This week, whilst perusing the web, I stumbled across on article on Inside Higher Ed called “Confessions of a Community College Dean: College Radio.”
The writer gives a lot of great evidence as to why the world of college radio is changing. An abundance of new, online options for listening to music are available. The music industry has changed over time. Stations have migrated to creating online presences which, in the writer’s opinion, often go ignored.
And his argument is certainly valid.
There are college radio stations getting bought out by corporate broadcasting organizations, while still others are closing up shop altogether. The stations that do survive have to compete with the likes of DIY online-only Shoutcast stations, podcasting, Pandora, Spotify, Grooveshark, and more. The music industry has become more commercial and more concerned about download numbers than record sales.
But where does this writer come to the aid of college radio?
He offers no solutions to the arguments he’s presented.
Stations gain listeners to both FM signals and their online streams because of their Internet presence! Ticket giveaways, YouTube videos of acts performing live in the studio, music charts of most-played tracks, online album reviews, and other content drives Internet users to become readers, then online stream listeners, and then even FM signal listeners!
Yes, Pandora and other online music tools divert attention from college radio stations. But the Internet is only a blessing to the stations who have survived buyouts and shutdowns. The “glory days” of college radio that the writer seems to yearn for could very well be found in this decade. Surviving stations can now attract listeners and promote themselves in a way that they never before could.
And what, exactly, is the harm in that?