High Ideals for Student Radio

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.

Dr. Thompsen presents at BEA 2007 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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CMA 2005 Convention

This year’s College Media Convention was supposed to be in New Orleans, but because of Hurricane Katrina, the meeting was held in Kansas City. This year 11 West Chester University students joined me for three days of learning, sharing and networking. I offered three sessions myself for CBI (College Broadcasters Incorporated), one of the groups co-sponsoring the event. The WCU students who joined me for CMA 2005 included five from WCUR, four from The Quad, and two from WCU-TV. Here’s a picture of the “WCU Media Gang.”

WCUR OMG 1000!

Tonight was WCUR’s Battle of the Bands, also known as OMG 1000! Taking home the $1000 prize was…Back of the Bus! Congratulations to all four bands making the final cut, who performed to a packed Sykes Union ballroom. And a special thank-you to all of the WCUR staff for their hard work in making this a great promotional event for WCUR, West Chester University’s student-operated radio station.




Back of the Bus wins WCUR’s OMG 1000! pbh.gif

The Moldy Oldies Show

Every Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m., I host the “Moldy Oldies Show” on WCUR, 91.7 FM. I’m the faculty advisor to West Chester University’s radio station, and doing an airshift each week keeps me in the thick of things. And I enjoy playing music from the era when I used to be a professional radio announcer. Helping me each week are Douglas, executive producer and doowop dandy, Kathy, associate producer and interviewer extraordinaire, and Marcus, assistant producer and caustic commentator. Each week we present some great music, interview a local notable, and talk about what’s going on. We gladly play requests from my extensive oldies collection. Check it out, Thursday afternoons from 4 to 6 on 91.7 FM, and on our web stream at www.wcur.fm

Host Dr. Phil

Executive Producer Douglas

Associate Producer Kathy

Assistant Producer Marcus

CMA 2004 Convention

The Convention HotelOn November 3, the day after the 2004 Presidential election, I travelled with a group of my students from The Quad to the annual College Media Convention. It was a great convention, with many informative sessions for students involved in college media, including newspapers, radio, television, yearbooks and the web. At one of the sessions, I gave a presentation on “The Future of Automation for Noncommercial Radio.” It was fairly well attended for an 8 a.m. session, despite the fact that Shanai Twain was giving a free concert in the streets of Nashville at the same time as part of the Good Morning America television program. 
Welcome to the 2004 College Media Convention
Welcome to the College Media Convention

Good Morning America and Shania Twain
Good Morning America hosts Shanai Twain

Lauren and Kelli kicking it up
Lauren and Kelli kicking it up in Nashville