University of Alaska Fairbanks radio station KSUA has made the cut as a Top 10 contender for an MTV University (mtvU) Woodie Award for best college radio station in the U.S. With help from Alaskans, KSUA could be voted America's best college broadcast.
The Woodie Awards honors "music college students love" and highlights "all the best in indie, underground, and everything in between," according to mtvU. That includes up-and-coming music artists, videos, and the best college musicians in the nation. The awards culminate in a television show airing on MTV and mtvU on March 17.
How did a college station in Interior Alaska claim a Top 10 spot over much larger schools in bigger cities? KSUA music director Brady Gross said "we know we're in such a weird location," to be a serious contender, but the nature of living in a small, isolated community actually helped the radio station. In order to make the first cut, featuring the top 25 schools, stations had to get nominations from community members. That was probably easier in Fairbanks than larger cities, since "everyone is more linked in up here," he said.
Last year, KSUA took third place in the competition, but Gross said they "didn't know what was going on" and thinks Fairbanks can do better this time around. The station plans on organizing lots of events to encourage voting, including a 24-hour "vote-a-thon." People can vote as many times as they want; there's no need to register with the site or even refresh your browser.
While Gross acknowledges that the award is in essence a popularity contest, and not necessarily a measure of the quality of a station's content, he said being recognized is still "good for the station." It also shows that KSUA is more than a group of kids playing music they like, but is instead "evolving into an overall media group," with its eye on future growth.
If KSUA wins the award, they'll get "bragging rights," and some sort of physical award, a plaque or statue, from MTVU, presented at the acclaimed South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas. MTV and mtvU will aire
Voting closes on March 14. You can check out all the nominated schools and vote on MTVU's College Radio Woodie website.
Contact Laurel Andrews at laurel(at)alaskadispatch.com