Monday, September 15, 2008

Campus Radio in Singapore

I haven't had much exposure to college radio outside of the United States, so it was interesting to find an article this week about a campus radio station in Singapore. From the piece it's clear that they share many of the same struggles as U.S. stations. According to the article, "Low Audience Count for Campus Radio" in The Ridge News:

"Two years after its official launch, the National University of Singapore’s campus radio, Radio Pulze is still struggling with a low audience count. Officially launched on Feb. 14, 2006, Radio Pulze has since scored low on tune-in rates. Marketing Director Lee Jie Xian estimates an audience count of around 300 listeners per week, barely 10 percent of the campus population."

I'm not incredibly surprised that only 10 percent of students listen to the campus radio station. In the U.S. many college radio stations attract a very specific, niche audience, which could certainly be a small percentage of the student population. The article continues:

"Run solely by undergraduates, Radio Pulze is the university’s official campus radio station. The station broadcasts on weekdays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. with repeats from 9 p.m. to midnight. A random poll of 25 students by the ridge showed that Radio Pulze is doing its publicity right – all the students polled said they have heard of the campus radio through IVLE alerts, posters, emails and friends. However, this awareness does not seem to translate into behaviour as majority confessed they do not tune in."

Clearly the limited hours of the station may be a big reason for the small number of listeners. Additionally, as the article points out, there are technical hurdles to deal since the online station is only available through the campus Intranet. Those wishing to tune in off-campus must log in to a VPN.

It looks like the station must broadcast privately over an Intranet in order to comply with copyright requirements. According to the Radio Pulze website, "This RadioPulze intranet broadcast is for NUS students and staff only, as specified by the sound recording and music copyright holders' license terms. Unauthorized access, copying or re-broadcasting
is strictly prohibited." That's fascinating. I guess that's why they don't broadcast to the world at large over the Internet.

Campus radio in Singapore is a relatively recent phenomenon, with the first campus radio station in Singapore was Radio Heatwave, which began in 1992.

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