When people my age (I’m on the good side of my 40s) think about college radio, we think about how bands like REM and U2 were first played and heard of through college stations. At some point between the 1980s and the 2000s, college radio had lost its luster.
WPSC – Bravery In Radio
While we may have more options nowadays to listen to new and eclectic music, like Pandora or using Spotify’s Discover feature, the best way is still through college radio. If you live in New Jersey, you can listen to some great stations, from Centenary College’s WNTI to WFUV on the campus of Fordham University. Seton Hall has a great, hard rocking/metal station that’s been killing the airwaves for years.
And then there’s WPSC – Brave New Radio, which beams from the campus of William Paterson University in Wayne. WPSC plays new Rock, Classic Rock, Hip-Hop, Jazz, Gospel, and also has great weekly programs like Music Biz 101 & More.
But WPSC is more than just a station that plays great music. They’ve created two initiatives that have essentially rebranded college radio on the East Coast, and around the world, and helped make the college radio format relevant again.
The first initiative was created by the head of the station, Dr. Rob Quicke. College Radio Day takes place each October and involves over 700 college radio stations around the globe. Like Record Store Day, the purpose of College Radio Day is to raise awareness of the format and bring ears back to the schools. In 2013, veep Joe Biden was an on-air guest to give his support.
The 2014 College Radio Day takes place on October 3rd. Save THIS LINK so you can stream WPSC and catch every moment.
The second initiative Quicke took was the institution of the Bravery In Radio Award. This award is given yearly to radio icons who have qualities, to Quicke and his student staff, that are truly bold in an era of increasingly vanilla and generic radio.
The idea is exceptional for two reasons. First, it is a nice way of recognizing talent. Previous winners include Cousin Brucie, Howard Stern & Robin Quivers, and NPR’s Radiolab.
The second reason that this award is brilliant is because it is great marketing. What better way to create more awareness about college radio than to establish a unique type of award and get on the air to present it. The 2014 recipient was Z-100’s morning man Elvis Duran. Duran’s show is one of the New York market’s biggest shows during morning drive. Think of the exposure WPSC, and college radio overall, got because of this award:
– They got those who listened live, which was somewhere in the tens of thousands, possibly in the six figures.
– They got lots of press online and in physical formats (we old timers call those things “newspapers”).
– They had more content to discuss on their airwaves.
Combine Bravery In Radio with College Radio Day and you’ve got the definition of Brave New Radio – WPSC.
Congratulations to Dr. Quicke and his staff. Keep thinking and inspiring others to be, and do, better. Here’s some video from the Elvis Duran/Z-100.