Where Independence Meets Its Match: The Intersection of Musical Identity, Record Promotion and College Radio Programming
College Radio has long been championed for being one of the last independent voices on a radio dial dominated by corporate for-profit stations. While corporate stations program their playlists towards whatever is on the charts, independent programming has long been part of the appeal of college radio. However, college radio music directors are in constant contact with record promoters whose sole goal is to get their clients' records played on-air. While a notion of independence is central to college radio's musical identity, these record promoters hold a great deal of power in the decision making process. Upon investigation at WVU in the spring of 2008 and at WVU, Pitt and Washington & Lee in the Fall of that year, it appears that contact with certain record promoters, as opposed to a record's own merits, are the key factor in whether that record would be included on the playlist. It was discovered that seven record promotional houses account for a disproportionate number of all albums received and played by the college radio stations and function as more of a gatekeeper to the airwaves than the music directors themselves.
0708: Mass communications