Most radio these days has too narrow a vision. Pandering to corporations and very specific groups of people, it is hard to find a station that shows a spark of creativity in the wasteland. However, there still exists a shining ray of hope for those looking for something unique: independent radio. More specifically, college radio. And I’m not just saying this because I work at a college radio station.
This year, just this past week, the first ever College Radio Day was held. The goal of the day was to bring together college radio stations across the United States and help promote awareness of these stations. Wright State University’s station, WWSU 106.9, decided to participate in the festivities as well. Each station chose the way they wanted to promote the day, with the only specific event each did was airing a piece on the history and future of college radio. WWSU celebrated the day by hitting the campus, giving out prizes, and generally promoting college radio programming.
So what is so unique about college radio that it deserves its own day? Well, as I mentioned before, it is one of the last bastions of creativity in a corporate-run business. You’re not likely to find robotic DJs working their way through a set playlist of specific songs, never deviating from the norm. You will probably find more than just the few songs-DJ talk-commercials setup you hear everywhere else. I know personally that at the station I work at, you can hear interviews with comedians, a block of old-school hip-hop, a video game music focused show, and metal bands playing live in studio on the same day, sometimes back to back. Try finding that on your typical radio station.
College radio also caters to its community. In fact, it is my personal opinion that college radio stations have a duty to their community to help promote its music and events. Local music depends on college stations to help expand their listenership. With corporate radio either playing nostalgia-focused music or top-40, hip-with-the-kids stuff, there isn’t much room for local and unsigned bands to get their music out there. College radio provides this outlet to local artists, promoting them along with the local scene.
Keep this in mind the next time you get in your car: Do you want to listen to the same thing over and over, or would you like to hear something new? Do you want to support large companies, or your local scene? If you answered the latter to either of those (hopefully both!), then check out your friendly neighborhood college radio station! We’d be glad to have you listen!