Wednesday, July 22, 2009

College Radio Loyalists Refute Boston Globe's Dire Report on Radio

Student Station WECB at Emerson College in Boston

There's been some chatter this week about whether or not young people have turned away from terrestrial radio. An article in the Boston Globe (which I discuss further on Radio Survivor) called "Young Listeners Tune Out Radio in Search for New Music" quotes a bunch of teens and 20somethings about how they listen to and discover music. None of those quoted listens to radio. Of course the piece spawned some debate and many have rushed to defend radio's continued relevance.

Scanning through some of the 122 comments on the article, I found several themes.

1. Commercial Radio in Boston Sucks
2. There's No Good Music Anymore
3. Radio in Boston actually Rules
4. College and Non-Commercial Radio is Where it's At

Among all of the noise and banter, there were many amazing quotes from college and non-commercial radio fans (who of course realize that there is tons of great new music and there always has been).

I'm so encouraged that people are speaking out about the importance of the left end of the dial and was inspired by many of the eloquent commentary that I ran across. Here are a few gems that I liked from the sea of comments:

mifmu wrote:

"College radio rules and Boston is one, if not the richest source, of college radio in the nation. There is nothing homogeneous about it. WMBR, WERS, WUMB are all worth listening to for all genres of music and public affairs. And there's something expansive about listening to stuff which you may not like right off the bat. Given a little exposure to new and different types of music, it's surprising what you can grow to like.

The homogeneity of satellite radio is mind numbing, as is the screaming blather of commercial radio. And there's something anti-social and Orwellian about everyone running around plugged into individual MP3 players, oblivious to the world around us.
Wake up and listen, Boston. There's an earful of culchah at the lower end of your radio dial. And unlike most MP3's (all, once DRM is fully enforced) it’s free!"

kalimba writes:

"Boston has the best college radio scene in the country, hands down, and this still has a loyal following here in Boston. WMBR, WERS, WZBC, WMFO, WMWM, WHRB. These are my pre-sets in the car, along with the npr affiliates."

lazrin writes:

"To those of you lamenting the lack of interesting music on commercial FM stations: there's a whole universe of music below 92 on your FM dial, of non-commercial FM stations. Don't be scared; dip your toe in and explore it - there's practically every musical genre imaginable, played by DJs with a true LOVE and PASSION for the music they are playing -that's because most DJs are volunteering their time to play the music they like, and not getting paid to maximize station ratings and ad revenues."

Now that's what I'm talking about. All of us who listen to and love college radio need to tell a friend...and so on...and so on.

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