In a perfect world, there will always be a place and a purpose for college radio — although many under-funded and under-staffed campus stations may need to reconfigure themselves in order to remain viable. At it’s roots, college radio has what even “university-modeled” satellite and Internet radio stations do not: authenticity. Students get to uniquely express themselves all while learning about the industry. The result is an indie techno rave hour, followed by international music, followed by sports talk, followed by a heavy metal request show — and all of them are 100% authentic. After all, where else can you hear a 48-hour KISS Halloween weekend marathon?
Of course, the real world is not always ideal. Financial and personnel constraints may cause some colleges and universities to eliminate the hefty costs of maintaining full-power AM or FM transmission. Let me assure you, there are other ways!
Streaming live, 24/7 via the Internet, Montgomery County Community College’s student-run radio station, Montco Radio, has cultivated an international listenership through its diverse programming. In fact, College Music Journal nominated Montco Radio as one of the top five college Internet radio stations in the country in 2009.
The station has come a long way since forming in the late 1960s as a student DJ club. In the early 1970s, the station began closed circuit broadcasting in MCCC’s cafeteria between 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Montco Radio went international in 2003 when it began broadcasting 24/7on the Internet, and it can be accessed today by visiting the MCCC’s website at http://www.mc3.edu and clicking on the green microphone icon in the lower right corner.
Earlier this year, Montco Radio and one of its Djs was featured in International News magazine for its diverse programing — specifically for Caffé Expresso, which features music, topics of the day and recipes—all in Italian. The show’s host, student Camilla Zeigler, a native of Milan, Italy, has inspired other international students to share their cultures on the air; for example, one student is currently working on developing a pre-recorded show in Korean.
The station has actually seen significant growth in listenership rather than a decline. In addition, there are always plenty of students interested in participating. MCCC’s digital audio production students are required to take a one-credit radio course, during which they are active with the station. However, the station, including management and board positions, is also open to the general student population as a student club. At any given time, the members are about 60% communications students and 40% other majors.