KUCR Celebrates 45th Broadcast Anniversary on National College Radio Day

RIVERSIDE, CA. On Tuesday October 11th, KUCR 88.3fm will celebrate its 45th anniversary, while joining with over 270 other college radio stations from across the United States, Canada and even Jamaica as they participate in the inaugural College Radio Day.

The nationally coordinated effort is the brainchild of Rob Quicke, general manager of WPSC-FM at William Paterson University and Peter Kreten, general manager of WXAF-FM at Saint Xavier University. The mission “is to harness the combined listenership of hundreds of thousands of college radio listeners throughout North America and to celebrate the important contribution of college radio to America’s airwaves by uniting for this one day.”

Participating stations have pledged to devote a portion of their October 11 broadcast day to extol the virtue, importance and relevance of college radio programming.

KUCR Director and General Manager Louis Vandenberg said, “KUCR is college radio in its finest tradition, so we welcome this special day to recognize the unique broadcasting we do.  KUCR participates in College Radio day to strongly assert the unique and important contribution these stations make in presenting new music and thoughtful public affairs into mainstream culture.  Exposing new artists, which  is one of the things college radio does, keeps American arts fresh and vibrant.”   He added, “college radio brought acts like REM, U2, Beck and Nirvana to huge popularity.  Hip-Hop, which is now the dominant popular style, was first aired on college radio on the east coast.”

Appropriate to the spirit of the day, KUCR will be celebrating its 45th anniversary of their inaugural broadcast on October 2nd, 1966. The station was the original conception of UCR students and was championed into a living reality by then-Chancellor Ivan Hinderaker as a student-centered entity.  In his memoirs, Hinderaker cited the creation of KUCR among his top four favorite accomplishments as Chancellor.  Today, the station plays its diverse format of musical styles, including indie rock, jazz, classical, progressive hip-hop and more, along with a variety of public affairs, 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year.

Vandenberg said that students create, organize, host and engineer their own original on-air programs. The station is one of the most honored in the UC system with a number of awards, including a Golden Microphone, among its accolades. The station has over 3,000 participant alumni, in various fields, ranging from broadcasting and show business to medicine and venture capital.  It is funded through student fees.

The station is often a special experience for its student staff members.  As UCR Biology Senior, Edgar Montoya puts it, “Beyond my academic studies, KUCR has really opened my view of the world.  Because of KUCR’s program and staff diversity, I’ve learned of other cultures through their music.  We have a peer family atmosphere here.  KUCR will always and forever be the greatest memory of my time at UCR.  And more than that, KUCR will have been the most treasured journey I set on to find myself.”  Montoya hosts his radio program, “Sabor a Mi,” on Thursdays 11am to 1pm.

“The station is very unique,” Vandenberg said. “It was conceived as a means for student creativity, expression and experience, in which students develop their talent and aptitude in communication, organization and media production by doing.  KUCR’s mission is experiential in one sense, but it also to be solid, interesting and informative radio in another.  It’s programming mission is not to replicate the mainstream, but to provide original musical, cultural and public affairs content not available elsewhere.  It is this content diversity that enriches the campus and community,” Vandenberg said.  “The music shows are not so much ‘dejayed’ as they are curated.  The program hosts are deeply knowledgable and passionate about the music they play, “ he added.  “The public affairs programs are thoughtful, solid and fact-based.  American media today is a corporate, focus-grouped, least-common-denominator product, often lacking in character, integrity and passion.  Many so-called ‘non-commercial’ stations have taken on the same bland why-bother approach.  College stations deliver passionate hand-made radio in truckloads every second.  We maintain that although the Inland Empire isn’t normally associated with cutting-edge music, arts and thinking, KUCR has held to those values steadfastly, doing its broadcasts as well or better as any other station of its type in the world.”

The station’s anniversary and College Radio day come together as KUCR is set to release some of vast archival materials collected by the late William Elledge, one of KUCR’s student founders and its longtime Chief Engineer.  According to KUCR Archivist Elliott Kim, “as I catalog this enormous collection of recorded and documentary material, I am amazed on an almost daily basis at all the things this station has done.  The Elledge Collection is massive and detailed.  From a photo-essay of the station done by famed photographer Ansel Adams, to interviews with the radical scholar Angela Davis.  From William F. Buckley, the progenitor of the modern conservative movement to Ronald Reagan, its greatest hero.  From jazz great Duke Ellington to rock legend Janis Joplin.  From poet Allen Ginsburg to symphony conductor Sir John Barbirolil.  The range and depth, over so many years, takes your breath away.”  KUCR is taking great care to preserve the delicate recordings and transfer them to digital, and will unveil some during the week of October 11.   “The Elledge Collection takes in much of UCR history, via KUCR’s contemporaneous coverage of the campus, which complimented the Highlander newspaper,” said archivist Kim.  “It’s a lot of work to keep the past alive, but it is this material which reminds us that we are part of a rich tradition, at the station and at UCR.  People will be dazzled by a lot of this collection.  There’s so much content, 45 shipping boxes, that we intend on seeking grant funding to support a high professional standard of preservation, cataloging, digitizing and web presentation.”

College Radio Day’s Rob Quicke spoke of college radio’s influence on culture.  “I believe that college radio is a ‘tastemaker’ and that it continues to break new artists and bands,” Quicke said. “College radio doesn’t have massive advertising budgets or often, huge broadcast coverage. However, once someone tunes in and they hear classical or contemporary music or diverse news and local sports, the audience experiences real radio in its purest form available in the US today.”

Longtime KUCR staffer and UCR alum Tina Bold said, “college radio is an amazing vehicle for eclectic musical genres and styles that bridge the gap between musicians and their fans. In the close-knit community of avid music fans, often times, bands are heard for the first time on college radio, some going on to great success and fame.  My show, Vinyl Hours Radio (Thursdays from 7 to 9pm)  has brought over 250 national and local acts to the public through interviews and live performances. That’s just one of the reasons why KUCR is a true alternative voice for the people.”

KUCR will be running 45th Anniversary announcements through the entire week, with special programming between 3 and 5pm on College Radio Day, Tuesday October 11th.

KUCR 88.3fm is part of the Division of Student Affairs at UC Riverside.





Posted on Oct 7, 2011 by admin

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