College Radio is a subject that is very close to my heart. As some of you will know, I spent much of my University years involved in Oxygen 107.9 – Oxford Student Radio – the UK’s first fully licensed student radio station. Even now, nearly 20 years on, many of my closest friends are people I met through the station, and the creative opportunities it gave us were unprecedented.
Audiences too got to hear something different; both in terms of our music policy and the style of our broadcasting, which was a welcome relief from the standard commercial radio playbook.
Globally, College Radio is a phenomenon. It’s a platform which offers broadcasters, bands and technicians around the world the chance to produce creative and innovative programming. It has given countless people (including me) a start in their career, and been the basis of thousands of friendships.
But it’s also a medium which many people may think is not for them.
College Radio Day aims to challenge that perception, by encouraging people who would not normally listen to college radio to do so on this day. As their website states: “It is hoped that those people who do tune in like what they hear and become regular listeners.”
Last year, over 700 student stations in 43 different countries participated, and the day was recognised by President Obama, Vice-President Biden and featured special content from Wyclef Jean, Moby and Andrew WK.
The brainchild of my old friend Rob Quicke, this year will see the fourth anniversary of College Radio Day. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to be involved, and to help it grow from strength to strength.