By Gabrielle Blanchard, Assistant Editor
Since 2011, college radio stations throughout the country have taken part in “College Radio Day,” a 24-hour program for students to unite to celebrate a shared love of college radio. West Liberty’s student-run and produced station, 91.5 WGLZ, has taken part in College Radio Day for the past few years and is ready for this year’s event.
College radio is often an under-appreciated presence on college campuses, and many schools across the country don’t even have a station, whether due to lack of interest, funds, or both. It is also a great learning tool for students by giving them an opportunity to find and hone their voices through on-air experience and training; the training is also behind the scenes as well as students learn the ins and outs of the business.
Being involved with college radio allows students to be part of an experience that is continuously at the forefront of the industry – it is also a niche that allows for creative freedom as well as unique programming that is often able to adapt and change with the times much more quickly than mainstream radio. It offers a more diverse environment than mainstream radio, and each station allows its participants to develop their unique voices and sound, giving students the opportunity to find themselves in the process.
Created by Rob Quicke in 2011, College Radio Day helps highlight and celebrate all these aspects to college radio on a wide scale, proving why these stations are so important. With over 300 schools throughout the country signed up to partake in the celebrations, there’s certainly still a love and interest for college radio out there but getting the word out about the existence of these stations and having them tune in is a completely different issue.
That’s where College Radio Day comes into the picture. Though it was initially limited to the U.S. when it first started, the event began to garner international interest and World College Radio Day was founded in 2012.
“College Radio is a very special format. From the variety of music played to the various talk shows, it’s very much a grab bag of everything. A lot of what you hear in College Radio isn’t what you will necessarily hear on a mainstream station. That’s what gives college radio its niche. It has something to appeal to all listeners,” said Walker Polivka, WGLZ Station Manager. “WGLZ has been much more involved in the organization process year. Between getting stations registered across the United States and getting quality liners for stations to play during their celebration of the event, it has been a unique challenge. WGLZ is looking forward to the big day and has lots of great interviews lined up throughout our specialty programming.”
The art of radio production is certainly something to be celebrated. As a society, we’ve largely found other forms of entertainment to hold well over our interest over the course of a century. Movies, television, and the internet seem have become a replacement for it. We don’t sit around listening to radio shows and plays anymore with announcers to warn us of unexpected alien invasions (War of the Worlds) or hearing stories about Superman while waiting to hear Shakespeare’s plays. This was in addition to receiving the news and, of course, music as well as interviews and other forms of entertainment.
Radio eventually had to reinvent itself to keep up with the changing times. Nowadays, we have podcasts on our phones, tablets, and laptops. Despite this reimagining and reinvention, the fact is, radio has never really gone away. We might not sit around the living room just to listen to it with family anymore, but it is still an influential part of life with endless amounts of talent behind it.
In creating College Radio Day, Quicke has hopes to shed light on these talents and the hard work they put into running their stations; with many schools throughout the country having to shut their stations down due to lack of interest, funds, or a combination of both, students are left without this potential outlet and the future of radio is left with a question mark next to it — if we’re not training tomorrow’s talent now, who do we hope is able to enter the field later on?
Those schools lucky enough to still have a station are welcomed and encouraged to participate at no cost plus being given items by the foundation to help with running their station.
The benefits to this are immense and have a broad reach, with a great impact on those who participate and those who support these schools in their efforts to bring awareness to their stations. It helps to keep these stations alive and able to keep changing the landscape of radio,
College Radio Day begins at 12 a.m. on Oct. 4 and continues for the next 24 hours. WGLZ is celebrating the event with a 48-hour marathon. WGLZ started the marathon yesterday, Oct. 3, at 12 p.m.
Photo Credit: Walker Polivka