20 Watts

Tuned Out: College Radio Struggles to Stay Afloat in the iPod Era (Pt. 3)

For Ulf Oesterle, the problem isn’t as much the Internet as the advent and ubiq­uity of portable media devices like the iPod. Oesterle teaches in the Bandier Program for Music and the Entertainment Industries at SU and also worked for the student-run station WSUC while studying at the State University of New York at Cortland.

“If you look at all radio, it’s been impact­ed by portable devices,” he says. “People can’t really develop a habit to tune into a particular station and get what they want.”

Since its debut in October 2001, Apple has sold more than 220 million iPods. Its iPhone and iPod Touch lines even have an application that allows users to access customized radio stations through Pandora Radio on their MP3 players.

Oesterle says that, with such technology becoming readily available and listeners having their music collections at their fingertips, the traditional media are begin­ning to suffer. For free-format stations like WERW, it’s even more of a problem.

“When you’re going free-format, you don’t really know what you’re getting,” he says. “You just hope that the people on air are picking something you’ll like, until the DJ plays a few songs in a row that you’re not that into. Then you change the station.”



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