Monday, October 18, 2010

College Radio Goings-On at the 2010 CMJ Music Marathon

The annual CMJ Music Marathon is in New York City this week, with all of the affiliated panels, shows, films, and for the first time a separate gaming seminar. I won't be in attendance this year (but if you want to see highlights of the 2009 and 2008 festivals, take a look at my extensive recaps), but am excited to see that college radio is still a vital part of the 2010 CMJ Music Marathon.

On Radio Survivor I outlined some of the college radio stations who have been nominated for College Radio Awards. If you're attending CMJ, make sure to cast your vote for your favorite stations. Winners will be announced at CMJ's College Day, taking place this Thursday, October 21st. Other college radio events include a College Radio Mixer on Tuesday, October 19 from 4-6pm and mentor sessions for college radio DJs on Friday, October 22.

I'm also pleased to see that a few college radio stations, KXSC (University of Southern California), KVRX (University of Texas, Austin), and CHUO (University of Ottawa), have teamed up to co-present an unofficial (and free) CMJ showcase "Manifest Airwaves" on Friday, October 22 from noon to 7pm at Bruar Falls in Brooklyn.

I spoke with a few of the organizers about Manifest Airwaves in order to learn more about this awesome college radio collaboration. According to CHUO's Music Director Joni Sadler, she was initially contacted by KXSC's Maura Klosterman over the summer. She said, "It initially started out as the idea to just throw a show/party for bands from our areas, and it grew from there when other stations got involved as well."

Each station is helping to book bands, promote the event, and they are all sharing in the costs. KVRX is also planning to film the event. According to KVRX Promotions Director Brittany Campbell, "We plan on filming most of the performances for our YouTube page which has other KVRX performances, interviews, and DJ trivia." Brittany mentioned that KVRX will also be setting up a photo shoot at the event for attendees.

According to Joni and Brittany, all of the stations have benefited from this collaboration. Joni said, "We have a diverse little group of stations working together for this, so that's made for some good brainstorming and diversity with the artists involved." Brittany added, "I think it's a great opportunity for future shows, events and long-lasting relationships for student radio stations. We have to stick together."

Since the participating stations are in California, Texas and Ottawa, Canada, much of the organizing has happened over email. A few staff members have met in person previously, which, according to Joni, "I've met Maura [KXSC] and Nichole from KVRX in person. Our stations definitely have some similarities, and having met them face-to-face before made it easy to know that we'd work well together on this kind of project."

The participating stations aren't necessarily bringing big crews to CMJ, with Joni being the sole CHUO attendee. Joni explained that she pays her own way and that, "From what I know, CHUO has never officially 'sent' anyone to CMJ. It's always awesome to get to hang with friends from all over the US and Canada that you only get to see once a year, and it's a great opportunity to share ideas with people from other campus and community stations. I find the panel discussions valuable, but even casual discussions of how different stations function has been helpful for me in the past. Plus, the WFMU record fair is going on during CMJ - and that ALWAYS totally rules." Brittany said that 3 folks from KVRX would be in attendance and said, "We are looking forward to the big city, east coast music, meeting all walks of life, and being able to stay at a bar till 4am. I am personally not looking forward to the cold... it's 86 in Austin and 54 in NYC."

Sounds like a great time! Sorry to miss all of the festivities, but I am hoping to get the full report from those of you who attend.

Friday, October 1, 2010

College Radio (Good) News Round-Up: From New Transmitters to a College Radio Hall of Fame

The Scenery at WZBC at Boston College
Photo: Jennifer Waits

With all of the gloom and doom surrounding college radio stations getting sold off or being told they can't broadcast terrestrially, I was happy to see that there's actually been some good news in the college radio world this week. Here are a bunch of stories about stations launching, reinventing themselves, or simply welcoming in the new school year.

Georgetown University station WGBT's Storied Past and Impending Renaissance
On Radio Survivor I wrote about some highlights from a great piece about WGBT. Be sure to delve into the fascinating history of the station, which includes battles with the Georgetown administration over their radical on-air content in the 1970s.

Wellesley's WZLY Profiled in The Wellesley News
Apparently Wellesley College was the home of the first all-female college radio station when it launched in 1942 as WBS. According to a piece in the Wellesley News, "Broadcasting seven days a week at 91.5 FM, WZLY has been supplying students with music and entertainment since 1942. WZLY focuses on allowing members to broadcast their own two-hour radio show every week, making it a unique experience from other organizations on campus. The system allows for DJs to experience an environment as close as one could find to a professional radio system."

Bristol Community College Launches Online-Only Radio Station
Although they also have dreams of someday having a terrestrial radio station, for the moment Bristol Community College in Massachusetts is happy to be streaming online as BristolCC Radio.

Syracuse University Station WERW Holds Launch Week Events and Party
Celebrating a new school year of broadcasts, Syracuse University station WERW held special events this week leading up to a launch party tonight. The station broadcasts at 1570 AM in Central New York and online.

Northern Michigan University station Radio X to Boost its Broadcast Power with New Transmitter
Radio X (aka WUPX) at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan just got FCC approval for a new transmitter so that the station can up its power from 360 to 1700 watts. Cool news for a relatively new FM station (they started out as an AM station in 1970, then went cable-only, and got their FM license in 1993).

Hofstra University Station WRHU Hosts its 2nd Hall of Fame
WRHU at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York prides itself on its radio broadcasting program, with many alumni going on to careers in radio. They recently inducted 5 more members into the station's Hall of Fame. Still an extremely popular activity on campus, WRHU's current staff is 184 people, with 47 students in DJ training (culled from 327 applications). According to an article in the Hofstra Chronicle:

"WRHU general manager Bruce Avery encouraged others [applicants] by informing them that radio is far from diminishing, and that the industry and the interest in radio continue to grow. 'I had a goal ever since I came here, to reunite the past with the present and the future,' said Avery. "At a time where they say radio is dying, radio is evolving- it's thriving and it's passionate.'"