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In celebration of College Radio Day on Tuesday, Weber State University’s radio station, KWCR 88.1 Weber FM, had special guests perform in studio performances and interviews. The radio station also presented the WSU free concert series in the ballrooms of the Shepherd Union Building later that evening.
This was the first year that WSU has participated in College Radio Day, and this is also the first year that College Radio Day has gone international. According to www.collegeradioday.com, Oct. 11, 2011 was the first College Radio Day ever recognized. This year, radio stations from more than 28 countries participated, with four other radio stations from Utah.
Matt Ross, a sophomore at Utah State University studying business, said Aggie Radio is currently just doing online streaming, but also participated in College Radio Day. His radio show, Ratboy’s Radio Show, plays music from local artists along the Wasatch Front and in Cache County.
“College radio is the best way for local bands to get heard,” Ross said.
He said he believes college radio isn’t dying, but actually growing.
“Students might not ever receive the chance to be heard on mainstream radio stations, (but) college radio gives students that opportunity.”
The aim of College Radio Day is to raise awareness of college radio stations and encourage not only students, but also the public, to tune in to these stations if they normally wouldn’t. Many local artists who believe college radio helps promote the local music scene also endorse College Radio Day.
“Supporting College Radio Day is supporting local bands,” said Paul Zuniga, a member of the local bands Tribes and Critical Nixons. “The thing that is cool about college radio is they play local music.”
Tribes will be releasing its full-length, 11-song album later this month, but will only perform once more after the release. Zuniga gave an in-studio performance before the WSU concert series, which he opened for.
Zuniga has played at WSU before, but he hadn’t been on the radio until he performed for College Radio Day and was interviewed by Eden Buxton and Austin Hatch in the studio. Buxton, a photography major and junior, has been involved with KWCR since 2010.
Zuniga talked about the various musical projects he is working on and how different it is to perform on the radio in comparison to a live audience.
“It was a little weird,” he said. “It was my first time, so it was almost like I was in a recording studio. I had that train of thought, like, ‘you can’t mess up,’ which in turn made you mess up. So it was different, but it wasn’t bad.”
The emphasis on local music is something specific to college radio stations around the nation. According to www.collegeradioday.com, college radio is the only free live medium “brave” enough to play unsigned, local and independent artists on a regular basis.
Michael Gross and the Statuettes, who headlined the concert series, have been featured on KWCR’s local music radio shows before. Gross, the lead singer and guitar player, said college radio is important because independent artists can be heard by people that probably otherwise wouldn’t hear them.
“I think a lot of people would enjoy a lot of the bands that college radios play,” Gross said. “I think a lot of people aren’t even aware that there is a College Radio Day.”
The concert lasted from 6-9 p.m. and is the first of many free concerts in the works presented by KWCR 88.1 Weber FM. Jared Christensen, general manager of WSU’s radio station, said the next concert will be a benefit show for Hope For the Holidays as a food drive for Ogden Rescue Mission. This concert will be off campus, and the station will announce the bands who will perform in it later this month.
“This is going to continue again throughout the year,” he said. “After this on-campus event, we are going to have more off campus and in the community.”
Christensen said he encourages not only students, but also anyone who listens to college and community radio, to like KWCR’s Facebook page and download its iPhone app.