Each year the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) honors many types of radio broadcasters with NAB Marconi Radio Awards [link]. Most of the attention typically goes to big market stations and well-known national personalities. Today we are focusing on a category that often does not get much press coverage: Noncommercial Station of the Year.
Noncom stations nominated this year are: KPCW-FM, Park City, UT; WRHU-FM, Hempstead, NY; WSDP-FM, Plymouth, MI; WMSC-FM, Montclair, NJ; and, WPSC-FM, Wayne, NJ. The winner of this and other categories will be announced September 7 at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner, part of the NAB Radio Show in Austin.
Lets take a closer look at the nominees:
WPSC, William Paterson University, Wayne, New Jersey
WPSC 88.7 FM [link] is known as Brave New Radio. Bravery is not a trait generally associated with radio stations but these folks earn it and honor it. The station serves folks in the northern New Jersey suburbs and exurbs of New York City.
WPSC has won numerous college radio awards in the past. This is its first nomination for the NAB Marconi Radio Award. Braveology is WPSC’s signature sound. Here is how the station describes their unique selling point:
Braveology is simply the best in college rock. Braveology is the home of indie rock and alternative music! Our unique formula, with just the right mix of new and independent artists, provides for great listening and great exposure for artists you won’t hear on commercial radio. From 9am to 5pm every Monday through Friday, tune in to get your indie fix!
When we say we play more new music than any other station, we mean it! This is truly Brave New Radio – not for the timid or undiscerning listener. We don’t regurgitate commercial radio station chart-toppers. We play the good stuff!
Braveology is both a mission and an attitude. Brave New Radio specializes in songs by local artists, North Jersey artists and groups. Because of the station’s proximity to the New York’s music scenes, WPSC is considered a way to get noticed in the nation’s top market.
In April 2009, WPSC and William Paterson University (WPU) launched the Bravery in Radio Award, was created by WPU students, staff and professors. It recognizes brave leaders in the radio industry that have gone against the grain and brought new approaches to listeners.
Past Bravery in Radio Award winners include:
• 2009 - Les Paul, musician and recording genius
Paul was the first performer/producer to use multi-track recording to its full potential. His Les Paul Radio Show inspired new generations of artists of all genres to try new ways of recording and mixing their music.
• 2010 Bruce Cousin Brucie Morrow, New York disc jockey and cultural icon
Cousin Brucie is a New York radio legend who influenced, among many others, Howard Stern.
Stern and Quivers received the award in recognition of their pioneering work in the medium of radio. The award was presented live on the Howard Stern Show.
Howard Stern and Robin Quivers who accepted the award for their "pioneering work in the medium of radio." After some on-air ribbing of the award, Stern then sincerely accepted the award by saying "Thank you very much for this beautiful award. I do appreciate it - I’m not so jaded that I can’t be complimented by the students."
• 2012 – WNYC’s RadioLab
• 2014 – Elvis Duran, New York disc jockey
A 2017 Bravery in Radio Award will be presented this fall. Read more about the award here.
KPCW, Park City, Utah
KPCW [link] is the only public radio on the list this year. Local radio is sometimes difficult to establish in seasonal celebrity towns like Park City. KPCW has thrived since it separated from a Salt Lake City community station in 2009.
According to documents on KPCW’s website, in 2016 the station had an operating budget of over $3.5 million, larger than many big city NPR stations. During 2016, KPCW received over $2.2 million in membership pledges, an amazing total for such a small market.
WRHU, Hempstead (Long Island), New York
WRHU [link] has been called the best small university to learn electronic media communications skills. WHRU is an important part of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication at Radio Hofstra University.
WRHU earned consecutive first place rankings in the prestigious Princeton Review and earned a Pinnacle Award "station of the year" by College Media Association. WHRU was chosen to be a radio home for the New York Islanders of the NHL. This association has provided Hofstra students opportunities to enter major sports broadcasting careers.
WSDP, Plymouth, Michigan
WSDP [link] markets itself as 88.1 The Park. One of the best high school stations in the nation, WSDP lives up to its mission statement:
88.1 the Park uses local radio to invest in the lives of young people and serve the Plymouth-Canton Community.
WSDP is proud of its heritage. Recently the station honored its founders, Plymouth High School English teacher Bonny Dore and principal Bill Brown. They started WSDP in 1972.
WMSC, Montclair, New Jersey
WMSC [link] is the quintessential college radio station. Based at Montclair State University, just west of New York City.
WMSC does it all with ONE (1) WATT (and a fortunate antenna location).
Montclair student Ed Helvey (Class of 1967) founded a radio club on campus in 1957.
Since then WMSC has made real Helvey’s hope to connect thousands of commuters with the campus community. Montclair State is a commuter campus.
WMSC provides an important sense of place.