mega Breakfast – Caution Me

Booka Shade – The Sun and the Neon Light - Control Me
Ladytron – Velocifero - I’m Not Scared
Wolf Parade – At Mount Zoomer – Language City

Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles – Vanished
Does it Offend You, Yeah? – You Have No Idea What You Are
Getting Into – Doomed Now
From Bubblegum to Sky – Even the Sunbeams

Kail – Peter Pennyworth
Flying Lotus – Los Angeles – Camel
J*Davey – The Beauty in Distortion/The Land of the Lost -LaLaland
Metaform – Standing on the Shoulders of Giants – Crush

Jamie Lidell - Jim – Another Day
King Khan & the Shrines – The Supreme Genius of King Khan & the Shrines – Took My Lady to Dinner
James Curd – Mark Farina – Morse Code (by Mark Farina)
No Age - Nouns – Eraser

Delicious Vinyl - Rmxxology – Passin’ Me By (Hot Chip remix)
Presto – State of the Art - Part of Greatness ft. CL Smooth
Willie Bobo – Verve Remixed 4 - Evil Ways (remixed by Karriem Riggins)
Gnarls Barkley – The Odd Couple – A Little Better

The Wedding Present – El Rey - Soup
Bonnie "Prince" Billy – Lie Down in the Light – So Everyone
Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes – Ragged Wood

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Commercial Radio DJ's Punk Rock College Radio Beginnings

In his "Radio Waves" column this weekend in the San Francisco Chronicle, Ben Fong-Torres writes an extensive profile of Annalisa, a professional DJ at San Francisco commercial rock station KFOG. Like many commercial DJs she had college radio beginnings. Fong-Torres writes:

"She came here in 1995 from Boston, where she'd been on radio since college in the early '80s...

At Bridgewater State College, she got onto the campus station, and her work there - playing punk rock - led to her first paying radio job, at a nearby country station. That gig, in turn, led back to rock...but only after gaining five years of solid radio experience.

The lesson she learned - and tries to pass along to younger radio enthusiasts - is to remain open-minded. 'If I'd said, 'No, I'm not going to work on a country station after playing punk rock in college' ... why close those doors?'

It was at the college station, she says, that she began calling herself Annalisa. 'It's actually a Johnny Rotten song,' she says. 'I thought it was a good, anonymous name, and why not be anonymous on the radio?'"

It's nice to know that there's still a little punk rock left in commercial DJs, even if it's just in their airname or in their private record collections.

Philly College Radio

On the Quaker Agitator blog, in a post about Jesse Helms, QuakerDave references a few college radio stations in Philadelphia--WXPN (University of Pennsylvania's public radio station), which he calls "the best college radio station on the planet" and the jazz and classical-playing public radio station WRTI (Temple University).

These were stations, along with Drexel University's freeform student station WKDU, that I used to listen to on my little digital clock radio back when I was in college at Haverford (by the way, a Quaker college) and couldn't get my own carrier-current station WHRC on my radio.

Penn students also have their own student-run station WQHS, whose dramatic history is worth a read. Additionally, out in the 'burbs, Swarthmore College is home to both War News Radio (distributed to many stations worldwide) and student radio station WSRN.

College Radio Nostalgia

A few bloggers (in their early 20s) this week professed nostalgia for college radio, which is a great reminder to me that nostalgia can be for any era.

On her blog "My Life is a Stereo," Sofiblu writes:

"Folk rock singer/songwriter Thomas Bryan Eaton writes lyrics that cut like a knife, but string instruments and sunny backing vocals give them an endearing softer edge... So it turns out that Thomas is from my college town in upstate New York. These days, it doesn't take much to get me thinking about college, but I can totally imagine listening to Thomas and the Fear on my fave college radio station WCIB while trudging my way up the hill to hang out with friends in Club Uris, sippin' on some chai tea and munching on vegan pumpkin bread, dreaming up some Felicity-like drama in my life but without the infinitely interesting love triangle, and forever delaying the inevitable papers and problem sets that would be needed to complete my degree. Eventually."

She definitely sets the tone for a time and place, but I think she means WICB (not WCIB) at Ithaca College in New York.

Riffing off this post, Hunter Wry writes on her blog "That Lightning Bolt Was Mine":

"My friend is nostalgic for college radio. I too am guilty of being stuck in the past, staring off into space these days, daydreaming of better days. They probably weren’t even that much better, but I suppose that's what age does to you. It makes you view your past through a rose-colored lens. So, getting on to my Canadian music fix, Two Hours Traffic is a band out of Prince Edward Island, and Little Jabs was nominated for a Polaris earlier this month. The album is infectious listening, filled with memories of college radio sounds, an interesting mix of rock and pop."

How far back does your college radio nostalgia go? 2005? 1995? 1985? Or even earlier?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Heavy Metal and College Radio

There's an extensive article in the Vancouver Sun today about the vitality of the heavy metal music scene, especially in terms of live tours.

According to the article:

"Musical styles come, musical styles go. Except for hard rock and heavy metal, which seem to be as big as ever. Iron Maiden sold out the Pacific Coliseum June 3. Judas Priest will probably do 12,000 at GM Place July 24. Motley Crue will probably sell out GM Place August 11. In many cases, these bands are selling more tickets today than in their heyday, and at a much higher ticket price (the top ticket for Judas Priest is $343). And they're doing it even though their album sales are a fraction of what they were in the 70s, 80s and 90s."

Hearing about this metal resurgence makes me wonder how much airplay hard rock and metal music are getting. In the 1980s, I remember metal-themed panels at the CMJ conference and in the 1990s when I was at college radio station WBGU, we aired metal programming and had a Music Director who was exclusively focused on metal (and it looks like they still have a "metal" director today).

What do you think? Are there a smaller number of DJs playing metal music today? CMJ has "loud rock" charts, so there are definitely stations reporting airplay. How much metal does your station add (and play) and do you have a special music director devoted to the genre?

The Power of College Radio to Inspire

DJing at a college radio station can be lonely work. Often the phone doesn't ring and when it does there's no telling who might be on the other end, especially as it gets later in the night and the alcohol and drugs kick in. So, when one gets fabulous phone calls, emails, or IMs it can really make your year. I know that I've had transcendental moments when I've heard a beautiful or compelling piece on the radio or in a music store. I specifically remember the first time I heard a Miranda July track on a college radio station and I was mesmerized.

The author of the blog Dark Lucia talks about the college radio moment in 1991 that led her to the art of spoken word. She writes:

"I was talking to a friend today about my inspiration for spoken word. This was the inspiration: In the winter of 1991, I was staying at my friend's house...The apartment was a 2 room roach motel sort of place, and I was about 3 months pregnant. I was cold, with basically no food, and I was alone. There was a huge snowstorm, and I had nothing to do to pass the time or distract my attention from the morning sickness. I had no books, and I’d grown tired of the borrowed David Bowie/Iggy pop albums (yes, they were Vinyl!).

So I listened to a college radio station on my thrift store clock radio. There were two stations actually, one that played nothing but classical music, and one that played NPR shows, like a Prairie Home Companion, and then from Midnight until 6 a.m. played all sorts of 'college' music such as Captain Beefheart, Bauhaus, and even some little new group called Nirvana...Considering my friend/roommate had driven back to Louisville to stay with family over the holidays, I had full reign of the two rickety roomed dump. So 24 hours a day it was a nice combination of classical music and NPR and stomach ick, thanks to N-the wonder child.

The central heating was a joke, and I froze most of the time-until I got the great idea to use the oven as a heat source. The gas oven. I was young, guys-and had NO experience with gas appliances…So perhaps it was the oven that seduced me into a warm, snuggly half sleep one night. But within that strange half sleep, I heard a voice saying: 'America, I've given you all and now I'm nothing.' I remember opening my eyes, and lying very still as the voice continued: '…I can’t stand my own mind…I don't feel good, don't bother me. I won’t write my poem until I'm in my right mind…' People often talk about religious experiences-This was my experience. And This was the beginning of a very important one-sided love affair.

As soon as the sun began slaughtering the snow the following morning, I wobbled quickly and carefully to the library and I checked out everything they had by Ginsberg. He became a substitute for Father-afterall, they had the same beard, the same crazy eyes. Sure Ginsberg was gay, but still there was a slight fragrence of a full blown Electra complex forming and it was very nice!

This affair was the inspiration for my spoken word…As a matter of fact, I was doing spoken word on the day Ginsberg died..."

What did college radio introduce to you?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

University of Georgia Freshmen get Athens Musical History Lesson

When I was a freshman in college I found the college radio station pretty early on, but even by senior year there were definitely students who were completely unaware of its existence. For that reason, I think it's amazing that University of Georgia has a track of its freshman orientation program that takes students on a tour of campus radio station WUOG-FM and provides an overview of the rich musical history of Athens. Last year's program allowed students to produce music together at the radio station too.

According to the program's website:

"With R.E.M., the B52s, and Widespread Panic all getting their start here, Athens, GA, is known for being a hub of musical talent. Dawg Camp Fusion will involve 12 to 14 first-year students in a four-day program...The program connects students with Athens' rich history and culture and tap into students' passions to promote involvement on campus in those arenas. Students will learn about the history of Athens music and musical venues, visit the campus radio station, interact with different music groups, and even have opportunities to share their talents with others."

That sounds like a lot of fun. Back when I was in college the film "Athens, Georgia: Inside Out" was released and it was incredible to see the caliber of bands from that town in the 1980s.

Guy Picciotto from Fugazi on XMU Saturday

There's a new show on satellite radio station XMU called "1, 2 ,3 , 4 More More More," described by the station as "the history of indie on XMU." The weekly program features indie, new wave, punk and pop from the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and today. You can view previous playlists on the show's MySpace page. I was pretty thrilled to see that the show does seem to hearken back to that classic "college radio sound," with bands like Henry's Dress, Pixies, Misfits, The Wipers, The Jam, Weirdos, Heavenly, Mary Timony and Jawbreaker. Pretty awesome.

What's even cooler, is that Guy Picciotto from Fugazi is going to be guest DJ on the show this Saturday at 1pm (Pacific)/4pm (Eastern) and he'll be bringing along some 7"s to play. I can hardly wait to see that playlist.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Jazz Awards for College Radio Stations

A DJ at a public radio station KCCK-FM at Kirkwood Community College just won a Programmer of the Year award at the Jazz Week Awards according to an article on the Kirkwood Community College website. Additionally, a DJ/programmer (Brad Stone) from San Jose State's college radio station KSJS-FM won a Programmer of the Year award as well.

It seems that jazz music is rarely heard on commercial radio, and is definitely much easier to find on college, public and community radio stations.

How much jazz does your station play?

Hospital Radio

College radio is often thought of as obscure, under-the-radar, and short on listeners. But, there are other radio outlets with much smaller audiences. Until today, I'd never heard about hospital radio. Have you? In an article in the Echo newspaper, quoted in The Whole Curiosity Blog, Irish DJ Rick O'Shea talks about his humble beginnings in radio. According to the piece:

"...I started off in St James’s Hospital radio, probably the world’s worst radio station. You could only get it if you turned on the speakers beside the beds and most of the time they were switched off! There were about six listeners. That was about 17 years ago, a long time ago. I got involved in student radio in UCD and then I did Broadcasting and Journalism studies at Ballyfermot College..."

I love that for this DJ, hospital radio was a stepping stone to college (and later professional) radio. I was so intrigued by the whole concept, that I did a little digging and learned a bit about the history of hospital radio on Wikipedia:

"Hospital radio is a form of audio broadcasting produced specifically for the in-patients of hospitals. It is primarily found in the United Kingdom. The first hospital radio station in the UK was installed at York County Hospital, England, in 1925. Headphones were provided beside 200 beds, and 70 loudspeakers were installed, with patients being able to listen to sports commentaries and church services. Throughout the 1930s radio stations spread to a handful of other hospitals, with live music supplementing the speech-based programmes...

The spread of hospital radio services picked up slowly in the late 1940s. The 1950s saw a rapid growth in their number in the UK, with similar stations opening in the Netherlands, Japan, and the United States. Many stations now played gramophone music to patients and, with the launch of the cassette tape in 1963, it became easy for presenters to record their programmes for playback at a later date.

Hospital radio stations peaked in number in the 1980s, when up to 300 stations are thought to have been broadcasting on a daily basis. However as small hospitals closed or merged to form large regional medical centres, hospital radio stations also consolidated into a smaller number of larger organisations. New studios were built, often to a very high specification, and in common with commercial radio, hospital stations began to use CDs to play music."

Hospital radio sounds fascinating and it's still happening today, as evidenced by the existence of the Hospital Broadcasting Association in the UK, with its 200+ member stations and annual UK-based Hospital Radio Awards.

Have you ever heard a hospital radio station? What was the programming like?

Augustana College Public Radio Station Profile

It's kind of rare to see extensive radio station profiles in the press these days, so here's a nice lengthy one about a college public radio station in Illinois. Today's profile of Augustana College public radio station WVIK in the River Cities' Reader discusses the future of the station and how they may have to respond in order to maintain listeners.

The piece quotes WVIK's General Manager Frank Sundram when it states:

"...WVIK listeners 'trend a little bit older' than the National Public Radio (NPR) affiliates nationally. 'In terms of income, we also tend to skew a little bit higher.'

Sundram says all the right things about WVIK, and his words should soothe those who tune in to the station for their NPR, classical-music, and local programming. 'You don't fix what isn't broken,' he said. 'There's not much that needs fixing here.'

The current mix includes 17 hours of classical-music programming and seven hours of news programming each weekday, and an eclectic weekend lineup that includes everything from Art jazz to NPR staples Car Talk and A Prairie Home Companion."

By the way, Augustana College also has a student-run radio station WAUG, which seems to only be available on campus and online. Their website wasn't working today, so I couldn't learn too much. To add to the confusion, there's also another Augustana College in South Dakota, whose radio station KAUR, I've written about previously.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Independents Day 08

I was busy relaxing over the weekend and kind of missed the boat on "Independents Day 08," a celebration of all-things indie. The festivities were global and featured at least three (UK, US and New Zealand) limited edition online only albums full of indie artists. The U.S. version was only available July 4th to 6th and had 25 tracks, including songs by The Donnas, Atmosphere, Devendra Banhart, Living Legends and Frank Black.

Australia, Spain, and Italy also participated in this event and you can check the website for all the details, including a list of Australia's top indie albums of all-time (including college radio favorites Hoodoo Gurus, Midnight Oil, Dirty Three, Nick Cave, etc.).

Dave Allen, of Gang of Four, wrote a bit about Independents Day on his blog Pampelmoose and also participated in their auction. He writes:

"In the spirit of helping independent music I have offered myself up for auction!...the lucky (?) winner of the auction gets to spend a day with me in Portland as I show them our clubs, bars, restaurants and coffee shops that form the underbelly of Portland’s amazing indie rock scene."

Did you celebrate indie music this past weekend?

What's the Sound of Classic College Radio?

I'm always running across blog posts that reference the beloved "college radio sound" from back in the day. These references are usually to the 1980s and 1990s and are made by members of Generation X. Just for fun, I'll share a few that I found this week.

On his Route 1 blog, Erik writes about Camper Van Beethoven:

"I can always count on CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN to put a smile on my face. I smiled at the band's quirky songs when I heard them fresh in the early days of college radio, and I am smiling now, hearing 'Take the Skinheads Bowling' and 'Eye of Fatima' and the other great tunes...'

And, Mike has a more negative take on the college radio sound of days gone by as he writes about the Blake Babies on his blog ShanleyonMusic:

"...I came across the entry for Juliana's band Blake Babies' second album,
Sunburn. I was thinking...that Juliana became a much better songwriter post-Blake Babies, at least as far as hooks were concerned....imagine my incredulous surprise when the allmusic guy says that not only was Sunburn the best Blake Babies album, but the last great college radio album, leading up to Nevermind. Geez, now I know what so many people my age don't mind blandness...

I hear a lot of songs at work on satellite radio by people who probably came of age when that album came out, as well as other nice, safe but unadventurous college radio bands. And these bands don't have a hook or a clever lyric to save their lives. And they owe it to bands like that."

What era do you think the "college radio sound" refers to? Is it different for each generation or do the 1980s resonate for many people as the college radio heyday?

Philosophy Profs Chat on Public Radio's KALW

The LA Times ran a cool article profiling "Philosophy Talk," a show run by two philosophy professors on San Francisco public radio station KALW-FM. According to the article:

"...Ken Taylor and John Perry...dissect life's big mysteries on 'Philosophy Talk,' believed to be America's only live weekly call-in radio show dedicated to the philosophical.

In this celebrity-soaked era, when Americans seem to spend more time pondering whether Britney Spears' underwear exists than whether God does, these two Stanford philosophy professors take on everything from the weighty to the winsome."

It's always fun to hear about shows like this, which can only really exist on non-commercial radio.

P.S. KALW has a very interesting and lengthy history in educational and non-commercial radio. Although they are now financially independent, they still have a strong relationship with their licensee, the San Francisco Unified School District, are housed at a San Francisco high school, and receive some support from the district. According to their website,

"When broadcast began in March of 1941 on the fourth floor of Gompers Trades School, KALW became the first FM station in San Francisco, the first educational FM station in the United States, the first non-commercial FM station west of the Mississippi, and the second one in the nation."

It's kind of sad that I live in San Francisco and was completely unaware of their history until today. Do you know anything about radio history in your town?

New College Radio Station to Harken Back to 1970s

A community college in North Carolina just got approval for a new college radio station, whose format has yet to be determined. Part of the goal, though, is to bring radio back to what it was in the 1970s. I'm not sure what that means...but perhaps, simply, radio before massive consolidation. According to an article on Saturday in the Rocky Mount Telegram:

"...Nash Community College is in the process of bringing its own radio station to its students and the community, Amy McCurdy Davis-Moore, a college faculty member who formerly worked in commercial radio at WSAY-98.5 in Rocky Mount and marketing, told Rocky Mount Kiwanis Club members Thursday...

Rapid growth in technology is the reason for a lot of consolidation of radio stations, Davis-Moore said, and the absence of locally owned radio stations has left a hole in the community.

Nash Community College applied for its license and expected the process to take 18 months to two years. Three months after applying with the Federal Communications Commission, a license was granted, Davis-Moore said.

'Our vision is to take the college's radio station back to the 1970s and provide programming that matters to students, the community and business owners – folks who actually make this community run'...

The station, yet to receive its call letters, will be FM 89.1 on the radio dial. The station will begin airing on the Internet in August.

'In the summer of 2010, our signal will be received on car radios,' Davis-Moore said."

That's pretty cool that this college was able to acquire an FCC license so quickly and it will be interesting to see what they come up with format-wise.

WXCU Playlist from XMU "Student Exchange"

Yesterday's "Student Exchange Show" on satellite station XMU featured Capital University's Internet-only radio station WXCU. I'm glad to see they played some vinyl! Something else that I noticed is that this week's show included two tracks in a row by both Happy Chichester and Times New Viking. Is that something that you're allowed to do at your college radio station? I know it's often frowned upon to play two in a row by the same artist, especially with so much unexposed music out there. What do you think?

Up this coming Sunday, July 13th (1pm Pacific/4pm Eastern) on "the Student Exchange Show" is Chico State's station KCSC once again.

Here's yesterday's playlist:

WXCU (Capital University) on XMU "Student Exchange"
7/06/08 Playlist

Jesus and Mary Chain – All Things Must Pass – Heroes Soundtrack
Happy Chichester –Artificial Fanfare (Music In My Head) – Lovers Come Back
Happy Chichester – Me and My Machine – Lovers Come Back
Rogue Wave – Chicago X 12 – Asleep At Heaven’s Gate

The Hold Steady – Sequestered In Memphis – Stay Positive
Wolf Parade – Language City – At Mt Zoomer
M83 – Graveyard Girl – Saturdays = Youth
My Morning Jacket – Touch Me I’m Going To Scream Pt. I – Evil Urges

Scarlett Johanssen – Falling Down – Anywhere I Lay My Head
The Breeders – Walk It Off – Mountain Battles
Sigur Ros – Gobbledigook - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
The Black Keys – Psychotic Girl – Attach and Release
Emma Pollock – Acid Test – Watch The Fireworks
Santogold – I’m A Lady – Santogold

Times New Viking - Drop Out - Rip It Off
Times New Viking – My Head– Rip It Off
Liars- The Other Side of Mt Heart Attack – Liars
Shout Out Louds – The Comeback (Ratatat Remix) – Combines
RTFO Bandwagon – Anyway You Know – New Jack 7"
The Black Swans – Change – Change

Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks – Gardenia – Real Emotional Trash
The Lemonheads – No Backbone – The Lemonheads
Jesse Malin – Aftermath – Glitter in the Gutter
MGMT – Kids – Oracular Spectacular

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Inside Scoop from Dave the XMU Intern

I just found a blog where interns from XM satellite radio are writing about their experiences and one of the interns is at the college-radio themed station XMU. On yesterday's post, Dave talks about his new gig helping put together the "Student Exchange" show, which features a different college radio station each week. He gives us some great details about the inner-workings of the show:

"I suppose I’ve proven myself worthy because I’ve been assigned to help put together the 'Student Exchange' program here on XMU. It is a third party show where real college radio stations get to take over the XMU airwaves. They create a playlist, record their voice breaks, and send it all in to us. It is going to be my job to mix all of these separate pieces together into one cohesive radio show. So far I have been getting trained on how to do this. I have to make sure that all the songs being played on the show have the required data entered, such as artist and album title, so as that it will show up correctly on the XM radio display screens. Then I have to mix all the songs, voice breaks, and sweepers together into smooth transitions. This part is probably the most difficult task I've encountered here at my XM internship because there is a certain art of making completely different songs flow seamlessly, and it takes time to master, but hopefully I’ll get over that learning curve soon."

I knew that stations were sending playlists, not fully produced shows to XMU, but hadn't really thought about the data entry task so that artists and tracks show up on the XM radio screens. It also sounds like Dave has to play DJ a bit, figuring out how to make smooth segues between tracks that may end abruptly, have long fades or are just plain incongruous. Where I hear those random juxtapositions on the show sometimes, where two tracks really don't sound like they work next to each other, it does make me wonder if the station sending the playlist is actually sitting down to do a fake 2-hour show and listening to every track in its entirety. That's kind of a lot of work, so I bet they aren't.

Another thing I wonder about, is how often XMU needs to have music sent to them by the guest station and how often every item on the playlist is already in XMU's vault of music. Maybe Dave can tell us!

On the blog you can read about what other interns are up to, scan Dave's profile, and check out his post about screening music for XMU.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Another Radio Column Bites the Dust

I was just catching up with Ben Fong-Torres' most recent "Radio Waves" column (still alive and well!) in the San Francisco Chronicle, in which he does a follow-up to the piece that he wrote about listener perceptions about how frequently certain songs are played. In last Sunday's column he mentions that some readers wrote in with suggestions for stations that do play more diverse playlists, including KPIG and College of San Mateo's public radio jazz station KCSM-FM.

Additionally, Fong-Torres discusses the demise of the Washington Post radio column written by Marc Fisher, saying:

"Marc Fisher
, author of a recent book on the (mostly sad) state of radio, 'Something in the Air,' also wrote a radio column for the Washington Post on and off for 15 years. No more. The newspaper ended regular coverage of radio early this month, and Fisher signed off with a heartfelt lament for the industry.

In the face of new technology, he wrote, 'I find a business and an art form in trouble: Just when radio cries out for creative revival, it is instead slipping into a disgruntled decline.'"

Marc Fisher's final "The Listener" column from June 1, 2008 is definitely worth a read. Fisher writes:

"The challenge for all media now is to find a path back to mass, while retaining as much as possible of the freedom and access that the infinite range of the Internet promises.

The programming on the radio these days does not light a way toward that goal. Music radio seems superfluous -- a selection of tunes nowhere near as varied as what iPod users choose for themselves, and without the added value that knowledgeable and entertaining DJs once provided."

Indeed this is true of mainstream radio, but I think that the best college and community radio stations do provide more musical variety than commercial radio and the typical iPod. And, the music-obsessed DJs who have the freedom to create beautifully crafted, curated playlists are still my heroes.

On the Washington Post website, you can read more installments of Fisher's now defunct "The Listener" column. It's sad to see radio coverage dwindling in local papers. Is local radio written about where you live? Let me know if you have suggestions about other radio columns that I should be reading.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

College Radio - Does Practice Make Perfect?

A post on the Fishtail blog talks about the author's dismay at learning that the college radio station on campus doesn't require much work from its DJs. Fishtail writes:

"THE college where I teach has an in-house radio station, where students learn to broadcast 'live', play music over the air, sometimes crack one or two lame jokes making it challenging for staff and other students trying to have a meal at the college canteen. Generally, they practise and try hard to speak like the professional radio DJs. Occasionally, however, they play too much of one type of music, or play too loud, or stutter on air, or use too much 'ah's and 'erm's, making an embarrassment of themselves 'live.'

I asked my class of Mass Communications students the other day how often did they work at the college radio station. 'Is it one semester? Or three days a week for a term?' My students replied, 'Two hours' and I asked, 'Two hours per day several days a week?' and her next answer was, 'No, just two hours, that’s it.'

I was dumb struck. Why only two hours? How can a person be a good radio DJ from just two hours of practice? Some people spend years at the microphone and still either talk too much or talk too little The answer was hardly convincing, 'There are many students.'"

Now, I'm not sure if the author is talking about training time or simply station volunteer time. From my experience, DJ training programs vary tremendously from station to station. I've been places where I was trained to be a DJ in a few hours. Other stations required attendance at a training class that lasted a few weeks, followed by a test. The most rigorous programs include classes, tests, on-air training with a DJ, and a required number of training/graveyard shifts.

Similarly, the amount of time that DJs are expected to spend working at a station varies from place to place. And, I kind of agree that requiring more time at the station does seem to help the station and the DJs. The place where I currently DJ expects that on-air DJs (with regular shows) do over 30 hours of volunteer work for the station each month, in addition to attending weekly staff meetings. It's daunting for new DJs, but I think the time commitment helps the station run more smoothly and makes the staff feel more like a community.

What sort of time requirements does your station have? What do you think is too much? What's too little?

College Radio Shout-outs

I'm finding fewer stories about college radio during the summer months, when some stations are on for limited hours with skeleton crews or are off the air entirely. However, today I found a couple of pieces talking about college and community radio.

An article in The Western Front profiles the General Manager (aka "Radio Mama") of Western Washington University station KUGS.

Southern Illinois University-Carbondale's paper, The Daily Egyptian, has an article today about the local radio scene, which includes some commentary about college radio. The author writes:

"I would be doing a disservice if I did a column on radio without mentioning our community station, WDBX (91.9 FM) and the online student station, WIDB. WIDB has two student-run stations-the Revolution and the Remedy-and is the best place for Hip-Hop, Indie and SIU sports. DBX is certified Carbondale Organic. With local, international and underground music, news and banter, DBX has something different and good. You can join WIDB on the Student Center 4th floor or DBX by going to"

You can read more about the history of WIDB (around since 1970) on their alumni website.

Is your college station on the air this summer?