College radio not only boosts students’ prospects for careers in broadcasting, it also significantly enhances the student experience, offering institution-wide advantages too. Such are the benefits, it’s clear that campus radio is here to stay. In this post, we explore why our university customers love their radio stations, and why their students keep tuning in.
Why college radio matters
For those who assume that a college radio station is passé in a world of internet streaming services, we’d like to suggest you think again. The fact is that the humble campus radio station is far from dead. It may be a little underground, but that simply heightens its appeal to students. And how’s this for an impressive statistic: across the U.S. there’s at least 600 college radio stations. There’s some very good reasons for investing further in these stations or setting up more.
Under the radar, college radio has been thriving. Over the decades, it’s acted as a springboard for outstanding world-renowned artists like Nirvana and R.E.M. When it’s run well and professionally, the enthusiasm of its youthful contributors for the latest sounds, stories and humor puts it way ahead not only of mainstream radio but, at times, of other internet media too. It is often unique in its capacity to motivate students and offer opportunity. It fosters community and gets students communicating ideas, both over the airwaves and as fellow listeners.
And there’s nothing amateurish about the best college radio stations. Radio DePaul, for example (Chicago’s DePaul University’s offering), has won awards for its accomplished content, broadcasting everything from fiction (via its “DePaul Writers’ Series”), music from ska (“Skaficionados”) to jazz and world music (the Cabochon Jazz Radio) and even morning business reports. Other notable stations worth a listen include WERS 88.9FM (Emerson College, Boston, MA), WFUV 90.7 FM (Fordham University, Bronx, NY) and KALX 90.7 FM (University of California, Berkeley) – see Soundfly’s blog for further recommendations.
In short, setting up a student radio station can provide unique student experience opportunities and significantly boost student satisfaction scores. But that’s not all. As should now be becoming clear, student radio stations represent important assets to universities. Here are some more of them.
Learning the arts of presenting and production
College radio stations give students the invaluable experience of getting to grips with what really makes a real radio station: devising and then running specialist programs and daytime shows, and broadcasting news, drama and comedy shows. It’s not all about music.
Those who shun the limelight can gain experience in behind-the-scenes production roles which may involve managing the day-to-day running of a show, planning features, and keeping a cautious eye on exuberant presenters whose spontaneous banter might occasionally overstep the mark of acceptable decorum!
Links with the music industry
Music recording companies take college radio stations exceptionally seriously. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t deluge college radio stations with new tracks every week to gain exposure for their music. But they do. College radio is also a critical channel for up and coming independent artists and labels. In both cases, there’s a real chance that students will get to meet a favorite band in order to conduct an interview for the station. Student satisfaction ratings, you can be sure, will rise accordingly.
Live engineering expertise
As in every other walk of life, bad things happen in college radio stations. Crucial pieces of equipment get broken or go astray, yet somehow the show must go on (no one wants to listen to dead air time). Students with technical leanings can save the day by acting as station engineers.
While some students will love wittily ad-libbing into a mic, others will find themselves cringing at cheesy jingles and boring ads. If they know they can do better, they can work as writers and audio-creators, producing snazzy verbal content and all the pops, bangs and whooshes that bring airtime to life.
A worthy investment of time and money
Space precludes us mentioning the other experiences student radio can deliver, like advertising and marketing opportunities, acting as a gateway to outside broadcasting and DJing, and giving the institution a voguish internet presence by reaching online audiences.
But make no mistake: professionally run, lively college radio stations can put universities and colleges on the map with the very people they’re seeking to attract as new intake. And if you’re already running a student radio station, you should take pride in it, and consider increasing your investment.
With the help of equipment checkout software like Lorensbergs' connect2, students will have no problem accessing and organizing the equipment their institution provides to create professional broadcasts. It makes the running of a college radio station simpler than ever before. College radio is as important as it's ever been, and now easier to deliver - thanks to connect2!