Friday, July 23, 2010

Hey! College Radio Jock! Your Programming Skills Suck Too!

About a month and half ago, I wrote a post lamenting the current state of commercial radio, all of which was completely justified. Today's post will cover the current state of college radio, which will be a little more personal in nature, simply because it's about the jock themselves who program the shows and not the general manager.

Most of the points I'm about to bring up are geared towards the under thirty crowd, simply because a good chunk of the college jocks on the air today are under thirty and have no qualms in turning off as many listeners as they see fit.

1} I don't care about your political viewpoint. Whether you think that the current President is the greatest thing to happen to America or that GWB is the worst thing to happen since AIDS, that Cheney and Halliburton are crooks, and that 9/11 was an inside job, is irrelevant*. I tune into the station to listen to an eclectic mix of music, not to hear you ramble on about your politics nor listen to the skewered political music that only 1% of your listeners actually care about AND that hasn't been relevant for ten years.

*Actual thoughts spoken during the various radio programs I've listened to.

2} I don't like laziness. I'm sorry that you feel that your social life must take precedence over doing a good programming job for your show, but to take your IPod and plug it in, then announce to the world that you didn't feel like doing your job properly is inexcusable (so is putting your show on tape and broadcasting it that way as well). You volunteered for the gig to begin with, so treat it with the respect that it deserves. Which means showing up a couple of hours early to get half the music ready for your shift. Because of the non-commercial, non-talk format, you'll have plenty of time to get the remainder of your show programmed.

3} Just because you have a fave artist doesn't mean you need to play an hour's worth (or more) of their music. Seriously, the last thing I want to listen to, is an hours worth of music from someone who stopped being relevant by the end of the 60's and stopped putting out good music by the mid-80's. Like Bob Dylan.

If you want to play your fave artist, that's fine. Just limit yourself to twenty minutes top of your beloved.

The only exceptions to this rule should be 1) a birthday tribute (ex. Elvis) or 2) the artist is coming to the area for a show and you want to give everyone a sample (ex. Public Image Limited).

4} Unless your show starts after the FCC mandated hour of 10p, please refrain from playing music loaded with profanity. There is nothing worse than jamming to a song and suddenly having the volume drop or the words becoming garbled. While I don't mind profanity in my music, I really can't afford to be caught listening to it at work.

5} Stop interrupting a song every ten seconds in a vain attempt at stopping home recording. Seriously, if you think that's a good thing, you're sadly mistaken. I can't tell you how many times I was starting to get into a particular type of music that I usually don't listen to, only to suddenly hear your whiny scratchy voice interrupting my listening pleasure.

These are some of my pet peeves (trust me, I have loads more) about college radio. How 'bout you? Want to add any of your own to the mix?


  1. I listen to college radio a bit - my alma mater at Georgia State University has WRAS-FM 88.5 - they focus on new alternative music and "underground classics." I don't find that they ramble on so much about politics, etc., although one guy did go on a little too long one morning about Lebron James's primetime show a couple of weeks ago.

  2. Sounds like they mostly do whatever the heck they want eh? I don't listen to many college stations. Not even sure we have any down here. Probably.

  3. I don't listen to college radio, but my daughter listens to Trinity's Morning Jazz show and enjoys that. I've found that more and more of radio is filled up with pointless talk and don't tune in, but listen to my own choice of cd's instead lately. We've noticed that for some reason, the summertime radio programs are even worse ... it's hard to find music at all for more than a few minutes at a time.

  4. Very justified complaints! I guess that's why I don't listen to college radio. Well, I do now and then, but usually only by accident.

  5. Once again, you've nailed all of my pet peeves...especially #3.

  6. I hear you I hear you! Not that I listen to College radio. I have to say whenever I do listen to radio stations in the States the amount of adverts and the way the dj's drone on and on drives me insane! I think a great many things are better in your wonderful country, but not radio stations or tv.

  7. Lynn: About the only college station that I've been able to find that doesn't ramble on about politics, etc., is WFCS Central CT University. They are truly into the music, no mattter what genre or sub-genre. A very tough station to receive, but well worth the effort.

    Charles: Just about. You can find almost any kind of music that you like on the college stations down here, but sometimes you really have to put of with a good chunk of the stuff that I've mentioned in order to listen to it.

    Joanne: I actually prefer Trinity's jazz programming (although a well known jock/jazz musician from the show passed away a couple of months ago) over the University of Hartford's. Trinity's jazz is a bit more eclectic than Trinity's.

    Not sure about the summertime radio programs being worse, unless New Age music is making a resurgence, then we're all doomed.

    R.K.: Glad I succeeded. I do know that during the Friday morning rock show I listen to, the jock (who is a rock critic for the Hartford Courant) played about 30 minutes worth of PiL, because they were coming to the area and he wanted to give the listeners a sample of their work, which is good thing.

    But man, when you play one artist for about an hour, then you've completely lose me as a listener.

    Joe: Unfortunately, that is the norm, especially if you listen to top 40 stuff. I would say for an average hour of that, you would be extremely lucky if you get tweny minutes of music out of that hour.

    I agree with you 100% about television as well.

  8. Years ago, I used to listen to college radio. I think it's a shame that radio programming isn't as conversational and fun as it used to be. I joke with my husband that I would want to me a Rocking Mama DJ someday. He said that no one is out there to listen. LOL.

  9. I wouldn't mind being a jock on college radio. I think it would be quite interesting to learn how things function again and having a bigger head than I already got.

  10. Ironically, most of those point apply to commercial radio, as well...

  11. Lana: Very true. However, in college radio it's more blatant. So long as you don't do George Carlin's seven words you can't say on television or don't do anything extremely provocative (like saying someone famous is dead) then you're pretty much got free reign to do whatever.

  12. Hi Georgie B!

    Totally agree -- especially with politics. So tired of hearing about politics, either side. Play the music, love the music. None of the lazy IPOD stuff either!

  13. Michelle: The politcs here are so intense that it often colors a jocks musical selections (extremely pro-Dem on the campuses here).

    And yeah, I come across about a couple a month when people decide to plug in their IPod and do the show. I mean, if you can put that much effort into programming three hours worth of music into an IPod, you can certainly spend the time doin your show.


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