Music Monday: Poison Control Center


The 90s-inspired indie rock band Poison Control Center get down at RayGun last April at an event sponsored by our station.

Don’t let the name fool you into thinking that this band is anything but pure, unadulterated awesome.

Poison Control Center is a four-piece indie rock outfit (with a few rotating members). Based in Iowa, the group has toured nationally for years and has gotten a lot of attention from industry heavyweights like Pitchfork and SPIN. Their Midwestern friendliness and charm has also paved the way for a lot of younger Iowa bands to go out and tour successfully, as well. What swell guys!

Ready to give them a whirl?


Community Radio Stations

Lake at Kotamale, Sri Lanka

Lake at Kotamale, Sri Lanka

I’d like to take a little time out of our regularly scheduled college radio blog programming to talk about one of my personal research interests: community radio stations in developing places.

Why does this interest me? I am double majoring in journalism and international studies here at school. And journalism + international studies = community radio.

In underdeveloped places with low literacy rates, these stations serve hugely important purposes. At a very basic level, community radio stations broadcast public service announcements about sanitation, agriculture, natural disasters, and more to those who live in rural areas and don’t get much word of mouth news, are illiterate, etc.

Additionally, these stations preserve and further existing cultural and linguistic practices through their radio programming, outside events, and workshops.

Community radio stations give voice and pride to communities that, in many cases, don’t have other means of physically preserving their culture as a record.

Want an example? Check out Kothmale FM in Mawathura, Sri Lanka.

Because Sometimes Things Just Get Weird:

College radio has its fair share of weirdness. Scratch that. I’m willing to officially put it out there, for those of you who may not know from firsthand experience, that college radio attracts tons of “weirdness.” It comes in the form of offbeat staffers, creative music reviewers, and voracious listeners. To be 100% honest, that weirdness is why I personally love, love, love working in college radio.

But, while opening CDs with our music director today, we discovered something a little too…avant-garde for my personal tastes.

But, our station also plays artists like Jandek, Daniel Johnston, and The Shaggs, so I suppose I can’t even really categorize anymore. Rock on, Robert Alberg.

Social Marketing & The Most Infamous PSA: “Save The Manatees”


"Our PSA might be a laughing matter to Iowans, but we still need saving!"

This week in one of my journalism courses we discussed social marketing, which is the use of marketing techniques to get people to change a behavior or an attitude.

In college radio, social marketing is typically found in public service announcements that are aired as part of campaigns by outside organizations.

At our station, the most infamous PSA we play is the Alec Baldwin “Save The Manatees” PSA.  Why is it infamous? Take one listen and you’ll get an idea.

But enough about that. Let’s take a look at where the “Save The Manatees” PSA originates from, the aptly-named Save The Manatees Club. Continue reading

My Current Project: Public File

Public File

The Public File: Friend or Foe?

Right on the heels of the joyous news that the FCC is considering moving the all-knowing, all-powerful “public file” to an online format, I would like to formally introduce to you the project that has consumed my every waking hour for the past month*.

You guessed it: I’ve been working on the public file.

Public file (noun): a collection of documents required by a broadcasting authority to be maintained by all broadcast stations under its jurisdiction. Such a file is required by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States. The public inspection file must be maintained at the station’s main studio and it must be accessible to anyone during business hours.

As archaic as it might seem, all broadcasting outlets (both radio and TV) have to keep a record of their value to the community as part of their license renewal and inspection. (If, for some strange reason, you’re looking to bum yourself out, take a look at some of the hefty fines imposed upon stations who don’t comply with FCC regulations.) Continue reading

So, This Happened: They Might Be Giants (Redux)

Signed They Might Be Giants Poster

The assistant production manager of the theater I work at surprised me with a signed poster from They Might Be Giants this morning. (She must have noticed me having a dance party in the front row during their show.) Needless to say, I was completely overjoyed! How is your Monday going?

Video of the Week:

Check out this adorable Sesame Street video of The Martians discovering a radio. I love it! (The only way this video could have been further improved would be by the presence of Elmo, my favorite Sesame Street character. Who’s yours?)