On my Spinning Indie blog I have an ambitious project in which I’m trying to profile a college radio station from each of the 50 states in the U.S. I started the series in October, 2008, when I took my first virtual trip to KXUA in Arkansas.
I managed to get to 15 states total before I lost steam, mainly due to the challenges of actually getting stations to reply to my pleas for interviews. The final station, ironically, was WRVU, which is now embroiled in drama over its future after it moved to an online-only format after its license holder changed the station call letters and opted to rent out the airwaves to a public radio group. I wrote my “tour” piece about WRVU back in April, 2010, just a few months after a controversial decision to limit the number of non-student DJs at the station.
So, two years later, the tour is back in motion. The aim of this series is to bring to light some of the intriguing radio stations located in both expected and unexpected places in every corner of the U.S.
The 15 college radio stations that I’ve featured thus far include stations in Arkansas, Wisconsin, Kansas, Louisiana, Alaska, North Dakota, Nevada, West Virginia, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, California, Nebraska, Idaho, and Tennessee.
The time around I “travel” to South Carolina to learn more about Clemson University radio station WSBF. In existence for more than 50 years, the initial idea for WSBF was conceived by Clemson freshman Van Fair in 1956. After writing a paper for his English class about why Clemson should have a radio station, he began the process of making that desire into a reality. In 1957 he teamed up with other interested students, including one who was running a pirate AM station out of his dorm room. In late 1957 the call letters WSBF were selected and the carrier current campus-only station was built in 1958 and went on the air on May 1st of that year. WSBF then began the process to transition to an FCC-licensed FM station and began FM broadcasts in 1960. In his accounting of the early days of the station, Fair writes, “I know that my experiences at WSBF prepared me as much for life as my Clemson education did.”
The complete story about WSBF is continued on Spinning Indie.