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.


WZRD Chicago said...

Hey just lettin you know we're at

we're streaming live and we've got on-demand old in-studio performances for yer listening pleasure as well as free tickets with clues and updates comin from twitter and facebook

and now our blog where you can find news and little gems as we record em or take pictures of them or whatever--

thanks! just wanted to update you!

Jennifer Waits said...

Thanks so much. I changed the URL and congrats on all the new stuff up on your website too!