Monday, September 29, 2008

FCC Fear Creating Blander College Radio?

I've heard rumors over the years about groups that have taken a strong interest in acquiring new radio frequencies and will go to any means necessary in order to bump existing stations off the air. I've been at stations where there's been fear that there are people out there who are specifically listening to college radio in order to catch a station airing FCC violations. According to lore, these groups will then report stations to the FCC in the hopes that they will ultimately be fined and shut down, providing an opportunity for said group to steal the college station's FM frequency.

I'm not sure if this ever happens, but there's an interesting opinion piece in the University of Dayton student newspaper Flyer News that addresses this topic. A former DJ at WUDR (FlyerRadio), writes about his displeasure over programming changes at the station that he believes were prompted by FCC fears. In "Flyer Radio Has Lost What It Means To Be College Station" he writes:

"I Am A Former Show Host At The Radio Station On Artstreet...I Had My Own Supply Of Records, Cds And Ruckus Downloads To Choose From And Play At Will. It Was A Beautiful Job For A Music Lover Like Me.

Sadly, This Can No Longer Be The Case. Outside Pressures Have Been Trying To Take One Of Our Frequencies By Any Means Necessary, Calling 'foul' Toward Anything Potentially Inappropriate To The Fcc. To Correct This, The Station Has Effectively Removed The Personal And Eclectic Tastes Of Music That One Tends To Expect From A College Radio Station. They Have Asked That The Radio Personalities To Choose What They Play From A Pre-determined Play List, Compiled Of Rock, Pop, And Rap Music (which Were The Top Three Genres Chosen In A Recent Survey). I Know For A Fact That My Show Could Never Fit Inside The Bounds Of Rock, Pop And Rap Music, No Matter How Broad Or Generalized Those Genres Could Become. Trust Me, Moving From Dijerido's And Gregorian Chants And Romanian Techno To "soulja Boy" And "i Kissed Something" And "i'm So Rich, Buy My Album" Music..."

The author goes on to argue that the programming changes have led to a much blander radio station that veers away from its essential "college radio" roots. It's hard to know what precipitated these changes, other than a student survey. According to the WUDR website:

"We are currently reformatting our station's music play list, but expect to hear everything you love! We'll bring you all the greats from the top pop, rock, and hip hop/R&B artists!"

Not everyone is opposed to this format change and you can read another student opinion piece in support of the station's decision to narrow their playlist.

No comments: