Friday, November 20, 2009

Campus Radio

Been visiting a few Universities as one of my children gets ready to pick a school. It does bring back some great memories of the college days and of course I spent most of it in the Campus Radio world. I usually end up wandering into the campus station just to see what is going on, or at least ask a few questions.

In a recent visit I was rather surprised at the 'policy' for the campus station. First the station was all programmed by the students with some help from the broadcasting faculty and looked like it was pretty well done with an Alt/Indy format and special programs for some minorities and special interest groups. They had a decent FM low power signal that probably covered the campus and the small city fairly well. The station looked to be pretty staffed with people in on a Saturday morning doing shows. The professor giving the tour of the communications department mentioned that you need to sign up early to be a DJ if you want good shifts. So there was a student interest here.

When I asked if they stream the station - 'we've been trying to get the 'Board' to approve it, but they are scared.' What??? It's OK for the campus and the city to hear it, but not elsewhere? I would think it might be a recruiting tool - you can catch a little of the campus life by listening. Catch some of the 'music vibe' of the school. As important as music is to most 18-24 year olds it's probably worth more than the condition of the pool table in the rec-room.

Then as we toured the Union and the eating area they had some music playing and it was obviously a radio station. I thought it might be the Campus station. It wasn't - they had on a Sirius - Mix modern hot AC channel. I'm sure the campus really rocks out when they play Huey Lewis and the News.

Too bad the school didn't support the station. This school was pretty into their broadcasting department with a school cable TV channel coming on soon, a full weather department geared at teaching TV meteorology, complete with a Doppler radar.

We do need to work more with our local colleges and their radio programs. The air staff and the PDs should be stopping by to host a class, invite them to the station and try to help the faculty with any materials they might need. Not only do we need more people in our talent pools, but we also need to keep radio relevant on the campus scene. In this case we can do something so reach out and drop you local broadcasting faculty an email - and help the future.

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