It’s normally at this time of the year that anyone involved with running a college radio station takes a look at their calendar and the dwindling number of days left before classes start and then steels themselves to take a sobering look at the number of tasks yet to be completed. Often the numbers don’t look good. Too few days left to do too many things in order to get ready for the start of a new academic year. About this time the adrenaline starts to kick in. Starbucks orders transform from coconut-raspberry iced teas to straight black coffees with four sugars.
At the start of the summer, the sense of time available to get things done is purely illusory. As soon as graduation wraps it’s easy to eyeball the remaining weeks of May and to view the unfolding, almost soporific weeks of June, July and August as positively luxurious amounts of time to get things done at the radio station. Often there are plans to install new equipment, to overhaul complete studios, or add a lick of paint to the lounge area. In terms of planning, there are efforts to tweak the station handbook, to look at what events will take place in the fall semester and to start gearing up for the recruitment and training process.
Although many students leave campus for the summer and only return once classes get underway, it would be untrue to say that college radio is completely dormant during the summer. After all, there are still many community volunteers who broadcast their weekly shows throughout the entire summer as they do the rest of the year. Some students also make a point of doing their shows during the summer and plan their work schedules accordingly. The station many be quieter than usual – but there is a sense that the mission and the broadcasts must continue.
But, as I pointed out, there just never seems to be enough time to get everything done. So as months turn into weeks and then into days, priorities must be made and decisions taken as to what has to be done. Often, exotic and fanciful ideas and plans are mercilessly jettisoned so that the absolutely essential can be accomplished, like installing a new transmitter or EAS machine.
With less than an month to go, I asked a few college radio GM’s what they had left to do before classes start:
Anabella Poland, WMSC at Montclair State University in NJ: “WMSC meets a couple of times before the semester starts in what we call the ‘WMSC Retreat’. We get a new team together to get to know one another and we do team building activities, but we also record new showmos and imaging. We also use this time to look at the semester ahead and mark our calendars with event programming, whether it is a set date such as CRD or Election Night, we strive to schedule ahead different teams to work on different projects. We make changes to our online schedules and then plan our Welcome Week!”
Lance Liguez, UTA Radio at University of Texas at Arlington, TX: “As the semester gets closer we start thinking about training for new DJs as well as out sports staff on our new (ish) Comrex system. Our news staff will meet a week out and then start hashing out stories to cover for our twice-weekly UTA Radio News. New this semester is “Radio Maverick” a news and interview podcast that we will be creating.”
Jeff Szczesniak at WDWN Radio, Cayuga Community College in Auburn, NY: “Three things we will be doing: (1) Digital & Paper Housekeeping of audio files, syllabus, projects & assignments etc for the semester (2) Making sure student manager office hours, radio shifts and training observations are posted visibly and ready to go, and (3) make sure our account is current so we can enjoy PIZZA at staff & club meetings!”
What are your plans for the rest of the summer? And, perhaps, more importantly, can you make it happen before the first day of classes? May the odds be ever in your favor….