350 Student Stations Unite in Honor of College Radio Day

Roughly 350 student-run radio stations across the U.S. and Canada are taking to the airwaves in solidarity today, in hopes of “raising the profile of what college radio stations are doing across North America.”

The first College Radio Day is part celebration, part publicity/pledge drive, part protest.  As its co-organizers ask, “Isn’t it about time . . . that college radio stations came together for one day and reminded everyone how important we are?  From breaking new artists, producing creative and groundbreaking programming, to being the home of tomorrow’s famous broadcasters, college radio plays an important role in the North American media landscape.”

At some point today– along with possibly running live music, special interviews, and College Radio Day news bulletins– all participating stations are required to air an earnestly educational/call-to-arms keynote address titled, “College Radio in 2011: Its Past, Present & Future.”

Unfortunately, the latter looks especially bleak at the moment.  As a new USA Today report shares, “America’s college radio stations, long credited with giving that first break to little-known musicians and offering a voice for idiosyncratic viewpoints, are at risk of losing their identity to budget-cutters. . . . [A] steady stream of universities nationwide . . . have been selling or transferring their FM licenses to non-student operations, typically in response to tighter budgets and a rapidly changing media industry.”

Amid the changes, organizers and supporters have pegged College Radio Day as “a time to start tuning in and fighting back against the corporate takeover of radio.  It’s time to support creative programming and truly independent content and music you can’t find anywhere else.  It’s time to start giving back to the stations that help break the bands you love.  Come on!  Give it the old college try!  It’s time we all come together.”

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