For many obsessive fans who grew up in the pre-Internet era, a passion for music was sparked in the dingy basements and dark booths of college radio stations. Despite sound boards that are decades out of date and rapidly-changing tastes, that tradition has endured. The best college stations remain dedicated to delivering music that falls outside the purview of Billboard-charting mainstream radio.
If anything, the shifting climate has caused student station managers and music directors to work harder at keeping their stations relevant. And with good reason: at the radio station, they found comrades with whom they could trade mixtapes and stay up late into the night raving about life-changing B-sides.
Bandcamp speaks from personal experience: even if our first shows were at 4am on Tuesday nights, they were the best two hours of our entire week. In this feature called Better Know a College Radio Station, we spotlight the programmers, music directors and general managers who make sure the “On-Air” light never burns out.
Last month, we chatted with Marta Ligocki, program director at CJSW 90.9 FM in Calgary and now we catch up with Delphine Douglas, James Fast, and Ivy Green of Vassar’s WVKR 91.3 FM.
Tell us about the history of your station. When did you start broadcasting?
Green: WVKR sent out its first broadcast in the 1930s, became an AM station in the early 1970s, has been an FM station since 1976, and has been broadcasting at 3400 watts since 1994.
Douglas: This is our 40th year as an FM station!