Monday, March 30, 2009

College Radio Tidbits: WPRK's 10 Years of Punk, KUCI Dance Party, WHRB's iPhone App, & Music vs. Talk at Community Station

Here are a few college and community radio-related stories from the past few days:

10th Anniversary of WPRK Show "Punk Rock in Your PJs"

There's a sweet blog post paying homage to the 10th anniversary of a show on college radio station WPRK (Rollins College, Florida). Here's a bit of the post from This is Radio Chas!

"...Part of the magic of college radio is that the shows, tastes and attitudes change with the years, but I do admit that there is some pleasure in knowing that a few staple shows are going to still be there as the seasons change, and PRiYPJs is one of those we always enjoy.

I think this anniversary is particularly noteworthy in light of all the 'life changes' one typically goes through post-college, such as getting married and having a kid and -- (shiver) 'settling down.' For most people, their priorities as well as tastes change, but Maggie is still brimming with that youthful energy and passion for the music she plays -- mostly punk-pop from the 90s to today, with a handful of 'old-school' punk like her beloved Ramones. I find it very inspiring as part of my ongoing efforts to find new music to enjoy..."

Right on. It impresses me too that there are dedicated college radio DJs who continue to do their shows for years and years. And, I think it's worth recognizing that many folks in college radio have had their shows longer than a lot of commercial DJs. It's usually a labor of love with no paycheck, so we should all send some love to our favorite DJs.

KUCI's Dance Party

A piece in New University talks about a dance party event this weekend being hosted by University of California, Irvine station KUCI. DJs from the station will be playing music and hope to introduce the station to some new listeners. The article points out the college radio station's history in playing independent music, stating:

"With the demise of popular local radio station Indie 103.1, KUCI has seen increased attention as the only radio station that supplies similar music, according to [KUCI General Manager Mike] Kaspar.

'Now that Indie 103 has gone away … we’ve been approached by a lot of different clubs and bands,' Kaspar said.

But Kaspar sees Indie 103.1 as a passing influence compared to the history of independent music on KUCI.

'We’ve been doing what we’ve been doing for 40 years,' Kaspar said. 'Without us, there’d be a lot less opportunity for new music. We want to be playing stuff that hasn’t been heard before.'"

Harvard Station's iPhone Application

A piece in the Boston Herald talks about a new iPhone application created by students at Harvard that allows users to stream their student station WHRB. The piece states that, "

"...according to WHRB General Manager Joseph Poirier, the eclectic, nonprofit Cambridge station is the first college radio station to court iPhone users."

Is this true? If your station has iPhone apps, let me know. If not, this sounds like a worthwhile challenge to create some.

Role of Music and Talk Programming at Florida Community Radio Station?

There was a blog post this week about the role of music and news programming at community radio station WMNF. In response to a fundraiser message from Florida community radio station WMNF, Jay Cridlin of the Tampa Bay Times' Soundcheck blog writes,

"That headline -- 'The end of music on WMNF?' -- was the subject line of a mass e-mail...the music director for WMNF-88.5 FM, sent out this morning.

It was a plea for donations to the station, which is in the middle of its Spring pledge drive, and Courtney's message was: News shows are getting a lot more support from readers than music shows.

In fact, he said, the station has debated switching another hour or more of its daily programming from music to news."

It's kind of scary when stations start tallying up fundraiser donations by type of show. Is this something that you worry about at your station?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

College Radio on the iPhone

A piece in Macworld reviews various streaming radio applications available for the iPhone, including two that specifically feature college radio stations.

In the article, Jeffery Battersby discusses the College Radio Tuner, the IBS Student Radio Network tool from Backbone Networks that has 27 streams from IBS member stations. According to Battersby, "The streams from these stations are… well… college radio, which means that the quality of the programming can vary from the mundane to the absolutely brilliant."

He contrasts College Radio Tuner with Tuner Internet Radio, a broader service with hundreds of stations, including around 50 college radio stations.

If your station is using one of these iPhone applications, I'd be curious to hear what impact it's had on the number of mobile listeners to your station.

Student Radio in South Africa

I just heard about a student radio endeavor in South Africa, which attempts to pull content from a number of college radio stations in order to lure web visitors into the "student lifestyle." Student Radio Network is a commercial venture that provides streams from a number of student stations in South Africa, along with other youth-oriented offerings like games and music news. According to an article in, 14 different stations "...can be streamed live from the website, providing regional South African campus radio stations exposure to national and international listeners, as well as potential advertisers."

Here's a blurb from the Student Radio site:

"Student Radio is more than just the birthplace of radio stars, this is where people have discovered the core of the real life, that is where to have the best party...

Now brings you more.... where to find everything you need to live the student life, from parties, to music and everything in between. Yesterday Student Radio was about sounding like amateurs on air and only to the cafeteria, today it’s about being better than the big stations and keeping in touch with your lifestyle!"

The marketing copy couldn't be cheesier, and indeed, the stations that I listened to had a very slick top 40 feel to them with iconic commercial radio-style station IDs. From the charts and station descriptions listed on the site, it's clear that many of the stations are playing popular music (I tuned in to one station playing Britney Spears), so I'd be interested to hear if any of them have a more independent music focus. Also, there's some ad support for the network, with streaming sponsored by an Internet casino when I listened. Regardless, kind of fun to take a listen to college radio from another country.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

College Radio Tidbits: WMEB in Maine to Boost Range, College May Cut Funds to Public Station in Texas & College Applicant's Funding Fears

A few college radio tidbits to report on:

WMEB to Expanse Broadcast Range

The Maine Campus reports that University of Maine's student radio station WMEB-FM has been approved by the FCC for a boost in power from 680 to 10,000 watts. According to the article, "WMEB is working on rebranding itself in conjunction with the power increase. The new slogan for the station is 'college radio in a class by itself.' They are working on a number of improvements to the station Web site, including a 'now playing' widget, which would allow listeners to check online for songs they heard on the radio."

Odessa College May Reduce Funding to Its Public Radio Station KOCV

An interesting, and unsurprising situation is occurring at KOCV-FM, a college-owned public radio station in Odessa, Texas known as Permian Basic Public Radio. According to an article in Odessa American Online, the college can no longer afford the financial commitment of supporting the public radio station. Various options are outlined in the article, but what wasn't mentioned is that the station does have some locally-produced music programming, hosted by students and community volunteers. According to the article:

"We are very interested in keeping the station on the air, so we could look at selling or transferring the license, as well as having community partners support it," [Vice President for Instruction Clayton] Alred said.

...According to [former interim station manager Phil] Ebensberger, not having an academic program tied to the station keeps students from being able to staff it. [Odessa College Board President Richard] Abalos agreed with Ebensberger, saying the station doesn't produce careers as currently set up. However, Ebensberger said such a program may not be the best solution.

'There aren't that many jobs out there in radio. If you can't guarantee a job, will people sign up?' Ebensberger asked."

College Applicant Gives Shout out to Fears about College Radio Funding

This is just a tiny blurb, but I found it interesting that in this father/son-authored column in the Wall Street Journal there was mention of concerns about college radio funding. In the section of the piece written by the high school senior son, Isaac Yoder writes about his fears that with the economic downturn some of the things he was excited about during his college search may be threatened by budget cuts. He writes:

"Many of the qualities that schools advertised when I was putting together my short list may be reduced significantly or cut altogether. Will some of the very things that made a school appeal to me in the first place be gone? What if they cut funding for their radio stations, for example? What if they cut back the English department?"

I think he makes an interesting point and it's a good reminder that students may be drawn to a school in part because of extra-curriculars like college radio.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Radio and South by Southwest

South by Southwest just drew to a close in Austin after over a week of panels, films, and music (apparently 1900 music acts!). I feel a bit remiss in not writing about this year's epic indie (and not so indie) music fest, so I'll share a few college radio-related tidbits.

As was the case last year, a number of college, community and non-commercial radio stations set up camp in Austin this week to capture performances, chat with musicians, and blog about the insane amount of music taking place. It's actually quite overwhelming just sifting through the coverage of SXSW online. There's so much out there that I kind of wonder how much of it the average person is interested in consuming online.

KVRX, the student radio station from University of Texas, presented a number of showcases during SXSW.

Radio K, the AM/FM station from University of Minnesota (recently profiled on the CMJ Staff Blog) sent a team down to Austin and broadcast live performances out of a studio there on March 18-20. You can see their coverage on their blog.

KJHK (University of Kansas) sent a few of their DJs down to SXSW to soak in the festival and blog about it. They also covered it all on one of their DJ's Twitter pages, as did many of the other stations in attendance.

WFMU once again trekked to Austin and organized a showcase along with San Francisco indie record store Aquarius on March 20th. The show was also broadcast live on WFMU. A review on Pop Matters captures the essence of the show.

KEXP, the Seattle station affiliated with Experience Music Project and University of Washington, also set up shop in Austin, broadcasting performances from a studio there March 18th to 20th. They aired video streams of the live performances and also featured interviews and KEXP DJs spinning music between bands. You can see their extensive blog coverage of SXSW on their website, where you can catch show reviews and a lot of great photography. They were also one of the many stations helping co-present NPR's "Music for the Right Brain Show."

KCRW, the public radio station from Santa Monica College broadcast their "Morning Becomes Eclectic" show live from Austin on March 19 and 20th. They also sponsored a music showcase on March 18th featuring School of Seven Bells, Port O'Brien and others. You can learn more about their SXSW schedule, see videos and view photos here.

NPR sponsored a show called "Music for the Right Brain," featuring a number of bands. On the NPR website you can actually listen to entire performances from this year's SXSW (as well as stuff from 2007 and 2008), including The Decemberists, Dirty Projectors, and the Avett Brothers. They also have blog posts, podcasts, and videos that cover the festivities. Last year it was pretty easy to figure out which NPR stations were broadcasting bits from SXSW, but in 2009 I have yet to find details about that.

KUT, Austin's public radio station from University of Texas also did a lot for SXSW this year. Lucky for them, the are IN Austin, so they were able to have musicians come by their radio station for performances and interviews. They hosted their own showcase at Momo's (and streamed it live) and it looks like they streamed a bunch of really cool live club performances from The Mohawk too (including AIDS Wolf, Akron/Family, Hold Steady, Vivian Girls, Camera Obscura, The Mae Shi, HEALTH and Monotonix). Their website actually features multiple streaming channels...kind of a cool way for them to feature different content for different listeners (including one channel for Momo's and one for Mohawk shows). You can also catch archived SXSW performances on their website too.

Texas Public Radio (which operates three stations in Texas: KPAC, KSTX, and KTXI) also did some SXSW coverage, although it looks like they mainly covered the film festival.

Sirius XM also broadcast performances from SXSW, discussions with bloggers about the festival, and musician interviews across a number of their channels. Stations that participated included XMU, The Loft, Underground Garage and Outlaw Country, according to this post on Orbitcast.

KGSR, an Austin commercial radio station, also did live broadcasts from SXSW, as well as featured in-studio interviews and performances throughout the week.

And, in terms of television, DirecTV once again presented band and journalist interviews, acoustic sets, and live club performances from SXSW over satellite TV, including a set by Echo and the Bunnymen.

That's a whole lot of radio. If I missed your station's participation in SXSW this year, let me know. By the way, if you want to compare this year's scene to last year, you can see my SXSW post from 2008.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Radio Station Field Trip 13 - WBAR at Barnard College

Entrance to WBAR in Basement of Reid Hall at Barnard College

When I was in New York for the IBS College Radio Conference, I also took the opportunity to visit Barnard College radio station WBAR. Thanks so much to Khalid Ahmed, one of the WBAR Tech Directors (and a Columbia College junior), for getting up early on a Friday morning (March 6th) to tour me around the station.

On-Air Studio at WBAR

WBAR is a student-run station and operates somewhat in contrast to 60+ year-old Columbia University station WKCR-FM, which has a more formalized schedule largely made up of jazz programming. WBAR is a more recent addition to campus, with its first campus-only broadcasts in 1993.

Board at WBAR

The history of WBAR (at least until 2002) is told on an old website documenting a bit about the station. According to the timeline, WBAR began as an idea in the late 1980s and started broadcasting on campus in 1993 (via FM carrier current). They began broadcasting over 1680 AM in 1998 and began netcasting in 1999. These days WBAR is primarily an online-only station, although the FM carrier current broadcast can still be heard if one's in very close proximity to the station (Khalid guessed it could be heard 10 feet away). Khalid told me that it made sense to focus online since "very few people would tune in to the radio" and it's "easier to access." He added that they have "listeners from all over the world...Australia...Japan" and that people have either read about them or "find us by chance."

In addition to netcasting, their websites have featured show archives and tools that allow you to scan through old playlists and search the WBAR catalog.

WBAR has attracted a lot of attention for its on-campus events, hosting an amazing lineup of bands at numerous shows every year, including their free all-ages WBAR-B-Q (their 15th birthday bash in 2008 featured at least 15 performances including Japanther, Crystal Stilts, Wizards of the Coast and Liturgy). Khalid told me that the WBAR-B-Q every spring is the station's "big day" and they typically have 8 to 10 bands playing outside at Barnard. This long-standing tradition of putting on shows on campus began even before WBAR's first broadcasts. A recent article in campus paper, Columbia Spectator states,

"As the focus in new music has moved away from physical formats, live shows have gained popularity. Many college radio stations, including WBAR, have embraced this trend, applying their resources and expertise to involvement in their local music scenes...

By reorienting its focus towards organizing and hosting shows on campus, WBAR has become more influential than ever before. Our shows are not only a way for both sides of our sometimes divided campus to come together for a much-needed break and for Columbia students to hear new live music, but they also increase our presence off campus and give back to the community. Furthermore, hosting concerts is one way for us to showcase and boost on-campus talent. We have always sought to help local labels and artists, and our audiences often extend beyond Columbia and Barnard students."

Door to WBAR Office

Currently WBAR is located in two small rooms in the dark basement of a Barnard College dormitory (Reid). The studio and main record library are in one room and behind a second locked door down the hall there's an office full of random equipment, CDs, vinyl, promo-filled mail tubs, and a few stray cockroaches. The non-glamorous atmosphere definitely reminded me of many other stations, but particularly conjured up flashbacks of my time at WHRC (nestled in the bowels of the cafeteria, where dishwashing and rotten food odors wafted into our offices), where we were in an equally isolated space.

WBAR Office

I was told by Khalid that it's a temporary location for the station since their former home was in the now demolished Student Center. You can view some pictures of the old WBAR and the 2007 move on the Prometheus Radio website. The plan is for the station to return to the Student Center after it is rebuilt, probably in 2010. Since the station is now housed in a dorm, all DJs are required to be affiliated with Barnard or Columbia and the General Manager of the station must be a Barnard student. Upon arrival at the station, everyone must sign in and leave an ID with security. Before the move the station was more open to non-student DJs.

Record Library in Room Outside On-Air Studio

Khalid told me that WBAR is entirely freeform, saying, "we don't tell our DJs what to play." And a first-person account from a DJ from 2008 nicely expresses that freedom:

"With our small fan base behind us, we are able to use WBAR as a completely free space to play and say practically whatever we want... We play songs that would have absolutely no place on any other station. We play songs our friends have written, songs from commercials we like, songs far too long for any traditional radio format, and we get away with it. College radio is a bit rebellious in this way. Sure, we forego thousands of listeners, but we do it all for our freedom. We are courageous pioneers daring to go where Ryan Seacrest never would.

For us, as three ragamuffin college freshman radio DJs, WBAR has been a learning experience. The small listenership and online-only broadcast takes a great deal of pressure off of us to be perfect. We are not required to pass FCC tests or to intern with an older DJ prior to being on the air. We are, essentially, thrown into the lion’s den that is the radio station...

At a school full of the pressures of perfection, grade inflation, competition, and relentless obligation, WBAR is a tiny oasis. It is not, admittedly, flawless. Not many people listen to the station, and most DJs have no formal training. It is the complete opposite of Columbia’s academic environment. WBAR is a place for exploration, innovation, and huge, messy, stupid mistakes. It is not boisterous or flashy, but humble and inquisitive. Students who may compete in class come together on the radio, supporting one another and waking up at all hours to hear a friend’s show. While doing my show at WBAR, I am free for two hours to not worry about getting the right answer or saying the right thing. My only job is to please my nine listeners, who are difficult to disappoint."

WBAR Studio Before the DJs Arrived

When I arrived at WBAR on a Friday morning there was no DJ on the air. Khalid told me that if a DJ doesn't show up, then the departing DJ is told to lock the station and put a CD on repeat. Additionally, during winter break the station is not staffed and airs CDs on repeat as well. During the summer, however, the station is open to high school students and community DJs.

One of the Friday Morning DJs

As Khalid and I spoke, the 10am DJs (2 guys from Columbia College) showed up for their shift. They played a lot of music from my own college years (and earlier) including Beastie Boys, Elvis Costello, Ramones and Beach Boys interspersed that with banter. I was amused that at one point they put a caller on the air by holding the speaker on an iPhone up to the studio microphone. I asked Khalid about that and he said there was an issue with the phone line going into the board. He also told me that there are a lot of team shows since "it can get a little boring here...people enjoy their shows more when they have their friends with them."

The Music Department doesn't control the amount of new music that DJs play. It sounds like more of a suggestion that DJs check out new stuff on a shelf in the studio. Khalid added that, "quite a few shows really just play current stuff." He also mentioned that in addition to music shows, there are a variety of talk shows that discuss news, sports, and politics.

Khalid Shows Me one of His Favorite Random Albums

WBAR does still add vinyl to their library. Khalid told me, "we don't really get complete albums, but we do get a lot of singles." He admitted that most DJs, however, are playing music off of their laptops or iPods. He said that some do play vinyl and CDs. The station does add mp3s and DJs can stream them to the board from a computer. Khalid said that he's hoping to get a new computer that will be devoted to mp3 storage and pointed out that it's "a lot easier to click a file" than play a CD.

The entire DJ staff is made up of about 80 to 100 students and they meet once a semester for a general station staff meeting. Managers and Directors at WBAR meet weekly. Although the staff is mostly students, Khalid said that they have had grad students and faculty DJs too. It's a pretty simple process to become a DJ. Students apply at the beginning of a semester and then are given some "pretty basic" training that takes about 15 minutes. DJs are told which words not to say on the air and are asked to keep the station clean and put back their CDs. Khalid said the most violated rule is the one about putting away CDs.

On-air Studio at WBAR
(Note the sign listing off the dirty words that can't be said over the air)

In terms of social networking and promoting the station, Khalid said, "we try to flyer around the neighborhood" to promote shows and WBAR. He mentioned that they also talk to local bloggers to keep them informed about upcoming events. They have a MySpace Page and a page on Facebook and a few DJs are also on (and there's a dedicated WBAR group). It also seems that WBAR is well-known at Barnard and Khalid told me that they always get a large turnout at campus events.

Thanks so much to Khalid and the Friday morning DJs at WBAR for their hospitality!

Coming up next will be my write-up on my own station KFJC....Stay tuned.

Previous Spinning Indie Radio Station Field Trips:

Field Trip to WECB at Emerson College
College Radio Field Trip 2 - Cal Poly's KCPR
College Radio Field Trip 3 - Notre Dame's WVFI
Radio Station Field Trip 4 - WFMU in Jersey City
Radio Station Field Trip 5 - East Village Radio in NYC
Radio Station Field Trip 6 - WNYU in New York City
Radio Station Field Trip 7 - Northwestern's WNUR
Radio Station Field Trip 8 - Stanford's KZSU
Radio Station Field Trip 9 - University of San Francisco's KUSF
Radio Station Field Trip 10 - Santa Clara University Station KSCU
Radio Station Field Trip 11 - UC Berkeley's KALX
Radio Station Field Trip 12 - KSJS at San Jose State University

Monday, March 16, 2009

IBS Recap Part 5 - Streaming, Webcasting and Archiving

Trudi Schifter, Andrew Budd, Denis McNamara, Anthony Zaragoza, George Capalbo, and Ken Freedman gear up for the
"Streaming, Webcasting and Archiving" Panel on March 7, 2009

The final presentation that I attended at the IBS College Radio conference in New York City last week was "Streaming, Webcasting and Archiving." I was eagerly anticipating this panel, as I'm personally very confused about all of the rules and regulations surrounding archiving in particular. In my travels I've run across the gamut: stations who only have webcasts or podcasts (and no terrestrial signals), stations who are only terrestrial, and those who are on FM, stream, and offer archives or podcasts. Some, like KSJS (as mentioned in my recent field trip report), have decided to turn off their webstream due to concerns about complex reporting rules.

Ken Freedman, Station Manager of WFMU, moderated the panel and had a lot of great insights to share. First of all he pointed out that due to streaming, WFMU has more listeners online than over their FM signal.

The first discussion topic related to formats used by stations to stream and archive programming. Most said that they archived or did podcasts using mp3. Some were experimenting with Flash and AAC+ for streaming.

In terms of rules and regulations, Ken Freedman told the group that IBS member stations should take advantage of the fact that IBS is taking care of some of the SoundExchange and RIAA requirements through 2011. He was very encouraging, saying, "this is a very good start archiving...and streaming" since SoundExchange recently struck a deal with IBS. He said, "For the first time in many years...[there's an] agreeement in place." If your station has been reluctant to go online, be sure to contact IBS to find out the details.

Ken also mentioned that at WFMU they've worked out their own deals with artists and record labels, asking for waivers so that the station can stream and archive their material. He pointed out the myriad of webcasting rules, such as not being able to pre-announce what one is playing or play 3 tracks in a row by the same artist. He added that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) has some "odd restrictions," and gave the example that according to the law, you can't say, "here's the new Radiohead record." He said that there are many laws on the books related to webcasting that haven't been enforced, although he relayed a story about David Byrne getting a "cease and desist" letter for palying an hour of Missy Elliott on his online radio show.

Others pointed out that their stations have agreements in place with SoundExchange and are paying the appropriate royalty fees. Andrew Budd, a software developer who builds archiving solutions for college stations, talked about his work for WRTC, saying that by creating an archive, they've doubled the amount of time that people listen to the station.

There was also a discussion about stations using mobile platforms to broadcast to cell phones. George Capalbo from Backbone (which has created an IBS College Radio Tuner application) made the observation that the iPhone is akin to the "advent of the transistor radio." He told a story about his 93-year-old neighbor spotting him with an iPhone to his ear thinking it was a radio.

Ken Freedman added that WFMU created the first iPhone stream. He said that before the iPhone, their mobile page had very little response. He added that the iPhone stream "just works really well" and it changed everything.

Someone in the audience said that the iPod Touch also has a college radio tuner.

In terms of copyright issues, another audience member asked about the legality of doing mp3 podcasts of radio shows. Andrew Budd suggested that playing an archived stream that cannot be downloaded is much safer and "avoids the rights issues." Ken Freedman added, "it is illegal to podcast your [music] shows" and that show archives can only be posted for 2 weeks. Additionally, he said that archives are required to be stored in 5-hour increments. He said that if a station does decide to do podcasts, that it's important to use open-source music from websites such as FreeMusicArchive, CCMixter or The Internet Archive (where you can search for some open source music).

Live performances were also discussed and if a station is planning to podcast a performance, it's important to get a signed waiver from the artist. It was also pointed out that if the band does a cover of a song they didn't write, then you cannot podcast it.

It was an informative weekend in New York. There were so many panels that I only caught a small slice of the conference, so if I missed any vital IBS highlights, let me know.

Previous IBS Conference Posts:

IBS Conference Recap Part 1 - Tom Moon's Plea for Musical Exploration
IBS Recap Part 2 - The Future of Music and Radio
IBS Recap Part 3 - Community Radio and Low Power FM
IBS Recap Part 4 - Independent Labels, Local Music and Program Director Sessions

Thursday, March 12, 2009

IBS Recap Part 4 - Independent Labels, Local Music and Program Director Sessions

Independent Labels and Your Station Panel on March 7, 2009
(Rew Starr, JP Blues, Rick Eberle, Steven Velardo, Peter Field, and Jenn de la Vega)

On Day 2 of the IBS College Radio conference on Saturday, March 7th, I checked out panels related to independent labels, local music, and the role of Program Director in college radio.

Indie Labels and Your Station

First up was the panel "Independent Labels and Your Station." Jenn de la Vega from Mushpot Records talked a bit about her experience being at University of California-Davis radio station KDVS. The station is unique in that it also has its own record label KDVS Recordings. She said that the label focused primarily on local music and that they were lucky in the fact that student fees at Davis helped to pay for special projects, including the label.

Panelist and musician Rew Starr mentioned that changes in the economy seem to be affecting major labels more than the indies. She said that majors are having to cut down on expenses, but with indies, "we're so used to doing everything this way [on the cheap]." She said that touring can be a struggle for bands. Peter Field of Backlight Records said that there's a lot that college radio stations can do to help make it easier for bands to come to their towns (or even nearby big cities). He said that when he was in college they would put bands up in vacant dorm rooms so that they could have a free place to stay, adding, "if lodging is not a financial concern, that's one-third of the way" to getting a show in your town and getting a band to play at your station.

Others mentioned that even if you have a small station, it's still possible to have bands play in-studio. Sometimes there are restrictions, especially with stations in dorms or school buildings that have limitations on noise.

The panel talked a bit about digital music distribution and digital download cards. Some mentioned that there are stations that don't accept digital music submissions. An audience member said that his station is trying to go digital-only and is working on installing an automation system and digitizing their vinyl library. He argued that digital music will make it easier for the DJs to find things. Someone else pointed out that he still enjoys the physical product of a CD or piece of vinyl with artwork and information. Peter said that if a station wants a physical copy of a release he's happy to send it, he just doesn't want to waste CDs.

In terms of college radio relations with labels, Jenn said that she really appreciates honest feedback from stations that's more descriptive than just telling her if something is in heavy or medium rotation. She said, "be honest with us...if it's not a good honest," adding that it's OK to tell her, "we don't have a place for this." She also said that people should understand that it's also a "crazy dynamic" at promo companies too, with high turnover, as is often the case at college radio stations too. Others suggested that stations post their playlists online (on websites or blogs), so that they can easily be found by artists and labels. Blogging was mentioned as an important tool, with Rew joking that blog "is the new black." Peter added that music bloggers have also built careers around their blogs, including a PR person who he works with.

We also heard mention of scams in which college stations are being asked to pay for music by promo companies. Someone in the audience said that her school is charged a certain fee and for that they get one CD a month. Publicist Rick Eberle said that there are "a lot of sharks in this business."

On the flip side, in the "local music" panel Peter mentioned that often indie labels are happy to provide promo copies of CDs for giveaways. He suggested that it doesn't hurt to contact labels if you're doing an event or fundraiser and would like to give away CDs to listeners. He said that it's great free promotion for the bands, so it helps to benefit both the station and the musicians.

Local Music and College Radio

Featuring the Local Music Scene on Your Station panel
(Peter Field, Jeremy Swiger, Rich L'Hommedieu, George from Backbone, Phil Minissale, Rick Eberle)

Panelist Rich L'Hommedieu from WUSB said that he thinks college radio stations "need to reach out to the local music scene." At his station, they help support and promote local artists by announcing local music events several times a day and by doing genre-specific listings like "blues news" during specialty shows. Jeremy Swiger of WVYC added that with social networking it's so much easier to find local bands than in the past. Beyond that, Alvin Clay of Quadpain Media said that it's good to just get out to see and talk to bands in local clubs. Mike Ferrari of WCWP added that doing events at clubs is also a good way for stations, listeners, and bands to connect. Additionally, Jeremy pointed out that on-campus shows are beneficial and can be a low-cost way to present local bands in an all ages environment.

Rich said that college radio still has the potential to "break new bands." He implored the DJs in the audience to listen to new things, which are often by local artists. He said, "you don't have...someone saying you have to play this" and "you can be the catalyst to create a [music] scene." It was suggested that even if you live in a major city, you can help the local scene by co-presenting events at clubs or even with other college radio stations.

There were also a lot of great tips for people in small towns or in towns with a limited number of venues. Peter Field pointed out that unlikely places like Charlottesville, Virginia have thriving music scenes due to the multitude of music blogs (16!) and unexpected venues, like a tea shop (Tea Bazaar). He suggested that people seek out alternative venues and sponsors for events in order to help facilitate live music in one's town. Rich said that there's a regular music event in his town at a luncheonette. Others mentioned empty theaters, restaurants, and VFW halls as potential venues.

Rich added that it's good to make your station a "center...rallying point" for local musicians. Mike said that "it's good radio" to have bands play live over the air. He suggested interviewing bands, doing podcasts, and creating compilation CDs in order to support local music. Rich agreed, saying, "excite people" about your local scene.

Flyer for Show Co-Presented by WBAR

Program Director Forum

Throughout the conference there were various panels devoted to specific college radio roles (Music Directors, Station Managers, etc.). I caught a bit of the Program Director session and it was fascinating to hear what the big issues were in the world of PDs. PD Natalie Camillo from WVYC recounted a story about getting complaints from faculty members about Slayer being played on the station during the middle of the day. She said that she ultimately adjusted the schedule so that metal shows now happen after 10pm. This was largely the result of some listener surveys she did to determine who listens to the station when. Something else that she has to contend with is that her station is in a building that is inaccessible between 1am and 8am. Since staff members and DJs can't be there overnight, she runs automated programming during those hours. Others on the panel said that their stations do not do automated programming, but understand why it's helpful for WVYC. Natalie added, "if you can be in your building all night...have DJs."

The panel also discussed how staff and DJs communicate with each other. Some mentioned that their stations have email lists or Yahoo groups to facilitate communication. Natalie argued that as Program Director she feels it's her duty to be on email constantly so that she can quickly address any issues that come up. Gabz Ciofani of Black Squirrel Radio at Kent State said that she's a fan of doing "little team building things" with DJs. She said at her station they do vinyl listening parties and have group dinners and that these activities help "connect you with other DJs" and "get ideas flowing" for the station.

Chris Sampson of WHUS added that he thinks Program Directors should have a good relationship with DJs, pointing out that he'd met a PD who was proud of the fact that DJs were afraid of him. He said, "why would you...want to...cultivate that kind of drama?" He added, "don't go to the dark side." Gabz agreed, saying, "we are all DJs first...keep that in perspective." During the Q&A with the audience, someone mentioned that DJs appreciate it when they get compliments from PDs about their show. Someone else encouraged PDs to listen to shows and call DJs to let them know that they are listening and offer positive feedback. Even if PDs can't listen in real time, many stations have archive servers set up so that shows can be tuned in later.

In conclusion, Natalie encouraged PDs to "be a a mom...nurture." Ben Shaiken of WHUS added that there are DJs at his station who have been on the air for 30 years, which is longer than he's been alive. He acknowledged the important history of the station, saying that he thinks it's vital to "respect the institution that you're serving."

Previous IBS Conference Posts:

IBS Conference Recap Part 1 - Tom Moon's Plea for Musical Exploration
IBS Recap Part 2 - The Future of Music and Radio
IBS Recap Part 3 - Community Radio and Low Power FM

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

IBS Recap Part 3 - Community Radio and Low Power FM

View from the back of the room during community radio panel

I was excited to see that an entire panel at the IBS college radio conference last week was devoted to community radio and low power FM. I'm a fan of community stations like East Village Radio and WFMU and throughout the conference was growing more intrigued about New York station WBAI (a Pacifica station with a number of DJs in attendance).

Andalusia Knoll of Prometheus Radio Project talked about her work helping groups set up stations. Her colleague Andy Gunn added that their mission at Prometheus is "to make radio that's participatory" and "help facilitate small community groups" to get on the air. One of their recent projects was helping the Chicago Independent Radio Project in their quest for a radio license for a new community station after changes at Loyola University station WLUW made it more inhospitable for non-student DJs as the station was rumored to become more student-oriented. (Side note: Has this happened? The current WLUW schedule seems to have a lot of community programming and eclectic music shows. Has the station noticeably changed since last year?)

Emmanuel Goldstein (of WBAI and WUSB) pointed out that when he began in radio, every college had a station. He said he was saddened that increasingly college radio stations have been taken over by their universities, become public radio affiliates, or have been sold off to religious groups. An audience member reflected on this situation, recounting the tale of a college station whose programming has been increasingly taken over by NPR programming, leaving little room for student involvement. Emmanuel added that he's a fan of the local flavor of non-commercial stations and said that he hopes that the death of commercial radio "will lead to the rebirth" of non-commercial stations.

DJ Delphine Blue (WBAI and East Village Radio) compared her experiences on commercial and community stations, saying, "community radio has so much more of a connection...with the listener." She added, "I have also worked in commercial doesn't have a heart...I would never stop doing...non-commercial..." She also said that "young people today did not experience radio" before it changed into a more homogenized medium.

Not mentioned in the panel, but now on my radar is the Common Frequency Radio Project, another group working to get more people involved with non-commercial, community and low power radio. Jenn de la Vega of Mushpot Records (and formerly of college station KDVS) just sent me a note telling me about the plight of Todd Urick (KDVS alum), a major contributor to college, community and low power radio projects with Common Frequency. He's having some big health issues and I wanted to just pass along information on how to help.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

IBS Recap Part 2 - The Future of Music and Radio

A few of the "Radio 2009" panelists
Allen Myers, Denis McNamara, Chuck Platt, Laura Deen Johnson, Joe Rock

The next two panels that I took in at the IBS College Radio Conference were focused on the current state of the music and radio industry and what the future might hold. Alternative radio pioneer Denis McNamara (former Program Director of WLIR who got his start in college radio at WNYU) moderated "The Future of Music and the Music Industry" on Friday, March 6th. Following that panel was "Radio 2009: The State of the Medium." Here are some highlights of both panels.

Role of Piracy

Denis started off the conversation talking about how the music industry was at a "crossroads," but that the "future of music...has never been stronger." When he mentioned the role of piracy, panelist Margo Drgos of Organic Entertainment said, " not the issue...the business has operated on a faulty business model for too long" and that piracy is a "symptom" of the inherent issues in the music industry.

More Radio Choices

In terms of radio, Denis argued that there will be even more radio choices for consumers in the future. Right now he's working with vTuner on radios that will be able to broadcast 16,000 stations from all over the world. E. Michael Harrington added that new technology is always viewed as a threat by "business." However, he said that because of new technology, like the iPhone, he listens to "far more radio" today.

Vinyl Revival: Is it the Music or the Medium?

Radio and Music Industry vet Mel Phillips then expressed his concern about there being too much emphasis on particular music mediums, rather than the music itself. He held up a copy of AM New York, with the cover story "Back in the Groove: Vinyl Records Scratch Their Way Back onto Music Lovers' Shelves," announcing his displeasure, saying that vinyl is not the future. You could cut the tension in the room with a knife as a few members of the audience protested, arguing that vinyl is still relevant and never went away.

Later in the day I asked Mel what he meant, as I was also kind of surprised by his anger over a cover story about vinyl resurgence. He told me that he isn't against vinyl, just against the conflation of one particular medium (vinyl) over the music itself.

Yet, there are still debates about the value of various forms of music and many in the music biz are pointing out that part of the reason that music is so devalued by young people is that it is less tangible in its digital, disposable form. On the flip side, vinyl and CDs are more tangible forms of music and may be garnering more respect as commodities.

I don't think vinyl is necessarily the future, but it certainly isn't going away. Vinyl sales are up. Stores focused on vinyl still exist. Many college radio stations play vinyl religiously and lovingly preserve their vinyl libraries. And some record labels are still quite devoted to the medium. As I stopped by an Urban Outfitters in New York City this weekend, I saw an entire vinyl display of both new and classic albums for sale. Many also included a free digital download.

And, vinyl has its benefits. It sounds great and has more room for artwork and artist information. Additionally, there are things artists can do with vinyl that can't be done with CDs like experiments with grooves (what DJ doesn't love a locked groove?), records that play from the outside in, and sound experiments that rely on the inherent fragility of vinyl (Christian Marclay's "Record without a Cover"). And, as Tom Moon mentioned in an earlier panel, there's some music that just isn't available on any other medium right now, so it has so be sought out on vinyl.

Every medium has its benefits and it just so happens that the benefits of MP3s are more touted these days than the benefits of vinyl, CD, tape, reel-to-reel, 8-track, cylinder or wire recordings.

New Model for Music Industry?

PR guy Mike Kornfeld said, "We're due for a revolution in the music industry" and "you, as college radio people, are the foot soldiers for that industry." Margo added, "I don't think it's going to be one business model." She mentioned the book, The Long Tail, as she speculated that there will be lots of "niche markets" and that "some artists will only sell vinyl...and make a living...[there's] no one size fits all's art." At the same time, she pointed out, "let's not demonize major labels...[there's] no one...model."

Future of Radio

College Radio DJ at WBAR (Barnard College)

Alec Foege, author of"Right of the Dial: The Rise of Clear Channel and the Fall of Commercial Radio," pointed out that the Telecommunications Act of 1996 "removed all ownership caps for radio groups" and that this led to Clear Channel owning "over 1200 stations nationwide." He added that Clear Channel "began programming nationally instead of locally." During the "Future of Radio" panel he added that nationalizing radio "never really worked," making it a "more exciting time [now] for local radio."

Many of the panelists were optimistic about the future of radio. Denis McNamara said, "I think radio has a brilliant and bright future" and that one of the benefits of radio is that there's the "...magical power of another human being presenting music to you." He distinguished radio from services like Pandora for that very reason. Allen Myers, formerly of the FCC, sad, "I'm concerned about the future of radio" and added that he likes Internet radio, but that it has "limitations." Jeremy Coleman of Sirius XM said that he had an "enormous amount of optimism and some jealousy" about the future of radio. He argued that it's exciting to come in to something "at a time of flux" and that it is a "breeding ground for creativity."

An audience member, Larry Miller from New England Institute of Art's All Independent Radio (and formerly of freeform station KMPX in San Francisco back in the early days of FM) said that being in radio during a time of transition in the 1960s was really exciting. He said it was "a bunch of crazy people" and added, "I'd like to see history repeat itself." He also talked about the situation at the college station where he works, saying that he sees fewer students coming to the station because they aren't inspired by what's on radio today. I'd never heard that argument before and it makes so much sense. Since the radio landscape has changed, it may not have the allure that it did to people of my generation and older. With all the expected changes in radio, perhaps more college kids will embrace the power of the airwaves.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

IBS Conference Recap Part 1 - Tom Moon's Plea for Musical Exploration

Tom Moon Waxes Philosophical about His Passion for Music

I was in New York City over the weekend at the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System's School and College Radio Conference. It was my first time at an IBS conference (they've been going on for nearly 70 years) and it was an intriguing slice of the student radio world. Compared with the CMJ Music Marathon, the crowd was a bit different, with a range of station personnel (MDs, techies, PDs, GMs, etc.), including many station advisers, professors, and old-timers from the record and radio biz. It also seemed more regional, with the vast majority of panelists and attendees hailing from the New York/New Jersey area. As one of the host stations, Stony Brook University's WUSB on Long Island understandably had a huge contingent, with many of its staff members on panels throughout the conference.

There was a lot of talk at the conference about the future of radio, the music industry, and technology; as well as numerous sessions about the ins and outs of running a college (or high school) radio station and tips for DJs.

Vinyl Records for Sale at Urban Outfitters in NYC (many are on Mr. Moon's list of essentials)

The first session that drew me in was journalist Tom Moon's keynote on Friday, March 6th in which he talked about his book 1000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die and how he feels that the record industry (and commercial radio) has let down consumers by making the assumption that music listeners don't want to explore new sounds.

Tom began by reiterating a thought that was a big theme at Noise Pop's Industry Noise conference, saying that music fans are in a "weird zone" today, with "everything at their fingertips," but not much guidance about what to listen to. At the same time, he argued another common refrain these days, that "music is essentially a devalued commodity." He blamed commercial radio in part, saying that it no longer exists to "develop curious listeners."

He praised college radio (he listened to KCRW, WXPN and a lot of online radio while researching his book) for continuing to surprise listeners with interesting music and added that a huge benefit of radio is that it "is the best way to encounter music" and that it's a very different experience than listening to music that one has already selected and chosen to download.

Tom's book, like college radio, is designed to "facilitate exploration." He implored college radio DJs to embrace the medium and to "give people more than they can get at the commercial marketplace." He added that college radio listeners are eager to learn about new music and are looking for a "tour guide with a flashlight" to guide them to it.

Oldies but Goodies at a NYC Record Shop "House of Oldies"

Another point that Tom made was that record labels used to not only focus on new artists, but also "advocate for the work that had come before" with executives who were committed to unearthing "lost gems" in their catalogs. It saddened him that this doesn't happen today, with many influential pieces of music completely off the radar of young listeners and nearly impossible to find.

When he was talking about this, I couldn't help but think about the massive music libraries at many college radio stations and the amazing opportunity for DJs to shed light on masterpieces from the past and present. Many stations regularly highlight cool picks from the past, bringing them to the attention of both DJs and listeners by putting them back into rotation. I think this is an excellent practice and another reason to preserve a station's "back catalog."

Music Exploration in the Stacks at KUSF

Not that long ago I heard an amazing track from Virginia Astley on KUSF that was brand new to me. I went back to my station's library and found the LP, along with a bunch of other albums by her that hadn't been played in nearly a decade. It was such a treat to realize we had it and then give it a spin on the turntable at my station and potentially turn on a bunch of new listeners to her music, just as I'd be clued in by another college radio DJ.

An audience member asked Tom what advice he'd give to someone at a college station who is being pushed by the students and station adviser to focus on mainstream music. Tom suggested that, "the perceived mainstream thing...can be the bridge" to more adventurous music and argued that DJs can help listeners expand their horizons and make musical connections. He added, "...the beauty of radio is...for every....[person]...saying 'what the hell is that?' there's another...[person]...looking it up."

At the end of the session, a DJ in the audience from WUMD-FM (University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth) shared her station's strategy for getting new DJs to explore unfamiliar music in the station library. When new DJs are going through training, they are required to do their first two shows using only vinyl. I love it! In fact, that's a great way to get all DJs to expand their playlists.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Radio Station Field Trip 12 - KSJS at San Jose State University

Hallway Mural at KSJS

I'm getting close to completing my tour of San Francisco Bay Area college radio stations. On Tuesday night, March 3rd , I braved the torrential rains to visit San Jose State University's radio station KSJS. Thanks to General Manager Nick Martinez and Subversive Rock Music Director German Toledo for inviting me down to the station. Unfortunately I missed their weekly staff meeting, but the station was still abuzz with students working on projects.

On-Air Studio at KSJS

KSJS, aka "Ground Zero Radio," started broadcasting in 1963 over FM. These days they are at 90.5 FM (they switched around a bit and were 90.7 until 1992), with 1500 watts of power. Although they were an early online broadcaster, rumored to have begun in 1992, their music webcast initially went silent in 2002. According to Nick, the station resumed netcasting for a period of time after Sound Exchange was formed, but ceased music netcasts entirely in July 2007 due to the complexities of reporting requirements for music.

KSJS is still legal to broadcast online, having registered with Sound Exchange, and does continue to air netcasts for sports and public affairs programs. Nick told me that when he turned off the Internet feed an interesting thing happened: the "programming got better," and the station started to focus more on locally-oriented programming. Additionally, the free weekly, San Jose Metro, began awarding them best college radio station (which they also were given a nod for in 2008, along with mentions for some of the best local radio DJs).

DJ Kevin Foley in KSJS On-Air Studio

Nick told me that he was optimistic about college radio, saying, "satellite is basically dead and everyone said that would kill radio." He argued that he thinks that radio in generally is going to have to shift to local, community-oriented programming in order to remain relevant.

One of my tapes of the 1985 KSJS "Top 90.7" countdown that I recorded off the radio

Back in the 1980s, KSJS was one of the stations that I regularly listened to and I actually found a cassette tape of one of their Top 90.7 Countdowns that they used to do on New Year's Eve. I brought my tape with me to the visit and some of the current radio station staff mentioned that they didn't recognize many of the bands. One girl even said, "that's from before I was born!"

Programming at KSJS has changed quite a bit in the decades since I made the tape. Nick told me that KSJS is sort of a "hybrid" of two different extremes in college radio. On the one hand it has elements of the more freeform, stations that function like campus clubs and on the other it has the structure of some of the more, rigid, regimented formatted stations. He said, "we're cut right in the middle," telling me that they are unique in that respect.

On-Air Studio Board at KSJS

Nick is on the faculty of San Jose State and runs the radio station as GM. Student managers report to him and they are all responsible for their own department staffs. He said that one must be a student or alum to join the station and everyone on staff must be enrolled in a radio class. Around 115 people make up the current staff and there's about 40% turnover per semester according to Nick. As of 2000, non-student, community members are allowed to participate, but they must register for radio classes as well, at a cost of $700 for "open university" students.

Production Studio

Prior to 2000 there were many more non-students at the station and Nick estimated that the percentage of community DJs was 30% back then. These days the staff is about 97% students and 3% alums. I did actually meet a community DJ, Kevin Foley, who has been at KSJS since 1993 as a jazz DJ. He told me that he got "grandfathered" in when the rules changed due to the dearth of student jazz DJs at the time.

On-Air Studio

In order to get on the air, one must first take a radio class, a DJ training class, do four to five weeks of in-studio training with a DJ, and then pass an exam. Brand-new DJs may do graveyard shifts, but it's not required if they are deemed ready for regular fill-ins. An interesting thing about overnight shifts at KSJS is that if they are open, then all staff members are potentially required to fill-in from time to time. Everyone gets put on a rotation for graves, and if your name comes up, then you must take the fill-in. Pretty much everyone on the staff (including managers) is responsible for one to two fill-ins each semester.

KSJS Program Schedule

Each staff member must commit to doing 114 hours of work per semester (16 weeks) at the station. Nick told me that all station work (except for one's show) counts toward the required hours. The schedule (which changes 3 times a year with the semester) is broken down into 4-hour shifts across 5 different music formats: subversive rock, electronic, jazz, hip-hop and alternativo (Spanish language music across a wide range of genres). There's currently only one specialty music show, an oldies show on Fridays from 10am to 2pm hosted by long-time DJ (35 years at KSJS) Dennis Terry. Nick told me that there are some half-hour music interview shows and that a professor will occasionally do a disco/funk show.

In the On-Air Studio, German tries to find room for "sub rock" CDs that have come out of rotation

According to Nick, the record library contains about 20,000 CDs (mostly stored in the On-Air Studio) and around 700 CDs a month come in to the station from labels and promo companies. Currently they have a limited amount of vinyl, mostly in the hip hop and electronic libraries. Nick told me that in the past they had a huge collection of jazz vinyl, but the station donated it to the library. I was also told that more vinyl is in storage and they are working on selling or donating it as well. "Sub Rock" Music Director German said that he rarely gets sent vinyl, perhaps a handful of 7-inches a month.

Some of the "alternativo en espanol" CD collection housed in the on-air studio

Nick told me that there's a push from students at the station to go completely digital and sell off their CDs as well. He mentioned that maybe 20 to 25 percent of their servicing comes as digital downloads and that eventually he'd like to be able to put the music library on a hard drive. However, Nick isn't anxious to do away with CDs just yet, saying that he hates to see DJing becoming "just drag and drop." German agreed, saying, "I definitely prefer physical copies."

CD storage in On-Air Studio

Besides music shows, they air public affairs programming and San Jose State sports. Nick emphasized to me that KSJS is very much a part of the school and that they are largely funded from student activity fees and donations. Faculty and staff are also invited to join the station and their Jazz Director is part of the faculty. He added that "...very few stations get the love that we get from [our] school....and we play death metal...and they still love us."

Nick said, "We are an education service," but acknowledged that with the changes in the radio industry they've also had to change what they are teaching. He pointed out that KSJS is a "tool" for learning not only about radio, but also about management and working within an organization. He said that probably 35-40% of the people on campus know about the station, a pretty high number compared with what I've heard at other stations.

Nick admitted that he's sort of an anomaly because he isn't much of a "music" guy. He said, "I'm not a huge music fan" and told me that he's purchased maybe 12 to 15 albums in his life. What got him into radio, and the station, was that he "fell in love with talk." He joined KSJS when he was a student, initially doing news and sports. Eventually he did music shows as well, became Program Director, and then upon graduation took over the General Manager position from the departing GM.

He said that he does enjoy learning about new music and continues to do music fill-ins at KSJS, saying, "it helps me to get into the mindset of a freshman." Nick also pointed out that the station strives to be "inclusive" in its music programming and the goal is to not be "so niche that people won't understand it." Doing the fill-ins helps him spot-check the station to make sure that the formats are understandable to even non-music types like him.

Subversive Rock Music Director German Toledo

German and I talked about the overall music philosophy of KSJS. He said that being a non-commercial station they aim to play under-represented music and local artists. He's the Music Director in charge of "subversive rock," and when I asked what that meant, he said that it's pretty broad, covering "...punk, metal, indie, ska, hardcore and progressive" music. He also explained that DJs are given shows on a particular format and must play music within that broadly defined genre. He said, "we can't do freeform." He told me that most DJs seem to gravitate to rock and hip hop shows.

In terms of format rules, German told me that "...DJs have to play rotation within their music department...and have to follow a clock per hour (most shows are 4 hours). They must play 3 heavies, 2 mediums, 1 feature and the rest are options." DJs can only play music from the station's library (no music from home) since it's been screened for obscenities and profanity. German also mentioned that some music departments are more diverse (especially alternativo), so some DJs are allowed to play music from sub-genres within their broad category of music format.

Rotation List for Subversive Rock Shows

And, finally, we talked about the community of staff members and listeners and the role of social networking tools. Nick told me that his biggest struggle is keeping a dedicated tech-savvy person on staff to work on projects like social networking features for the website. He said that he'd like to revamp the KSJS website, add blogging features, and create an easy way for people to donate to the station.

As I've heard at many stations, Nick said that a great thing about KSJS is that everyone works well together and that there are no cliques. He told me that the age range of the staff is from 17 to 65 and that "they're all friends." German also mentioned that initially he joined the Television, Radio, Film, Theatre department because he wanted to do film making, but added that now, "I'm all about radio."

Thanks to everyone at KSJS for taking the time to chat and show me around the station. Stick around for my next tour stops: WBAR (Barnard College) and my home station KFJC (Foothill College).

Previous Spinning Indie Radio Station Field Trips:

Field Trip to WECB at Emerson College
College Radio Field Trip 2 - Cal Poly's KCPR
College Radio Field Trip 3 - Notre Dame's WVFI
Radio Station Field Trip 4 - WFMU in Jersey City
Radio Station Field Trip 5 - East Village Radio in NYC
Radio Station Field Trip 6 - WNYU in New York City
Radio Station Field Trip 7 - Northwestern's WNUR
Radio Station Field Trip 8 - Stanford's KZSU
Radio Station Field Trip 9 - University of San Francisco's KUSF
Radio Station Field Trip 10 - Santa Clara University Station KSCU
Radio Station Field Trip 11 - UC Berkeley's KALX