Live musicians, interviews and free tickets filled the Shepherd Union Building on Tuesday as part of Weber FM’s (KWCR 88.1) hosting of College Radio Day. The event marks the national effort to encourage independent and educational radio.
According to its mission statement on Collegeradioday.com, “the aim of College Radio Day is to raise a greater, international awareness of the many college and high school radio stations that operate around the world by encouraging people who would not normally listen to college radio to do so on this day. It is hoped that those people who do tune in like what they hear and become regular listeners. The organizers of College Radio Day believe that college radio is one of the last remaining bastions of creative radio programming, free from the constrictions of having to be commercially viable, and a place where those involved in its programming believe passionately in its mission.”
In addition to generating interest in radio, Weber State University’s station offers hands-on experience to students to enrich their education. Austin Hatch, the programing director for KWCR, said he’s grateful for the influence of radio in his college career.
“Radio has helped me enjoy my time here. I used to be a student that would come to class and then just go home, but now I have something that’s bigger than myself to be a part of.”
Jared Christensen, KWCR’s general manager and a columnist with The Signpost, also said radio has been a great help in his education.
“It’s a great way to communicate and get a message out there, as well as entertain people. For years I toyed around, and I came to the realization that I didn’t know what I needed in order to do what I wanted to. The radio station got me back in school, and now I’m going to be graduating soon. Radio put me on the path to be successful.”
Christensen introduced KWCR to College Radio Day two years ago, and it has helped with the station’s national recognition and its reach within the Ogden community.
“I came across it, and every other radio station in Utah was doing it,” Christensen said. “We have one of the best setups in the state; this building is nearly brand-new. We got involved. This year we wanted to focus on our broadcasting, including a live stream from the College Radio Day headquarters. We had a lot of people from the community involved, anyone who had been involved with the radio station. We were able to explain to the community why we feel radio is so important to the community and music. We got a lot of cool artists in here, including Fictionist. They were really nice to come up here and play for us.”
Fictionist, a Utah County indie rock group growing in popularity, was the featured guest in studio for KWCR. Fictionist has risen from its humble Utah roots to the cover of “Rolling Stone,” and Stuart Maxfield, bassist/vocalist for the band, said he credits a portion of that success to radio.
“It’s given us an opportunity to get into more ears. People still listen to radio; it’s never going away. It’s an opportunity to get more listeners. When we were in the contest to get on the cover of the ‘Rolling Stone,’ radio helped us get that edge.”
Keyboardist Jacob Jones agreed. “Radio has a cultural significance. If it weren’t for radio, we’d only be aware of the music right around us. It’s the way that music can visit other cultures. Music comes from human beings. Without radio, there would be no touring, and no sharing.”
Fictionist was signed to Atlantic Records after its rise to indie prominence. Lead guitarist Robbie Connolly said radio introduces new music to the public, and because of that, it’s important.
“(Radio) broadens what you listen to. Whether it’s college radio that’s underground, mainstream or Pandora, it’s going to expand your horizons.”