College Radio Day Resonates, Resounds, and Releases an Album
Around this time last year, we discussed the launch of College Radio Day, which has since become an international organization. The organization is now releasing College Radio Day – The Album on, of course, College Radio Day, October 2nd. In a limited print run of 1,500 copies, the two disc set will feature both signed and unsigned artists from around the world, with all sales proceeds going to the College Radio Defense Fund (more on that in a bit).
Side A consists of what College Radio Day co-founder Rob Quicke calls college radio sessions, live recordings of musicians at college stations around the US, submitted to the group by the stations themselves. “It’s unprecedented to have college stations submitting material for this album,” says Quicke. The process, as he described, was wholly democratic; stations submitted recordings to The Soundboard (a Facebook group devised by College Radio Day), and the tracks were then redistributed throughout the group and put to vote. Side B, is more of a fulfilled wishlist, where again the group voted on which artists they would like to have in addition to the sessions. A lengthy process? Typically it would be, especially in seeking permissions from signed artists like Blues Traveler, Umphrey’s McGee, The Civil Wars, and NJ’s own Bern and the Brights (who are releasing their EP Work on College Radio Day too). But this whole album was put together in six weeks, and it almost didn’t happen at all.
“People from the industry advised us that receiving clearance in under six weeks would be impossible,” says Quicke, “Clearance is a word I’ve become very familiar with. Many sleepless nights, anxiety and feelings of ‘Will this ever happen?’” But what one record label called a Herculean task was completed in a heart-pounding race that had the nose of College Radio Day just over the finish line. Quicke describes the madness of this success as “an album crafted with the spirit of college radio.”
A previewed listen to the album shows this spirit to be true. The first disc of college radio sessions is an awesome collection of songs, many previously unreleased, full of the chatter that makes the college format so enjoyable, organic, and do-it-yourself; the lo-fi hums and hisses, plosive pops and cracks, what Quicke says define these tracks as “authentic.” Even with these deformations, the recordings are still sweet on the ears, like the acoustic rendition of After Hours by We Are Scientists at WXAV in Chicago, or Cliché by Paper Aeroplanes, recorded at Quicke’s home station WPSC out of William Paterson University.
“The album isn’t perfect,” says Quicke, “future albums will be much more diverse, and cater to the international audience as well.”
And the College Radio Defense Fund? It will be, as Quicke…quickly described, a unified pool of profits from sales of the album and merchandise that will be redistributed to college stations, so they have a chance at prospering and advancing themselves in a time when the format is slowly being cut down. The digital album will be available to the world on College Radio Day, October 2nd, but the pre-order for the two cd set is up now on CollegeRadioDay.com
Our only question is what will happen when stations play the album on the day? Guess we’ll have to tune in to find out. College Radio Day has a list of participating NJ stations here.