Amoeblog

College Radio Day A Grassroots Movement As Much as A One Day Celebration

Posted by Billyjam, August 15, 2012 06:13am | Post a Comment
In the aftermath of the US losing several key college radio stations over the past couple of years including KUSF 90.3FM at the University of San Francisco and Rice University's equally beloved college station KTRU in Houston, TX - parties directly affected along, with the countless others that are similarly endangered, have banded together to protest these injustices are still fighting the good fight.

Many of these same individuals are also celebrating the stations they still have while simultaneously building awareness of the cultural value & importance of college and community radio as an independent media voice. This they are doing via College Radio Day which for its inaugural event last year witnessed the participation of over 350 different radio stations. And this year's College Radio Day, taking place seven weeks from now on October 2nd, is shaping up to be an even bigger event in every way with approximately 500 radio stations already signed on to participate in this grand scale broadcast event.

Just as Record Store Day was started by struggling brick and mortar record shops round the country who joined forces, College Radio Day was begun in a somewhat similar vein. The main man responsible for College Radio Day is Rob Quicke of New Jersey's William Paterson University station WPSC who, in celebration of the second edition of this annual event, is compiling a special benefit compilation album by a wide array of artists. Side A reportedly will feature unsigned artists selected by a committee of stations while Side B will feature signed/known artists that are down for the cause and want to acknowledge the support they received from being played on College Radio over their respective careers.  All proceeds will go directly to a transparent College Radio Defense Fund established by Quicke. This week I caught up with Rob to find out more about College Radio Day and this compilation which will be available through Amoeba upon its release.
  
Amoeblog: For those who don't know the full background on College Radio Day; how did it come about?

In The Case Of KUSF 90.3FM, You Don't Know What You Got Til It's Gone

Posted by Billyjam, June 7, 2011 11:13am | Post a Comment

Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi" summed up the KUSF FM situation


I always appreciate when people utilize relevant song lyrics to reinforce a point they are making. Hence I enjoyed, during Saturday's heated Saving College Stations panel discussion on the last day of the NFCB's (National Federation of Community Broadcasters) 36th Annual Community Radio Conference in the Fillmore suite of the Parc 55 hotel in downtown San Francisco, when panelist Dorothy Kidd, quoted and gave props to Joni Mithcell's 1970 song "Big Yellow Taxi." "You don't know what you got til its gone," said the Save KUSF advocate & University of San Francisco (USF) media studies professor quoting the song's famous lyrics in reference to how she, as a listener/fan of the beloved SF college radio station, felt in the weeks and months since January 18th when  90.3FM got the plug pulled on it by her bosses at USF. 

"We don't need  technocrats to come in and control our station," continued the articulate and ever vigilant Kidd, who as a panelist at last month's SF Music Tech Summit similarly spoke out against the actions of the USF administrators. At Saturday's panel however she was directing her comments at fellow panelist (and seeming target of the entire discussion) Marc Hand of PRC (Public Radio Capital) out of Denver, CO whose company was instrumental in brokering the deal that paved the way for KUSF FM's demise.
 
Another panelist was WFMU New Jersey station manager Ken Freedman, one of the Save KUSF organization's biggest allies, who point blankly asked Hand how he could broker such a deal which he knew in his heart was just plain wrong and detrimental to the community's needs. Freedman was referring to the demise of KUSF and such other stations as KTRU FM - the Rice University radio station in Houston, TX that two months ago similarly had the plug pulled on it following a PRC brokered deal.  Panelist Duane Bradley, of Pacifica station KPFT, Houston, spoke on behalf of KTRU and noted that how Rice University's lame excuse for getting rid of the popular Houston college station after 40 years on the air was that they "needed the space to build a new cafeteria." Bradley also made the excellent point of how, when a volunteer run college or community radio station like KTRU or KUSF goes away for good, so too does the combined pool of irreplaceable resources of music programmers who are extremely knowledgeable of and passionate for the music they specialize in - so much so that they do it all for free.

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Fifth Month In Exile, Ousted KUSF DJs Continue To Be Remarkably Resilient, Tirelessly Keeping Station Going 24/7 Online and Fighting To Get Back on FM Dial

Posted by Billyjam, June 3, 2011 10:54pm | Post a Comment

While the tireless members of the Save KUSF organization are realistic enough not to expect any miracles to come out of the NFCB's (National Federation of Community Broadcasters) 36th Annual Community Radio Conference at the Parc 55 hotel in downtown San Francisco this week, which features the pertinent panel discussion Saving College Stations on Saturday (June 4th) morning at 9am, there is an underlying hope that with this national gathering of like minded individuals - equally passionate about the importance 
 
of local, community radio - that some new pointers on how to get KUSF back on the FM dial might arise. Or at the very least that there will be a show of solidarity towards the unfairly ousted KUSF programmers from their fellow left of the dial broadcasters of the NFCB whose tag is, "We are local. We are global. We are independent, connected, and engaged." 

Since KUSF was abruptly pulled off the FM dial on January 18th, when the University of San Francisco (USF) management secretly worked out a deal with Public Radio Capital (PRC) replacing 90.3FM with an out of town programmed classical station, the ripples have been felt across the country by other college & small non-commercial radio stations who, particularly in this time of federal & state funding cutbacks and universities clamoring for ways to generate money, wonder if they might be next to get the plug pulled on them. The move by USF was not an isolated one but rather part of an increasing trend by budget challenged colleges across the country. While tomorrow's panel will focus on the events that went down at KUSF and KTRU (another radio station that got kicked off the air) its message of what to do when your station faces the chopping block is as much, if not more so, directed at those college/student stations that are still on air but could soon face a similar fate.

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Record Store Day Was "Totally Awesome, Insane, and Busy": RSD 2011 Report Pt III

Posted by Billyjam, April 16, 2011 08:08pm | Post a Comment

Wow! What a Record Store Day 2011 at Amoeba Music! And there's still a couple of hours left. "Today has been a total and complete success. Totally awesome and insane and busy. I haven't seen anything like this before in the nine years I've worked here. It certainly seems like the biggest Record Store Day we've had, Xmas-style busy all day," said Rachael from the Hollywood Amoeba at 6:30pm this evening, when things had slowed down a bit but by no means come to a close for RSD 2011.

The same was also true for both the Berkeley and San Francisco Amoebas, where people in line earlier today included such folks as the guys from SAVE KUSF and musician Jeff Glave, who was interviewed by Audra (see video below).

At each store Amoeba shoppers lined up outside from hours before opening this morning, jockeying a spot in line to cop some of the approximately 300 exclusive and rare RSD 2011 releases. What set this year's RSD apart from previous years was not just the volume of releases but the musical diversity that appealed to a broad cross-section of Amoeba customers.

Since it was launched just three short years ago, Record Store Day (RSD) has grown by leaps and bounds in terms of both record stores and record labels participating. Beginning in 2008 the first RSD tallied 300 independent record stores across the US, including all three Amoeba Musics, among its retail participants. Back then the number of exclusive RSD 2008 releases amounted to a total of ten special edition records being released. Fast forward to this year and the number of special RSD 2011 releases was approximately 300 with approximately 1500 record stores participating -- and no longer confined to the US. There are now RSD-rocking stores in 20 countries overseas, too, in Europe,  Japan, and Australia. In each of those countries today, as well as here at the three Amoeba stores, it was the special RSD 2011 releases that seemed to be the main attraction for attendees.

Two Petitions to Deny Transfer of KUSF's FM License Successfully Filed with the FCC Over Weekend

Posted by Billyjam, February 28, 2011 11:36am | Post a Comment
Yo La Tengo
Last night as Colin Firth and all the other Oscars 2011 winners were celebrating in Hollywood, up north in San Francisco the members of the Save KUSF collective were still celebrating their weekend victory in the ongoing battle to win back their radio station, which had the plug pulled January 18th. Due to support for the much beloved San Francisco non-commerical radio station, not just one (as anticipated) but two Petitions to Deny the transfer its terrestrial FM license had been filed with the FCC. Saturday (Feb 26th) was the cutoff date and for the past five and a half weeks the tireless members of the Save KUSF group held a series of events, including the big radio station simulcast at Amoeba SF on Feb 18th, to garner support to reverse the move by the University of San Francisco. And support has been building rapidly! Last Tuesday at the Fox Theater in Oakland, Ira of the group Yo La Tengo sported a Save KUSF t-shirt on stage in a show of solidarity.

In an email Saturday night from Save KUSF's Kenya Lewis, who is one of the many hard working volunteers with the group, she praised the "steady and practical commitment to what was necessary to be sure KUSF-FM 90.3 remains the stalwart voice of SF and hub of our community, right where it belongs on the left-hand side of the FM radio dial here in San Francisco." Lewis also acknowledged that the battle is far from over and went on to say, "the next set of legal, negotiation, and community-building work will require an equal amount of rigor, dedication, and commitment -- which we have now proven is entirely possible." Lewis noted that the importance of winning this battle is not just a local one -- hopefully they can "help buck a bad nationwide trend" in which universities have been selling off their radio station FM signals and thereby depriving their respective communities of an important alternative media voice. For more info visit Save KUSF.

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