Category Archives: Topic Blog

Political Communication in College Radio

Mitt Romney in West Des Moines

Mitt Romney in West Des Moines

It’s the eve of December in Iowa and you (may or may not) know what that means: Caucus Time.

Some may disagree with me, but I feel that, as citizens’ Internet use increases, so does their political awareness.

“Trying to assess the political impact of the Internet on the American public involves shooting at a moving target. After rapid expansion during the 1990s, at least half of the American adult population had access to the Internet by the end of the decade, a figure that can only increase with time. As the Internet audience enlarges and as the political usage of the Internet evolves, the effects of the Internet are likely to change.” — Kent Jennings, Professor of Political Science UC-Santa Barbara

College radio stations in Iowa, like the station I work at, are lucky. As the number of folks using the Internet has expanded, so has the radio station’s audience. (Thanks to online streams of the on-air broadcasts, of course.)

We now not only reach local Iowan voters, but listeners across the country and the world. It’s a great tool for politically active listeners to get the real, organic scoop on the candidates and the caucus from the locals covering the race at the radio station.

What are your thoughts on political communication in college radio, or the caucus this year? Let me know in the comments section!


Health Communication, or, What DJs Mostly Eat

Happy almost-Thanksgiving! I hope you are home and enjoying the holidays. If I were dining with my fellow college radio staffers this week, our meal would probably consist of the following:

Papa Johns1. Papa John’s Pizza — For entirely mysterious, bureaucratic reasons the university will only let student organizations bring Papa John’s pizza into the student union (where our station is housed). Want to sneak in some (far superior) Domino’s? Off with your head! Trying to order your club some Pizza Hut on a university phone? How did you do manage to do that while your head was dismembered?

newmans2. Newman’s O’s Hint ‘O Mint (Organic?) Knock-Off Oreo Cookies — I truly do not understand what could possibly make off-brand Oreo cookies “organic,” but I digress. These are a staple at directorial meetings.

twizzlers3. Twizzlers — Nothing says “we take our job seriously” like an economy-size container of Twizzlers.

What food is in abundance at your meetings, college radio, student organization, or otherwise?

International Communication & College Radio

World Map

Logical Next Step: College Radio Stations Communicating...Internationally

College radio stations exist all around the world.

While October’s College Radio Day was a wild success in the United States and the recent CMJ awards honored a lot of American college radio stations, I think college radio stations need to start collaborating and sharing their experiences on a more global level.

With so many stations developing their Internet presences these days, why aren’t American stations reaching out to organizations in places like Australia, Canada, & other countries? This seems like a logical next step. Though college radio stations are all governed by different broadcast regulations of their home countries, they are all playing a lot of the same music. And I’m sure we could learn a lot from each other in terms of station organization.

What are your thoughts on international communication in the college radio sphere? Did you ever catch a great college radio show when you were abroad?

Radio & Public Opinion

Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan as a radio announcer in Des Moines, Iowa.

It is no secret that radio informs public opinion through its programming.

If you listen to ultra-conservative or super-liberal talk radio programs, radio can “manufacture” political opinions for listeners to repeat and spread, as William Hard said in his 1935 article “Radio and Public Opinion.”

If you prefer to tune in to commercial, mainstream radio, songs with more airplay tend to be more popular. In turn, those artists and their record labels and advertisers make more money than artists with less airplay. Why? Because, much like newspapers must cater to their advertisers to some extent, radio is a business.

“Radio stations are in the business of making money, not the business of playing music. It is clear that people that are attracted to radio as a place to work are often people who love music, but few if any people own a radio station because they love music. People own radio stations to make money.” – Eric W. Rothenbuler

But where does college radio fit into this picture?

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