This year marks the debut of a monumental holiday for high school and college radio stations alike. The aptly named day of celebration is called College Radio Day—and it was dreamed up by two college radio general managers.
“The aim of College Radio Day is to harness the combined listenership of hundreds of thousands of college radio listeners throughout North America and to celebrate the important contribution of college radio.”
High school and college radio stations give students unparalleled opportunity to learn the broadcasting industry. But that’s not all. Students learn skills like journalistic reporting, event planning, computer science, programming, scheduling, recording, editing, interviewing, administrative planning, and marketing.
Without my experience in college radio, I would be a much less marketable individual. That’s not to say that my professors don’t do a great job of preparing me. They absolutely do. It’s just that employers are impressed when you can tell them that you’ve had four years of hands-on experience in the industry already—on top of that college degree.
But enough about what college radio offers its staffers. In regards to what these stations offer to the community at large, I think my former co-worker Pat Quinn said it best,
“College radio focuses on art, not dollar signs. We don’t have to worry about satisfying advertisers or playing music that’s going to attract the masses. DJs play the music they want people to hear. Sure, that might mean a song or two that really freaks you out early in the morning, but that’s the beauty of art: It invokes emotion. In college radio, the art is all that matters. We don’t play Top 40 music because there’s already enough Katy Perry in the world. There are thousands of artists who deserve just as much airtime as chart-topping Bruno Mars or Ke$ha, but because they don’t bring in the dollar signs, they don’t get played.”
Today, college radio is a sound alternative that presents musical art to listeners whether they listen on a traditional radio or they stream the signal online. In some ways, it’s just as good as Pandora.
After all, there are multitudes of other extremely talented musicians touring the world besides Ke$ha. Don’t they deserve some support?