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The Early History of College Radio with Jennifer Waits

March 30 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

We will be hosting Jennifer Waits of Radio Survivor to speak to the CHRS membership about The Early History of College Radio.
Title: “Sleuthing out the Early Days of College Radio and Preserving this Important History”

Jennifer Waits
Co-founder Radio Survivor
Assistant Curator, Digital Library of Amateur Radio and Communications
Co-chair, College, Community and Educational Radio Caucus on the Library of Congress’ Radio Preservation Task Force


Ever since radio’s early experimental days, there have been college students broadcasting from their campuses, often at the technological forefront of radio. Despite lack of funding, a transient student population, and competing academic demands, passionate radio enthusiasts have persevered and created radio stations in myriad forms using amateur radio, AM, FM, carrier current, public address systems, cable, telephones, the Internet, and so much more.

Jennifer Waits has been researching the early history of college radio for many years and also obsessively tours radio stations (posting field trip reports for 173 so far). She started blogging about college radio in 2008 on her site, Spinning Indie, and in 2009 helped to launch Radio Survivor, where much of her work appears today.

Inspired by the rich radio history at her alma mater, Haverford College (where students launched AM station WABQ in 1923) she has been working to tell the story of the important work done by students at student-run college radio stations.

At CHRS she will share some of her recent research about the connections between amateur radio and early student-led college radio stations. Key to the story are student radio enthusiasts at a number of schools, including Union College and Haverford College in the 1920s. Additionally, she will dig into the legacy of these early efforts and explain how student radio transformed and grew beginning in the 1940s. Jennifer will also talk about her work to help preserve college radio history and the ways that stations, alumni, and radio fans can help.
Jennifer Waits is an independent scholar, DJ at KFJC, volunteer, writer, and co-founder of Radio Survivor, a website, podcast and syndicated radio show devoted to radio and audio culture. She has a Master’s degree in Popular Culture Studies from Bowling Green State University, where she did her thesis on MTV’s “The Real World.” Her writing about radio and sound can be found in Radio World, Radio Journal, Interactions: Studies in Communication and Culture, and Hii Magazine. She’s also a member of the Library of Congress’ Radio Preservation Task Force, for which she co-chairs a caucus focused on college and community radio. Jennifer loves visiting radio stations and has chronicled her trips to 173 radio stations and counting.

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March 30
11:00 am - 12:00 pm


Radio Central – Alameda