Today I was part of a panel entitled “Low Power, High Ideals for Noncommercial Broadcasting” at the 2007 convention of the Broadcast Education Association (BEA). Every April, the BEA meets at the National Association of Broadcasters annual mega-convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. My talk was entitled “Low Power, High Ideals for Student Radio: Enhancing the Electronic Sandbox in an iPod World.” Below is the text of my presentation.
It is always a pleasure to gather annually in this Mecca of conspicuous consumption to extol the high ideals of public service broadcasting. I’ve spent most of my career seeking to foster those high ideals at low power student radio stations. From carrier current to Class D FM, from leaky cable to closed-circuit public address systems, from webcasting to podcasting, student radio has employed a wide and fascinating diversity of technologies to pursue high ideals on a shoestring. I’m confident the future will bring even more innovations for student radio.
But the future can be tricky to predict without a firm grasp of where we’re coming from. So in keeping with the theme of this year’s conference, “Creating the Future by Understanding the Past,” I think it’s appropriate for those of us who advise student media to try to learn from our past, as we try to help students create an even better future for college radio. My goal for the next few minutes is to revisit some high ideals for student radio that I articulated at this conference fifteen years ago. Some of you may still recall that paper, as it was soon published in Feedback, was responded to a few times in subsequent issues of Feedback, and it has since become my most widely cited work on student media advising.
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