Silencing Radio 1190
The University of Colorado football program recruiting scandal has claimed an unlikely casualty. Radio 1190, the popular student-run radio station broadcast from the basement of the University Memorial Center on the Boulder campus, has been sanctioned by the university for apparent violations relating to the football program.
You can now add rock and roll to the sex and booze already on the list of problems plaguing the school.
Radio 1190, a free-form indie-rock radio station started in 1998, will now feel the heat for the boozy sexual indiscretions and rape allegations leveled at the football team. Some feel the station is completely unrelated to the sports program and its problems, but university officials feel differently.
Due to the ongoing controversy surrounding the school, Radio 1190 will be forced to change its programming to reflect the changes CU has already adopted for its sports program. Under the new recruiting policy announced last month, recruits will be allowed to come to the university only during the off-season, and there will be a strict no-strip-club policy. Now the popular radio station will also have to submit to a laundry list of changes.
In a decision that is sure to be met with criticism -- not only from the students who run the station, but from its many listeners, who hang on every word and Death Cab for Cutie track played by its DJs -- the school has gone ahead with a plan to alter 1190's playlist to reflect the post-scandal attitude. At the behest of CU president Betsy Hoffman, an eighteen-member panel has been formed to investigate the station, apart from the panel already investigating the athletic department. Already, several of the station's programs have been axed.
1190's popular Basementalism was the first of the programs to feel the heat. The hip-hop show, broadcast on Saturdays from 4 to 7 p.m., was informed that its brand of fresh underground hip-hop and, according to its website, "the dopest guest DJ's and emcees" was no longer acceptable content for broadcast through a university-owned station. As one Radio 1190 insider explained it: "Hoffman happened to turn the station on last Saturday, and when she heard LL Cool J going, 'Standing at the bus stop sucking on a lollipop/Once she gets pumping it's hard to make the hottie stop' [from the classic track "Around the Way Girl"], she just hit the roof. Gary Barnett plays that song before the start of every team film session, and she felt it hit too close to home."
Hip-hop has come under fire in the past as a corrupter of soft, young minds, but it is fairly unprecedented that a three-hour show on a 6,800-watt college-radio station gets the ax because of an out-of-control football program. Since the link between hip-hop and sports has grown stronger over the years, though, with rappers buying pro teams and pro players putting out rap albums, it's not surprising that CU wants to stifle the content of the show. Who can forget Shaquille O'Neal's classic rap attack from Shaq Fu: Da Return? Betsy Hoffman hasn't.
In announcing the change, Hoffman's office noted that hearing even five minutes of hip-hop may drive some recruits to rape or to "just plain smoke some fool." "To keep the barbarian madness of our football team from spreading to the lily-white student body who lap up the rap tunes like dogs on a dirty diaper, we've decided it best to pull the plug on the show," Hoffman said.
As of this week, the hip-hop show has been suspended, and in its place is a three-hour segment featuring a nü-country format similar to that found on Denver station KYGO. The university feels that this will more than adequately make up for the lack of killer beats and freestyle raps. "They were at about a Jay-Z, and the university needs them at a Will Smith," the 1190 insider said.
Hit equally hard was some of the station's regular programming. After CU officials were alerted to the questionable material being played on weekends, the eighteen-person commission was charged with listening to 1190 during the week -- when the signal is strongest -- in order to identify any possible causes of sexual assault being broadcast to the station's largest audience.
During Milkman Dan's Morning Delivery show (7 to 10 a.m. weekdays), the panel in charge of rooting out possible future recruiting violations was clearly appalled at the level of irony and blatant disregard for mainstream pop sensibilities displayed by the show's host. "If students are forced to hear one more Xiu Xiu song, I'm going to walk down there and kick his ass myself," said University of Colorado chancellor Richard Byyny.
In a report compiled after members had listened to a week's worth of shows, the commission detailed an antisocial element of the daily programming that bordered on extremist hipsterdom. "Any sort of rock and roll, no matter how lo-fi or released on the Secretly Canadian label, will ultimately contribute to our football players' going berserk in the presence of strippers, drunk coeds and, more important, those goddamn vultures down at the Denver Post," Byyny said.
The university is in a virtual media lockdown following Gary Barnett's recent statement that "that Rapture album was a piece of shit," and the staff at Radio 1190 was officially unavailable for comment. "I saw some Clear Channel guy lurking around the other day trying to hand out some Linkin Park posters," said the station insider. "Nobody took them. They're still lying over there in the corner." Still, speculation is rampant that Clear Channel, which donated 1190's signal back in 1996, when the corporation was Jacor, will take over its programming.
For the moment, the station remains in limbo. If Barnett and his merry pranksters are found innocent of running the Boulder campus like Rick James on a week-long cocaine spree, Radio 1190 might find its way back to the airwaves in its original form. If not, "the abundant radio alternatives in Denver should more than adequately fulfill your music needs," remarked a Clear Channel representative handing out Nickelback CD singles.