College radio trends (was: (no subject))

Eli Polonsky
Tue Feb 22 23:05:26 EST 2005

On 2/22/05 8:35 AM, "Sid Schweiger" <> wrote:

> Don't be too sure of that.  From my observations of college-age
> students at Framingham State, where I am every week, they don't use
> radio like students used to.  They get their music in other media, most
> notably MP3 players like the iPod or portable CD players.  They're the
> first generation of young people who have grown up with CD and DVD
> burners on their PC's, so they don't need to listen to someone else's
> mix of music.  They make their own.
> It used to be that students lined up for shifts at WDJM.  Not anymore.
> Radio is irrelevant to most of them...

You may be correct for a long-term trend, but locally on a case-by-case
basis, the opposite has been happening in the short term over the past
few years at some local college stations. It depends on how the station
is run, and how it's purpose is defined by the host university. Some
schools want their stations to be money-making (although technically
"non-profit") professional to semi-professional primarily community
entities, and others simply want their station to be a campus activity
for students, nothing more.

MIT's WMBR, whose community involvement was never officially sanctioned
by MIT and was a fluke borne of past neglect of the station by MIT, has
greatly increased their student involvement over the past few years as
relations were re-established between the station and the institute.

Some of the students are enjoying plugging their new digital media
devices (iPod's, laptops with digital jukebox programs like iTunes,
etc...) into the boards, and playing their digital music mixes over
the air without actually physically DJ'ing a show in real time.

A number of popular community produced shows and/or show hosts left
over the past couple of years, some had gotten "the axe" from new
student management, and some chose to leave voluntarily when the
"writing on the wall" became apparent enough. The stations annual
fundraiser was down from the previous year for the first time ever
last fall, a dramatic 25 percent drop in pledges. However, it's more
important to MIT that it's students run the station however they
please, rather than to air community produced programs that bring in
more pledge money than the all-volunteer station actually needs.

I've heard that similar mirroring situations have been happening in
the past few years at Tufts' WMFO and perhaps at Brandeis' WBRS
as well.

Eli Polonsky

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