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free103point9 Newsroom has moved to http://free103point9.wordpress.com/as of March 18, 2010 A blog for radio artists with transmission art news, open calls, microradio news, and discussion of issues about radio art, creative use of radio, and radio technologies. free103point9 announcements are also included here.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

RIP WRPI?

By Tom Roe

Alas, another great radio station may be shutting down. Or turning off? Or you may be turning it off? Whatever, conservative students interested in playing the same 40 songs as all the other rock stations in town, want to excise all that is interesting and local about WRPI (91-5-FM, Troy, NY), the station on the campus of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. We are all for student control of student airwaves, but WRPI's large signal means the station owes the larger community something, and for a long time that meant letting students and faculty take the first show time slots, and letting members of the community fill in the rest, especially holidays when the school's campus is largely shut down. That's a smart system. RPI is a part of the Hudson Valley, and the community of the Hudson Valley should also be part of WRPI. Now, though, students are cutting news shows -- the rumour on the internets is that the 9 a.m. daily "Democracy Now!" will be shed soon -- in favor of an automation machine (!) playing the same 40 songs as all the other rock stations in town. New executive committee elections on Dec. 8 have some regular listeners and on-air talent nervous. How about let's keep a great diverse station the way it is? Write to WRPI Station Manager Gino D'Addario to let him know how important WRPI is to the entire community at wrpi-sm@rpi.edu. Or you can donate to Friends of WRPI, an advocacy group for "communiversity radio" to Friends of WRPI, PO Box 1656, Troy NY 12181.

Steve Pierce, president of the Friends of WRPI, wrote in a newsletter, “The community service/alternative programming philosophy that marked much of the last decade at WRPI (and perhaps much of its nearly 50 year history as a full power FM station) is now being challenged. Over the past two years, the on-campus awareness of the radio station’s importance to the community outside of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has eroded. While some students understand that WRPI is a 10,000-watt radio station reaching hundreds of thousands of people in three states and has an educational and non-commercial mission that extends far beyond the campus community, others don’t. . . . For years student leaders cultivated and supported a student/community partnership that produced a truly unique radio station. It is with deep regret that I note that partnership is in jeopardy now.”

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