Wednesday, July 22, 2009

University of Idaho Station KUOI as "Personal Mix-Tape for Campus"

Back when I started my Spinning Indie 50 State Virtual Tour of college radio stations a year ago, I was most interested in investigating amazing stations that were in more out of the way places. Stations on the coasts and in big cities get a lot of attention, so it was important for me to learn about places that I had never even heard of.

One of the first stations that got on my radar was KUOI (89.3 FM) at University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho. Despite my best intentions I haven't been able to profile them yet for my tour. But, as luck would have it, they just got a cool write-up in student paper The Argonaut. The piece, "KUOI: College Radio with a Personality," goes into detail about the station's lengthy history (around since 1945), interviews DJs (including one who has been at the station for more than 20 years), and points out that KUOI is a freeform station that values vinyl and has over 50,000 items (records and CDs) in its record library. The article quotes Station Manager Mike Siemens on the station's value:

"'This is a great institution,' Siemens said. 'It’s probably my favorite institution on campus. It’s kind of like your own personal mix-tape for campus, which is cool, because you can really just be yourself.'"

He goes on to explain why the large record library is such a benefit:

"[Station Manager Mike] Siemens said his favorite aspect about the library is its extensive vinyl collection, which has been phased out at many other stations. Siemens encourages his DJs to explore this collection.

'I want to start having ‘dig parties’ where we just get all the DJs together, get some food out there and dig through the records and start spinning them,' Siemens said."

That's really an amazing thing about being at a station with a big vinyl collection. One thing that can be particularly awesome is diving into the history of a place through the written comments on LPs. Just last night at my own station I was delighted to pull out a piece of vinyl from the 1980s whose cover was full of handwritten opinions from staffers from way back when. KEXP is actually doing a cool project called Review Revue on their blog where they include photos of old handwritten album reviews and comments (check this one out for Kate Bush). You just don't get that sort of comment wall-style debate on CD jewel cases or on mp3s. Vive la vinyl!

1 comment:

emily said...

LONG LIVE KUOI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!