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Born and raised a WNYer this was always something on my mind, and even though I've been away from the area for years, it's still something that resonates deep within, maybe more now than before.
The Art/Local/Non-Profit community is nothing short of incredible in WNY. Stretching from Buffalo to Rochester you can feel the artistic vibe in almost everything, from theatre, to music, to physical media, it is literally palpable, but there always seemed to be something lacking. From a young age I understood the disconnect that non-commercialized local radio had in the area, so at age 16 I fought for change and weaseled my way into the only local radio that would allow a 16 year old to get involved with, WGCC.
At the end of my time at 90.7 there were changes taking place, older heads were leaving and newer, young bucks, were on there way in. It was sad to see a station, that was built around a community, lose all control of everything they had accomplished in the previous decades. To this day that station has gone through multiple heads, trying to find the right fit, changing airplay, becoming yet another close minded, top 40s station, something the area already had plenty of. Regardless of the music they play, the connection is gone with the community, the stature which was once held is all but forgotten.
So what does this have to do with you? Well first off, congrats, congrats for getting out there and changing the direction that so many college radio stations are falling to. Keep up the good fight, it really seems like you have the passion, and what you're doing is something the area is in dire need of. Which brings me to my next point. You are in an excellent position to continue on and really make a change for college radio and your community. It seems like the people you work with respect you and your decisions, do not take that for granted. You made a comment below that struck me, another user said "Please leverage this into a post-school career. " to which you replied "3. No idea how to leverage that into something more.". You are there, you are the leverage, you are in the position to make some really BIG changes and you're on the right track. Don't be so quick, or even think you have to go jump to another frequency to be successful. You are filling huge void for the community, understand that, understand what you have to work with.
Last but not least, always keep an open mind. Something that struck me in your post was the negative implications you put on selling off to "NPR or other entities". While this can be bad for some, it's just truly not always the case. As a member of the KCRW team I've seen great things come out of a college radio partnering with NPR, helping the community, building projects, things that seem out of reach are suddenly so easily attainable. Radio needs to be diverse, people need stimulation in different formats. It's not always terrible to bring in someone who knows and understands this, as long as you're able to keep control over the pie.
Anyways, as a member of an awesome, world-wide, community involved, "college" radio station, I've often thought about bringing my knowledge and insight back to the area that started it all for me, and for once I feel that there's someone out there who shares the vision. Do not lose sight of your community, understand that without them there's nothing. You have an eager audience, give 'em what you got!
ps. Sorry for the wall of text.