Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame members Queen sang about the potential that radio might just become background noise in their song “Radio Ga Ga.” In this day and age of corporate, pre-programmed radio blather, computer generated deejays or no deejays at all, and hypocritical radical conservatives, Queen’s prediction could still come true. However, there are beacons of refreshing radio that broadcast great music, are informative, and have no commercials!
Impact 89 fm (a.k.a. 88.9 WDBM) is Michigan State University’s student radio station and it is a regional and statewide treasure. On the air for nearly 22 years, the station is an oasis of great, cutting edge programming amid a massive desert of blandness or seriously annoying yap. It can be even hilarious when a student deejay makes an on-air mistake or pushes the wrong button. Why? Because it is the real thing, not some sanitized dribble.
Impact 89 fm has been chosen Michigan college radio station of the year 10 times in a row. There are shows for nearly all musical tastes, plus interesting interviews and talk in the early evening.
When I am asked where I learn about and hear all this new music, the primary source is Impact 89 fm, followed by websites like YouTube, Myspace, NME Radio from the United Kingdom, and Last.fm. There is a splendid array of great music floating out there waiting to be heard. Unlike when I was a teenager, you do not have to wait for some bozo to play your favorite song or to answer the request line on the one millionth ring.
I am sure there are other great student radio stations around the country and in Canada, though with budget battles and funding cuts, who knows what their future may be. If there is one near you, seek it out on your dial and listen to it, send donations to help keep it on the air, and promote/support it all you can. It is a treasure you definitely do not want to lose…ever.
You can listen to Impact 89 fm from anywhere on the internet via web-streaming through their website at http://www.impact89fm.org/.