April 24th, 2009 by Carolyn
I’ll tell you right off I am completely biased when it comes to radio. I love it. Ever since I was a kid until today, I listen almost constantly. Right now I am listening to KUSF 90.3 FM in San Francisco which is my station of choice. It is probably because I work there but also it is my home station. Sadly, San Francisco has only one college radio station. Fortunately, Berkeley has one too.
I grew up in Quincy, MA, outside of Boston where college radio is a staple. There were four stations I listened to consistently WMBR, WHRB, WZBC and WERS. The commercial rock stations would recruit their DJs from college radio so their musical knowledge and daring would move with them. As a result the commercial stations at the time were also playing exciting and interesting music. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.
When I moved to San Francisco in 1990 I immediately sought out the “good” radio stations. I was living in a shitty hotel in the Tenderloin and had only a small boom box to my name. But I needed music and was so happy when I came across KUSF. It took me three months to finally volunteer at the station. Now I have been a DJ there for 19 years.
When I was a kid I wanted to be a radio DJ. To me it was the ideal job, playing records all day and getting paid for it. I did it at home for free so I was already training for it. Of course, when I got older and familiarized myself with how the radio business works, I realized at most commercial stations the DJs were told what to play. Where’s the fun in that? There is so much great music out there. Why limit yourself? This is why I went to college radio. It’s the freedom.
KUSF is celebrating its 32nd birthday on Saturday night, April 25th at the Peacock Lounge, 552 Haight Street, SF with three fabulous local bands Kelley Stotlz, Ty Segall and I Love My Label. Come out and celebrate the joy of non-commercial radio and music. Or if you aren’t in San Francisco, join us by tuning into your local college or community radio station. Open your windows and turn up the volume. Commercial radio may be dead, but community radio should live forever. Use it or lose it.
(show flier above by Doran Shelley)