Thursday, September 24, 2009

WOXY's MD Chats about His College Radio Past

The way that people listen to (and understand) radio keeps evolving and for many terrestrial radio is a relic of the past. This really hit home when I visited Flirt FM in Ireland and the Station Manager told me that she thinks that some day soon FM radio will simply disappear. Wow.

So, is actually a good example of that. Although it used to be an over-the-air FM station in Ohio; it is now a tremendously popular online-only station focused on indie music. Despite the fact that its home base doesn't really seem to matter these days, the station moved to the music mecca of Austin, Texas a few weeks back.

In his article on, Joe Gross chats with WOXY's Music Director Matt Shiv about both the station and Matt's history in radio. I was interested to see that Matt started doing college radio at the Earlham station while he was still in high school. Additionally, we may have crossed paths while we were both doing the radio thing at Bowling Green State University in late 1990s, as he was the MD at WFAL-AM, the sister station to WBGU-FM (where I was a DJ and Assistant MD). Small world.

WBGU Studio in 1997
(Perhaps Matt Shiva was across the hall at WFAL?)

The other thing that caught my eye was that WOXY is pretty much all digital, playing mostly WAV files that have been crafted from their CD and vinyl collection. According to the article:

"This is old-school, nearly free-form radio. The station, an Ohio modern rock icon that went online-only in 2004, now shares space in a building with ME-TV on South Congress Avenue.

Hanging out, I can't help but be reminded of my alma mater's station, WTJU, community radio for Charlottesville, Va. The vibe is the same, the scads of indie rock are the same.

But the technology sure has changed...

Four professionals are on staff, with a few other DJs pre-recording shows and sending them to the station, as opposed to dozens of volunteers...

Even online, a radio station with an audience this big seems a throwback to an earlier era, to the border stations whose massive signals reached from Monterrey in Mexico to Minnesota. It's college radio where anyone with an Internet connection is on campus."

According to the piece, the station was streamed for a total of nearly half a million hours last month. Pretty hard to fathom...

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