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Podcast #231 – Eric Nuzum

Tue, 02/04/2020 - 20:13

Eric Nuzum started NPR’s podcasting efforts in 2005 where he worked for over a decade and helped produce hit shows like “TED Radio Hour” and “Invisibila” – he left NPR for Audible, where he led Amazons efforts in the realm of short form audio and podcasts until 2018.

Eric Nuzum is currently a consultant and podcast maker with his company Magnificent Noise and is the author of the new book “Make Noise: A Creator’s Guide to Podcasting and Great Audio Storytelling.

On Radio Survivor today we talk to Eric Nuzum about how he began his career in radio at a college station – his advice for community radio stations when it comes to podcasting and where to begin when you plan to start a new podcast project to give you the best chance to reach the audience you are seeking.


The post Podcast #231 – Eric Nuzum appeared first on Radio Survivor.

College Radio Watch: Student Radio at the Super Bowl and More News

Fri, 01/31/2020 - 08:00

As you sit down to watch the Super Bowl this Sunday, take a moment to think about the college radio stations who have been on the scene at “Radio Row” this week in anticipation of this major sporting and media event. Amid all the major broadcasters, students are also in the mix, doing interviews and reporting from Miami for their college radio stations.

Students from college radio stations at St. Bonaventure University, Columbia University, Syracuse University and Fordham University will be heading to the Super Bowl in Miami, according to Fox Business. Representatives from Penn State’s student radio station and the Florida Atlantic University college radio station will also be reporting from the Super Bowl.

More College Radio News Profiles of Stations, Staff and DJs Music Culture Events Alumni Awards and Accolades

The post College Radio Watch: Student Radio at the Super Bowl and More News appeared first on Radio Survivor.

College Radio Watch: Student Radio at the Super Bowl and More News

Fri, 01/31/2020 - 08:00

As you sit down to watch the Super Bowl this Sunday, take a moment to think about the college radio stations who have been on the scene at “Radio Row” this week in anticipation of this major sporting and media event. Amid all the major broadcasters, students are also in the mix, doing interviews and reporting from Miami for their college radio stations.

Students from college radio stations at St. Bonaventure University, Columbia University, Syracuse University and Fordham University will be heading to the Super Bowl in Miami, according to Fox Business. Representatives from Penn State’s student radio station and the Florida Atlantic University college radio station will also be reporting from the Super Bowl.

More College Radio News Profiles of Stations, Staff and DJs Music Culture Events Alumni Awards and Accolades

The post College Radio Watch: Student Radio at the Super Bowl and More News appeared first on Radio Survivor.

College Radio Watch: Student Radio at the Super Bowl and More News

Fri, 01/31/2020 - 08:00

As you sit down to watch the Super Bowl this Sunday, take a moment to think about the college radio stations who have been on the scene at “Radio Row” this week in anticipation of this major sporting and media event. Amid all the major broadcasters, students are also in the mix, doing interviews and reporting from Miami for their college radio stations.

Students from college radio stations at St. Bonaventure University, Columbia University, Syracuse University and Fordham University will be heading to the Super Bowl in Miami, according to Fox Business. Representatives from Penn State’s student radio station and the Florida Atlantic University college radio station will also be reporting from the Super Bowl.

More College Radio News Profiles of Stations, Staff and DJs Music Culture Events Alumni Awards and Accolades

The post College Radio Watch: Student Radio at the Super Bowl and More News appeared first on Radio Survivor.

Podcast #230 – The Library of Congress Launches Podcast Preservation Project

Tue, 01/28/2020 - 23:40


On this week’s episode we learn about a brand new project at the Library of Congress that is focused entirely on archiving podcasts. Ted Westervelt, Manager of the Podcast Preservation Project at Library of Congress, joins us to share early details from this new initiative. He explains that the hope is that a wide variety of all types of podcasts will be part of the collection, including the Radio Survivor Podcast.

Show Notes:

The post Podcast #230 – The Library of Congress Launches Podcast Preservation Project appeared first on Radio Survivor.

College Radio Watch: Mapping U.S. Radio and More News

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 08:11

I’ve often dreamed of a college radio map, so I absolutely love the radio visualizations crafted by Erin Davis. While it’s not a pragmatic guide to find radio stations, her beautiful service contour maps give a general sense of how certain formats of FM radio are dispersed across the continental United States. The college radio map depicts FCC-licensed radio stations that are categorized on Radio-Locator as “college radio” format. While it won’t capture every college radio station, it gives an interesting slice. Her map shows a higher concentration of the college radio format on the East Coast, something that I’d always suspected as well.

More College Radio News Events Programming College Radio History Alumni

The post College Radio Watch: Mapping U.S. Radio and More News appeared first on Radio Survivor.

College Radio Watch: Mapping U.S. Radio and More News

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 08:11

I’ve often dreamed of a college radio map, so I absolutely love the radio visualizations crafted by Erin Davis. While it’s not a pragmatic guide to find radio stations, her beautiful service contour maps give a general sense of how certain formats of FM radio are dispersed across the continental United States. The college radio map depicts FCC-licensed radio stations that are categorized on Radio-Locator as “college radio” format. While it won’t capture every college radio station, it gives an interesting slice. Her map shows a higher concentration of the college radio format on the East Coast, something that I’d always suspected as well.

More College Radio News Events Programming College Radio History Alumni

The post College Radio Watch: Mapping U.S. Radio and More News appeared first on Radio Survivor.

College Radio Watch: Mapping U.S. Radio and More News

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 08:11

I’ve often dreamed of a college radio map, so I absolutely love the radio visualizations crafted by Erin Davis. While it’s not a pragmatic guide to find radio stations, her beautiful service contour maps give a general sense of how certain formats of FM radio are dispersed across the continental United States. The college radio map depicts FCC-licensed radio stations that are categorized on Radio-Locator as “college radio” format. While it won’t capture every college radio station, it gives an interesting slice. Her map shows a higher concentration of the college radio format on the East Coast, something that I’d always suspected as well.

More College Radio News Events Programming College Radio History Alumni

The post College Radio Watch: Mapping U.S. Radio and More News appeared first on Radio Survivor.

Podcast #229 – Reading the PIRATE Act

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 19:29

The PIRATE Act, recently passed by Congress, is intended to stem the tide of unlicensed radio broadcasting by providing the Federal Communications Commission with new tools. Chief amongst them are new maximum fines, and a shortcut to issuing them. But will this really work?

Author and radio scholar John Anderson says that a lot of the Act’s provisions amount to “unfunded mandates,” requiring the FCC to make semi-annual sweeps in pirate radio hotspots, but without any additional budget. John joins the show to details all of the PIRATE Act’s provisions, and assess what effect they may have.

We also analyze the role of unlicensed radio stations in their communities –recently recognized by even the Boston Globe – and what effect, if any, the Act might have on Part 15, legal unlicensed broadcasters.

Show Notes:

The post Podcast #229 – Reading the PIRATE Act appeared first on Radio Survivor.

Podcast #229 – Reading the PIRATE Act

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 19:29

The PIRATE Act, recently passed by Congress, is intended to stem the tide of unlicensed radio broadcasting by providing the Federal Communications Commission with new tools. Chief amongst them are new maximum fines, and a shortcut to issuing them. But will this really work?

Author and radio scholar John Anderson says that a lot of the Act’s provisions amount to “unfunded mandates,” requiring the FCC to make semi-annual sweeps in pirate radio hotspots, but without any additional budget. John joins the show to details all of the PIRATE Act’s provisions, and assess what effect they may have.

We also analyze the role of unlicensed radio stations in their communities –recently recognized by even the Boston Globe – and what effect, if any, the Act might have on Part 15, legal unlicensed broadcasters.

Show Notes:

The post Podcast #229 – Reading the PIRATE Act appeared first on Radio Survivor.

Podcast #229 – Reading the PIRATE Act

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 19:29

The PIRATE Act, recently passed by Congress, is intended to stem the tide of unlicensed radio broadcasting by providing the Federal Communications Commission with new tools. Chief amongst them are new maximum fines, and a shortcut to issuing them. But will this really work?

Author and radio scholar John Anderson says that a lot of the Act’s provisions amount to “unfunded mandates,” requiring the FCC to make semi-annual sweeps in pirate radio hotspots, but without any additional budget. John joins the show to details all of the PIRATE Act’s provisions, and assess what effect they may have.

We also analyze the role of unlicensed radio stations in their communities –recently recognized by even the Boston Globe – and what effect, if any, the Act might have on Part 15, legal unlicensed broadcasters.

Show Notes:

The post Podcast #229 – Reading the PIRATE Act appeared first on Radio Survivor.

College Radio Watch: College Radio in the 2010s, WCWS-FM Buyer, KMSM to Leave Air? and More News

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 08:37

In these early days of 2020, we’ve been taking a look back at the big radio trends from the past decade. It’s pretty mind-boggling to tally all of the changes in radio and technology since 2010. Amid it all, college radio experienced both highs and lows, but ultimately leaves the decade as strong as ever. Take a listen to this week’s Radio Survivor show/podcast (episode #228) and read my decade-in-review piece for my take on the decade in college radio.

WCWS-FM to be sold to EMF

There’s an update this week to a story that I reported on back in 2018. At the time, College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio announced that it was transitioning its long-time FM student radio station WCWS (aka The Woo 91) to online-only. A letter to the FCC dated September 2, 2018 (but filed in December, 2018) stated “We have encountered a repeated number of technical difficulties with our tower service as well as the recent resignation of staff who had the necessary skill sets to maintain the radio equipment and oversight of the station. We would like Special Temporary Authority to remain off the air for up to 180 days to determine if the issues can be resolved.” That request was dismissed and the station seems to have remained on the air during Fall, 2018.

In Fall, 2018, students circulated petitions to “Save the Wave” and were holding panel discussions about the future of radio in order to try to convince the school to retain the FM license. By March, 2019, WCWS was announcing that the station was leaving the air on April 6 and sharing memories from alumni. The final words on FM were spoken by Bruce Peters from the class of 1969. WOO 91 wrote on Instagram, “He flew in from Denver to be the last words because over 50 years ago, he was WOO 91’s first words as it transitioned to WCWS, an FM station. He used his radio ready voice to mark a transition of WOO 91 once again – to online streaming on iHeart radio.” In a video posted on Instagram, DJs in the booth can be seen wearing T-shirts emblazoned with headstones and “RIP 90.9 FM.”

An April 2019 filing with the FCC stated, “The College of Wooster currently does not have dedicated staffing or the necessary expertise to continue to support a college-run radio station. The college needs time to consider options for the station license.” Another request to remain silent was filed in October, 2019. In the FCC’s approval for this request for special temporary authority to remain silent for 180 days, it pointed out that if WCWS did not return to the air by April, 2020, the license would expire.

We’ve now learned that after considering its options, the school plans to sell the WCWS-FM license to religious broadcasting group Educational Media Foundation (the parent of syndicated broadcaster K-LOVE) for $170,000, according to paperwork filed with the FCC in December, 2019.

Montana Tech Station’s Murky Future

I also learned this week that KMSM-FM at Montana Tech University may be leaving the airwaves. ABC Fox Montana reports, “Last month, a decision was made by the Associated Students of Montana Tech to shut down the station and cut funding after a survey found the station was not very popular among students,” but adds that, “The Associated Students of Montana Tech say the decision could be reversed in the upcoming weeks and nothing is final.”

This is an interesting case in which the license for the student radio station is held by a student organization, Associated Students of Montana Tech. A KPAX story points out, “And while the future may look pretty bleak for the radio station, those who work there say that if the public really wants to keep KMSM going they need to contact the administration and show their support.” So in this instance, it’s not only the school, but also leaders in the student government who need convincing that college radio is worth their investment.

More College Radio News Shutdowns, License Sales Profiles of Stations and Staff College Radio in Art Programming Events Call for Submissions for Scholarly Journal College Radio History and Anniversaries Alumni Awards and Accolades

The post College Radio Watch: College Radio in the 2010s, WCWS-FM Buyer, KMSM to Leave Air? and More News appeared first on Radio Survivor.

College Radio Watch: College Radio in the 2010s, WCWS-FM Buyer, KMSM to Leave Air? and More News

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 08:37

In these early days of 2020, we’ve been taking a look back at the big radio trends from the past decade. It’s pretty mind-boggling to tally all of the changes in radio and technology since 2010. Amid it all, college radio experienced both highs and lows, but ultimately leaves the decade as strong as ever. Take a listen to this week’s Radio Survivor show/podcast (episode #228) and read my decade-in-review piece for my take on the decade in college radio.

WCWS-FM to be sold to EMF

There’s an update this week to a story that I reported on back in 2018. At the time, College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio announced that it was transitioning its long-time FM student radio station WCWS (aka The Woo 91) to online-only. A letter to the FCC dated September 2, 2018 (but filed in December, 2018) stated “We have encountered a repeated number of technical difficulties with our tower service as well as the recent resignation of staff who had the necessary skill sets to maintain the radio equipment and oversight of the station. We would like Special Temporary Authority to remain off the air for up to 180 days to determine if the issues can be resolved.” That request was dismissed and the station seems to have remained on the air during Fall, 2018.

In Fall, 2018, students circulated petitions to “Save the Wave” and were holding panel discussions about the future of radio in order to try to convince the school to retain the FM license. By March, 2019, WCWS was announcing that the station was leaving the air on April 6 and sharing memories from alumni. The final words on FM were spoken by Bruce Peters from the class of 1969. WOO 91 wrote on Instagram, “He flew in from Denver to be the last words because over 50 years ago, he was WOO 91’s first words as it transitioned to WCWS, an FM station. He used his radio ready voice to mark a transition of WOO 91 once again – to online streaming on iHeart radio.” In a video posted on Instagram, DJs in the booth can be seen wearing T-shirts emblazoned with headstones and “RIP 90.9 FM.”

An April 2019 filing with the FCC stated, “The College of Wooster currently does not have dedicated staffing or the necessary expertise to continue to support a college-run radio station. The college needs time to consider options for the station license.” Another request to remain silent was filed in October, 2019. In the FCC’s approval for this request for special temporary authority to remain silent for 180 days, it pointed out that if WCWS did not return to the air by April, 2020, the license would expire.

We’ve now learned that after considering its options, the school plans to sell the WCWS-FM license to religious broadcasting group Educational Media Foundation (the parent of syndicated broadcaster K-LOVE) for $170,000, according to paperwork filed with the FCC in December, 2019.

Montana Tech Station’s Murky Future

I also learned this week that KMSM-FM at Montana Tech University may be leaving the airwaves. ABC Fox Montana reports, “Last month, a decision was made by the Associated Students of Montana Tech to shut down the station and cut funding after a survey found the station was not very popular among students,” but adds that, “The Associated Students of Montana Tech say the decision could be reversed in the upcoming weeks and nothing is final.”

This is an interesting case in which the license for the student radio station is held by a student organization, Associated Students of Montana Tech. A KPAX story points out, “And while the future may look pretty bleak for the radio station, those who work there say that if the public really wants to keep KMSM going they need to contact the administration and show their support.” So in this instance, it’s not only the school, but also leaders in the student government who need convincing that college radio is worth their investment.

More College Radio News Shutdowns, License Sales Profiles of Stations and Staff College Radio in Art Programming Events Call for Submissions for Scholarly Journal College Radio History and Anniversaries Alumni Awards and Accolades

The post College Radio Watch: College Radio in the 2010s, WCWS-FM Buyer, KMSM to Leave Air? and More News appeared first on Radio Survivor.

College Radio Watch: College Radio in the 2010s, WCWS-FM Buyer, KMSM to Leave Air? and More News

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 08:37

In these early days of 2020, we’ve been taking a look back at the big radio trends from the past decade. It’s pretty mind-boggling to tally all of the changes in radio and technology since 2010. Amid it all, college radio experienced both highs and lows, but ultimately leaves the decade as strong as ever. Take a listen to this week’s Radio Survivor show/podcast (episode #228) and read my decade-in-review piece for my take on the decade in college radio.

WCWS-FM to be sold to EMF

There’s an update this week to a story that I reported on back in 2018. At the time, College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio announced that it was transitioning its long-time FM student radio station WCWS (aka The Woo 91) to online-only. A letter to the FCC dated September 2, 2018 (but filed in December, 2018) stated “We have encountered a repeated number of technical difficulties with our tower service as well as the recent resignation of staff who had the necessary skill sets to maintain the radio equipment and oversight of the station. We would like Special Temporary Authority to remain off the air for up to 180 days to determine if the issues can be resolved.” That request was dismissed and the station seems to have remained on the air during Fall, 2018.

In Fall, 2018, students circulated petitions to “Save the Wave” and were holding panel discussions about the future of radio in order to try to convince the school to retain the FM license. By March, 2019, WCWS was announcing that the station was leaving the air on April 6 and sharing memories from alumni. The final words on FM were spoken by Bruce Peters from the class of 1969. WOO 91 wrote on Instagram, “He flew in from Denver to be the last words because over 50 years ago, he was WOO 91’s first words as it transitioned to WCWS, an FM station. He used his radio ready voice to mark a transition of WOO 91 once again – to online streaming on iHeart radio.” In a video posted on Instagram, DJs in the booth can be seen wearing T-shirts emblazoned with headstones and “RIP 90.9 FM.”

An April 2019 filing with the FCC stated, “The College of Wooster currently does not have dedicated staffing or the necessary expertise to continue to support a college-run radio station. The college needs time to consider options for the station license.” Another request to remain silent was filed in October, 2019. In the FCC’s approval for this request for special temporary authority to remain silent for 180 days, it pointed out that if WCWS did not return to the air by April, 2020, the license would expire.

We’ve now learned that after considering its options, the school plans to sell the WCWS-FM license to religious broadcasting group Educational Media Foundation (the parent of syndicated broadcaster K-LOVE) for $170,000, according to paperwork filed with the FCC in December, 2019.

Montana Tech Station’s Murky Future

I also learned this week that KMSM-FM at Montana Tech University may be leaving the airwaves. ABC Fox Montana reports, “Last month, a decision was made by the Associated Students of Montana Tech to shut down the station and cut funding after a survey found the station was not very popular among students,” but adds that, “The Associated Students of Montana Tech say the decision could be reversed in the upcoming weeks and nothing is final.”

This is an interesting case in which the license for the student radio station is held by a student organization, Associated Students of Montana Tech. A KPAX story points out, “And while the future may look pretty bleak for the radio station, those who work there say that if the public really wants to keep KMSM going they need to contact the administration and show their support.” So in this instance, it’s not only the school, but also leaders in the student government who need convincing that college radio is worth their investment.

More College Radio News Shutdowns, License Sales Profiles of Stations and Staff College Radio in Art Programming Events Call for Submissions for Scholarly Journal College Radio History and Anniversaries Alumni Awards and Accolades

The post College Radio Watch: College Radio in the 2010s, WCWS-FM Buyer, KMSM to Leave Air? and More News appeared first on Radio Survivor.

Podcast #228 – College Radio’s Biggest Decade

Wed, 01/15/2020 - 00:01

Last week we declared that the 2010s were a banner decade for community radio. As Jennifer notes, though college radio had a tough start to the last decade, with the loss of prominent stations like KUSF, KTRU and WRVU, the service seriously bounced back, aided by factors like the low-power FM boom, internet radio, HD Radio and support from the new College Radio Foundation. That all adds up to the defensible declaration that it was also the biggest growth decade for college radio, too. We unpack all that happened.

Digging further into our second “Decade in Review” episode, Jennifer also looks at how efforts to preserve radio programming and materials stepped up, seen most prominently with the founding of the Library of Congress’ Radio Preservation Task Force. On that subject, we’re pleased to report that this show has been selected for collection by the Library of Congress as part of a new podcast program. We’ll talk to the manager of the Podcast Preservation Project on next week’s show.

Finally, we also dig into how video, and YouTube specifically, has become radio, in many ways. A picture may be required, but what does it matter if it’s the audio that’s most important?

But, wait, there’s more! Find out how Jerry Lee Lewis fuels a discussion of border blasters, the tempestuous relationship between radio and the record industry through times of both war and peace in some bonus content that didn’t fit into this episode. Our Patreon supporters can hear this bonus episode, and so can you for a gift of just $1 a month.

Show Notes

The post Podcast #228 – College Radio’s Biggest Decade appeared first on Radio Survivor.

More College Radio than Ever in the 2010s as it Takes New Forms

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 16:19

Big changes came to college radio in the 2010s, with dramatic losses and exciting new opportunities, leading to perhaps more college radio than ever before thanks to the variety of forms that college radio now takes. Despite the challenges, college radio is as resilient as ever and students’ desire to work in audio is strong as we begin the next decade.

College Radio Fights Back

At the start of the 2010s there were a series of high profile college radio license sales (with the most press attention for the loss of University of San Francisco’s KUSF-FM, Rice University’s KTRU-FM and Vanderbilt University’s WRVU-FM), which not only shook up communities of listeners and participants, but also led to organized protests (I dubbed 2011 “The Year that College Radio Fought Back”), collaborations, and new alliances. College radio stations came together, offered support, and even opened up their airwaves to bring attention to the plight of stations who were fighting license sales. College radio organizations and allies (including College Broadcasters Inc., National Federation of Community Broadcasters, CMJ, Grassroots Radio Conference, UCRN, and SXSW) also provided space for discussion on the topic of how to prevent station sales.

While some students were distressed by the loss of terrestrial licenses, others took these shifts in stride, embracing online radio, HD radio, podcasting, low power FM, and even iHeart Radio (which began adding college radio stations to its platform in 2012).

Celebrating College Radio

College Radio Day debuted in October, 2011, a welcome celebration on the heels of the loss of FM broadcasts at KUSF, KTRU and WRVU. Over the course of the decade, College Radio Day expanded from the one-day-a-year event in the United States to a global experience, uniting student radio stations all over the world. Additionally, the College Radio Foundation was formed in 2014 as a non-profit overseeing College Radio Day, as well as a grants program, record label, and affiliated events like an annual vinyl marathon (“Vinylthon”).

College Radio Embraces LPFM

The 2013 low-power FM application window brought even more opportunities for college radio and around 100 colleges and universities applied for new LPFM licenses, with more than 70 ultimately granted construction permits. After the major losses at the start of the decade, witnessing the growing interest in starting up new college radio stations was inspiring to watch.

FCC Cuts Student Stations a Break

There was some great news for licensed U.S. college radio stations in the past decade in regards to the FCC. Instead of continuing to levy big fines regardless of station type, in 2013, the bureau decided to cut student-run radio stations a break when they committed first-time violations. Fines were lowered and compliance plans were put in place in several cases. It was nice to see this compassion and recognition that low budget college radio stations with transitory staffs can easily make mistakes and that paperwork errors shouldn’t have to bankrupt a station

CMJ’s Slow Death

An integral part of the college radio/music ecosystem for decades, CMJ started the 2010s with a full roster of activities, including an annual conference/festival in New York City, weekly radio charts, a website with music news, reviews and more, and a subscription-based trade magazine (CMJ New Music Report). CMJ’s “College Day” event during the CMJ Music Marathon featured a day of panels, performances, and an awards ceremony focused on college radio. However, behind the scenes CMJ was having financial difficulties and went through a series of changes in ownership and management. By Fall, 2016, CMJ was distintegrating. A group of former employees sued CMJ for unpaid wages dating back to October, 2015 and in Februrary, 2017, CMJ’s weekly charts ended. The slow death of CMJ was sad to witness, with the company’s trademarks up for auction in 2018.

In late 2019, word came that new owners plan to bring CMJ back in 2020, promising events, charts, and editorial. So we’ll have to wait to see what the next decade brings for CMJ. Some media reports seem to equate CMJ’s death with the supposed death of college radio; but CMJ was just one part of the college radio universe and was largely serving the music industry in recent years. To that end, other organizations cropped up to compile radio charts and curate music biz conferences.

College Radio Takes on New Forms

Throughout the decade, colleges launched all sorts of radio stations, from streaming-only to terrestrial stations. As we’ve seen since the very beginnings of radio, college broadcasting has never been limited to one method. The myriad forms of college radio over the years have included amateur radio, licensed AM radio, campus-only AM carrier current, stations communicating over public address systems, many types of licensed FM radio, HD radio, cable FM, campus cable, cable TV, internet radio, radio over the phone (accessed by calling a phone number), podcasting, streaming video stations, apps, and audio options yet to be invented. While we saw fewer and fewer of certain types of college radio stations in the 2010s (very low power class D FM stations, commercially-licensed college radio stations, and carrier current stations are less frequent than a decade ago), there was growth in LPFM stations and streaming stations continued to launch (or were revived).

Feeling nostalgic or want to take a deep dive in college radio in the 2000s? See my year-end reviews from 2019, 2017, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, and 2011, my decade in review piece from 2009, as well as our About College Radio Page.

The post More College Radio than Ever in the 2010s as it Takes New Forms appeared first on Radio Survivor.

More College Radio than Ever in the 2010s as it Takes New Forms

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 16:19

Big changes came to college radio in the 2010s, with dramatic losses and exciting new opportunities, leading to perhaps more college radio than ever before thanks to the variety of forms that college radio now takes. Despite the challenges, college radio is as resilient as ever and students’ desire to work in audio is strong as we begin the next decade.

College Radio Fights Back

At the start of the 2010s there were a series of high profile college radio license sales (with the most press attention for the loss of University of San Francisco’s KUSF-FM, Rice University’s KTRU-FM and Vanderbilt University’s WRVU-FM), which not only shook up communities of listeners and participants, but also led to organized protests (I dubbed 2011 “The Year that College Radio Fought Back”), collaborations, and new alliances. College radio stations came together, offered support, and even opened up their airwaves to bring attention to the plight of stations who were fighting license sales. College radio organizations and allies (including College Broadcasters Inc., National Federation of Community Broadcasters, CMJ, Grassroots Radio Conference, UCRN, and SXSW) also provided space for discussion on the topic of how to prevent station sales.

While some students were distressed by the loss of terrestrial licenses, others took these shifts in stride, embracing online radio, HD radio, podcasting, low power FM, and even iHeart Radio (which began adding college radio stations to its platform in 2012).

Celebrating College Radio

College Radio Day debuted in October, 2011, a welcome celebration on the heels of the loss of FM broadcasts at KUSF, KTRU and WRVU. Over the course of the decade, College Radio Day expanded from the one-day-a-year event in the United States to a global experience, uniting student radio stations all over the world. Additionally, the College Radio Foundation was formed in 2014 as a non-profit overseeing College Radio Day, as well as a grants program, record label, and affiliated events like an annual vinyl marathon (“Vinylthon”).

College Radio Embraces LPFM

The 2013 low-power FM application window brought even more opportunities for college radio and around 100 colleges and universities applied for new LPFM licenses, with more than 70 ultimately granted construction permits. After the major losses at the start of the decade, witnessing the growing interest in starting up new college radio stations was inspiring to watch.

FCC Cuts Student Stations a Break

There was some great news for licensed U.S. college radio stations in the past decade in regards to the FCC. Instead of continuing to levy big fines regardless of station type, in 2013, the bureau decided to cut student-run radio stations a break when they committed first-time violations. Fines were lowered and compliance plans were put in place in several cases. It was nice to see this compassion and recognition that low budget college radio stations with transitory staffs can easily make mistakes and that paperwork errors shouldn’t have to bankrupt a station

CMJ’s Slow Death

An integral part of the college radio/music ecosystem for decades, CMJ started the 2010s with a full roster of activities, including an annual conference/festival in New York City, weekly radio charts, a website with music news, reviews and more, and a subscription-based trade magazine (CMJ New Music Report). CMJ’s “College Day” event during the CMJ Music Marathon featured a day of panels, performances, and an awards ceremony focused on college radio. However, behind the scenes CMJ was having financial difficulties and went through a series of changes in ownership and management. By Fall, 2016, CMJ was distintegrating. A group of former employees sued CMJ for unpaid wages dating back to October, 2015 and in Februrary, 2017, CMJ’s weekly charts ended. The slow death of CMJ was sad to witness, with the company’s trademarks up for auction in 2018.

In late 2019, word came that new owners plan to bring CMJ back in 2020, promising events, charts, and editorial. So we’ll have to wait to see what the next decade brings for CMJ. Some media reports seem to equate CMJ’s death with the supposed death of college radio; but CMJ was just one part of the college radio universe and was largely serving the music industry in recent years. To that end, other organizations cropped up to compile radio charts and curate music biz conferences.

College Radio Takes on New Forms

Throughout the decade, colleges launched all sorts of radio stations, from streaming-only to terrestrial stations. As we’ve seen since the very beginnings of radio, college broadcasting has never been limited to one method. The myriad forms of college radio over the years have included amateur radio, licensed AM radio, campus-only AM carrier current, stations communicating over public address systems, many types of licensed FM radio, HD radio, cable FM, campus cable, cable TV, internet radio, radio over the phone (accessed by calling a phone number), podcasting, streaming video stations, apps, and audio options yet to be invented. While we saw fewer and fewer of certain types of college radio stations in the 2010s (very low power class D FM stations, commercially-licensed college radio stations, and carrier current stations are less frequent than a decade ago), there was growth in LPFM stations and streaming stations continued to launch (or were revived).

Feeling nostalgic or want to take a deep dive in college radio in the 2000s? See my year-end reviews from 2019, 2017, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, and 2011, my decade in review piece from 2009, as well as our About College Radio Page.

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More College Radio than Ever in the 2010s as it Takes New Forms

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 16:19

Big changes came to college radio in the 2010s, with dramatic losses and exciting new opportunities, leading to perhaps more college radio than ever before thanks to the variety of forms that college radio now takes. Despite the challenges, college radio is as resilient as ever and students’ desire to work in audio is strong as we begin the next decade.

College Radio Fights Back

At the start of the 2010s there were a series of high profile college radio license sales (with the most press attention for the loss of University of San Francisco’s KUSF-FM, Rice University’s KTRU-FM and Vanderbilt University’s WRVU-FM), which not only shook up communities of listeners and participants, but also led to organized protests (I dubbed 2011 “The Year that College Radio Fought Back”), collaborations, and new alliances. College radio stations came together, offered support, and even opened up their airwaves to bring attention to the plight of stations who were fighting license sales. College radio organizations and allies (including College Broadcasters Inc., National Federation of Community Broadcasters, CMJ, Grassroots Radio Conference, UCRN, and SXSW) also provided space for discussion on the topic of how to prevent station sales.

While some students were distressed by the loss of terrestrial licenses, others took these shifts in stride, embracing online radio, HD radio, podcasting, low power FM, and even iHeart Radio (which began adding college radio stations to its platform in 2012).

Celebrating College Radio

College Radio Day debuted in October, 2011, a welcome celebration on the heels of the loss of FM broadcasts at KUSF, KTRU and WRVU. Over the course of the decade, College Radio Day expanded from the one-day-a-year event in the United States to a global experience, uniting student radio stations all over the world. Additionally, the College Radio Foundation was formed in 2014 as a non-profit overseeing College Radio Day, as well as a grants program, record label, and affiliated events like an annual vinyl marathon (“Vinylthon”).

College Radio Embraces LPFM

The 2013 low-power FM application window brought even more opportunities for college radio and around 100 colleges and universities applied for new LPFM licenses, with more than 70 ultimately granted construction permits. After the major losses at the start of the decade, witnessing the growing interest in starting up new college radio stations was inspiring to watch.

FCC Cuts Student Stations a Break

There was some great news for licensed U.S. college radio stations in the past decade in regards to the FCC. Instead of continuing to levy big fines regardless of station type, in 2013, the bureau decided to cut student-run radio stations a break when they committed first-time violations. Fines were lowered and compliance plans were put in place in several cases. It was nice to see this compassion and recognition that low budget college radio stations with transitory staffs can easily make mistakes and that paperwork errors shouldn’t have to bankrupt a station

CMJ’s Slow Death

An integral part of the college radio/music ecosystem for decades, CMJ started the 2010s with a full roster of activities, including an annual conference/festival in New York City, weekly radio charts, a website with music news, reviews and more, and a subscription-based trade magazine (CMJ New Music Report). CMJ’s “College Day” event during the CMJ Music Marathon featured a day of panels, performances, and an awards ceremony focused on college radio. However, behind the scenes CMJ was having financial difficulties and went through a series of changes in ownership and management. By Fall, 2016, CMJ was distintegrating. A group of former employees sued CMJ for unpaid wages dating back to October, 2015 and in Februrary, 2017, CMJ’s weekly charts ended. The slow death of CMJ was sad to witness, with the company’s trademarks up for auction in 2018.

In late 2019, word came that new owners plan to bring CMJ back in 2020, promising events, charts, and editorial. So we’ll have to wait to see what the next decade brings for CMJ. Some media reports seem to equate CMJ’s death with the supposed death of college radio; but CMJ was just one part of the college radio universe and was largely serving the music industry in recent years. To that end, other organizations cropped up to compile radio charts and curate music biz conferences.

College Radio Takes on New Forms

Throughout the decade, colleges launched all sorts of radio stations, from streaming-only to terrestrial stations. As we’ve seen since the very beginnings of radio, college broadcasting has never been limited to one method. The myriad forms of college radio over the years have included amateur radio, licensed AM radio, campus-only AM carrier current, stations communicating over public address systems, many types of licensed FM radio, HD radio, cable FM, campus cable, cable TV, internet radio, radio over the phone (accessed by calling a phone number), podcasting, streaming video stations, apps, and audio options yet to be invented. While we saw fewer and fewer of certain types of college radio stations in the 2010s (very low power class D FM stations, commercially-licensed college radio stations, and carrier current stations are less frequent than a decade ago), there was growth in LPFM stations and streaming stations continued to launch (or were revived).

Feeling nostalgic or want to take a deep dive in college radio in the 2000s? See my year-end reviews from 2019, 2017, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, and 2011, my decade in review piece from 2009, as well as our About College Radio Page.

The post More College Radio than Ever in the 2010s as it Takes New Forms appeared first on Radio Survivor.

Preservation is One of the Most Important Radio Trends of the Decade

Wed, 01/08/2020 - 16:17

Welcome to 2020! As Matthew Lasar noted this week, this year marks the 100th anniversary of some significant moments in radio history, including KDKA’s first broadcast. While other stations were on the air with regular broadcasts prior to 1920 (shout out to Doc Herrold’s early broadcasts to fellow radio amateurs); KDKA’s debut is a rallying point for history buffs and will certainly be recognized at the next Radio Preservation Task Force Conference at the Library of Congress in October, 2020.

As we celebrate 100+ years of radio, it’s encouraging that audio preservation has become an increasing priority in the past decade. While radio participants and collectors are some of the most important preservationists (how would we find those amazing boxes of tapes if they hadn’t been squirreled away in basements and closets?), the past decade has seen growing institutional interest.

In the United States, the Library of Congress National Recording Preservation Plan was created in 2012 and by 2014, the Radio Preservation Task Force (RPTF) was developed out of that. In the ensuing years, the RPTF has brought together scholars, archivists, radio stations, collectors, and enthusiasts in order to develop projects to not only save endangered recordings, but also to increase access and use of these materials.

On Radio Survivor we’ve covered not only the Radio Preservation Task Force (of which I’m co-chair of the College, Community & Educational Radio Caucus); but also some more under, the radar archival and preservation projects that aren’t necessarily affiliated with libraries or educational institutions.

Thanks to technology and a DIY ethos, modern archives can even live in the cloud. Radio scholars and fans can surf the web to find recordings from every sort of radio imaginable, including college radio shows, famous rap battles, early episodes of the call-in talk show “Loveline,” and classic Dr. Demento shows. Thanks to the Internet Archive, one can also dig up obscurities that have been uploaded by radio aircheck collectors. That’s where I happened upon some 1970s gems from KFJC (where I volunteer).

On the Radio Survivor show we’ve highlighted quite a few archives and preservation projects, including American Archive of Public Broadcasting, the Hip-Hop Radio Archive, the Queer Radio History Project, the National Federation of Community Broadcasters archive at University of Maryland, the KRAB-FM Archives, and more. When learning about various projects, I’ve also been struck by the creative ways in which archivists are working to encourage radio preservation. A 2018 KEXP-hosted pop-up digitization event is a wonderful example of how archivists from several institutions shared resources and skills in order to help members of the general public digitize treasured tapes. And, as preservationists point out, time is of the essence since many radio recordings are housed on tapes that won’t survive for much longer.

Kudos to the radio stations, archives, libraries, and funders (including “Recordings at Risk” grants through the Council on Library and Information Resources) who have drawn attention to radio preservation in the past decade.

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Want a Radio Station License? April Is the Next Chance (at Least for 127 Cities)

Wed, 01/08/2020 - 14:00

We love getting email from readers and listeners, and by far the most common inquiry we receive is asking how one can get a radio station license. For the last four years or so we haven’t had a good answer, because there hasn’t been an FCC license auction or application window since July 2015.

Though most large market radio dials around the country are pretty full, there remain places where are there some spots in the commercial band. The Federal Communications Commission will be auctioning off 130 of them beginning April 28.

Before anyone gets too excited, it’s important to note two substantial caveats. First, very few of these licenses are in large or even medium-sized markets, and they’re only in 30 states. Folks looking to broadcast in Indiana, Delaware, Idaho, New Jersey or Pennsylvania, for instance, are out of luck.

The second caveat is mostly for those interested in pursuing community-style broadcasting – unlike the licensing windows for full-power non-commercial and LPFM stations, these will cost money. It’s a real auction, with the opening bids starting at $750 for signals in places like Yakutat, AK (pop. 662), Essex, CA (pop. 89) and Wamsutter, WY (pop. 451), all the way up to $100,000 for one license in Sacramento, CA (pop. 508,530), the biggest city and market on the list by far.

It must be stressed that these are opening bids. Depending on how many bidders there are, those prices could skyrocket.

Also note that that’s just the price for the license. An actual station – with studio, tower and transmitter – is not included.

That said, if you’ve ever dreamed of owning your own radio station, this is your next best opportunity. Moreover, entering this auction is likely – but not guaranteed to be – less expensive than trying to buy an existing license on the open market.

Those that are still not discouraged have a few steps to complete before the bidding begins on April 28. The Broadcast Law Blog has a rundown of the timeline, beginning with filing a short-form application to tell the Commission what channels you’re interested in between January 29 and February 11. Keep in mind that you’ll also need the cash in hand ahead of time; the FCC requires a minimum bid deposit be made by March 20.

A final caveat is that you need to be serious if you want to be successful. Should you win an auction, the Commission will require you to fill out a full application form that specifies all the technical details for where you will site your transmitter. It’s definitely not a lottery, or a make-it-up-as-you-go-along process.

Though I have no plans to cover this auction as closely as the LPFM licensing window from 2013, I’ll be curious to see who wins.

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