The Death of College Radio

Sure, there are some exceptions – but while updating the streaming radio directory, it is obvious that most high schools, colleges and universities that hold low power educational FM licenses are letting them go dark – at least the schools are removing any reference to them from their official web sites. Some others are being handed over to their local public radio network to run with syndicated NPR programming.

Some of this may be the result of pressure from other interests (mostly religious broadcasters) who want frequencies to build out their networks. Congress changed the law in the 1990s (Section 73.561) to require an educational station to broadcast 5 hours a day, 6 days a week and at least 36 hours a week in order to retain their license, if challenged. A station that broadcasts less than 12 hours a day may be compelled to “time share” the frequency with another station when not on the air.

Is this change what is pushing colleges out of the radio marketplace? Or is it a general lack of interest and or the lack of future employment prospects in radio?

If Jack FM’s ™ computer plays what it wants 24 hours a day, why would any human want to learn how to operate a radio station? Why work for the college station when you can run your own Shoutcast station with no rules?

Or is there something else going on here?

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