Determining what to keep and what not to for the college radio station

(I finally got around to editing and publishing this article onto the blog, after about 2 years of first writing this. A few years later, the problems are still the same and raise questions for college radio managers what to do).

If you’re a college radio manager,

The amount of music that you receive and you have is so much [why there’s so much – and there’s more than before – is for another post], you can’t keep all of it.

So, how do you determine what incoming music stays in your collection and what doesn’t ? Is it done by staff of music reviewers (students) ? What do you do with the rejects ? Putting everything that you receive (provided it does not violate FCC and/or your station’s Guidelines regarding obscenity and vulgarity) is nearly impossible, even with space concerns (even digitally, that’s another story).

As our station is a source to hear music not traditionally available in the media (although the internet is completely changing that) nearly everything except for very popular music (which is commercially available and easily accessible to the public and the student body through other medias). Even after rejecting the ones that don’t fit that format, there’s still tons of music.

For our station, we occasionally receive a single and later receive the album (or two copies of the album). We haven’t decided what to do with these yet. Other times, we receive TOP 40 music that isn’t played on our station (although changing this may be just a matter of calling someone at the label).

Although it is against the wish of the record companies and I’m neither condoning nor considering practicing this, I’ve seen these records, with the promo stamps, turn up at record shops (selling them for $2/3 for the full album) and online for sale. How widespread does this practice happen at stations, college or otherwise ?

Also, How often, if ever, do you cull through the older stuff ? Did the station budget in extra space for the eventual music when your current storage system/station was built ?

Since I began running , I know that I don’t know that much about music (and as I continue with the station, I know even less), and who the hell am I to determine what gets played and what doesn’t.

College Radio has always rested on a laurel of being progressive, cutting-edge, playing new music for the sake of being new – introducing students and the community to new music that listeners would not hear otherwise. So, does WJMD want to adopt this moral ? Should we then get rid of a lot of old music ?

But given our situation, realistically, it wasn’t feasible for our station to keep everything ,and there I could realize that a good portion of the music in our station that is so unknown is unknown precisely because it’s not that good and it deserves to be unknown. However, those moments when you find that funk record from the 70’s [that you otherwise wouldn’t hear, because not even any place on the internet has information on it] that sounds so great and leaves a fuzzy feeling in you is why I like being a DJ. :)

Part Two: What WJMD Radio is doing to manage its collection, and what other stations have done, will be posted in the coming weeks.

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