Aloe worked at KCPR as a student until she graduated in 1993. | Elizabeth Aloe/Courtesy photo

Elizabeth Aloe
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Song recommendation: “Let the Day Begin” by The Call.

I cried the day I graduated.

It was June 1993, and I remember sitting in my empty apartment for the last time thinking how sad I was about my college career and life in San Luis Obispo coming to a close.

Sure, I had my whole future in front of me — which included a move to the east coast a week later — but I couldn’t quite grasp that college life was ending. I was saying goodbye to campus, roommates, seeing my friends consistently and, most of all, I was saying goodbye to KCPR — my second home.

There is something special about college radio, and unless you’re a part of it, you will never understand. Maybe it’s the same feeling fraternity brothers and sorority sisters feel for each other, but it’s a bond that never leaves the blood. The friends I made, and still have to this day, remain some of the most important friendships and relationships in my life.

Aside from the bonds of friendship, there is the music. Before the Internet, YouTube and iTunes, college radio provided a way for new bands to get exposure to audiences who craved new, alternative music. Record labels would send us demos and compilations with bands no one had heard before. Using our airwaves and our musical passion, these bands could now be heard by thousands of people who otherwise didn’t have access to their sound.

Ever heard of U2, REM, Collective Soul, Green Day and Beck? This is just a small sample of bands who made it big because of college radio support. I still remember the small shows Green Day played for us here in San Luis Obispo and how Beck crashed on our couches because he couldn’t afford a hotel room.

Now, 20 some years later, times have most certainly changed, but the importance of college radio has not. Universities across the nation are starting to sell their licenses to corporations because they don’t see the need for campus radio anymore.

Cal Poly, on the other hand, has remained a strong supporter and ally of its station. The university stands behind the station as not only a music outlet for DJs but as a lab for students to learn talk radio.

When I moved back to San Luis Obispo in 2012 and was asked to do a show on KCPR, I jumped at the chance. Every second we spend spinning discs and chatting with you over the air is completely voluntary.

We don’t get paid, and for those of us out of school, we don’t get credits either. We do it for the love of the music and the passion for exposing new generations to upcoming bands and sounds. We do it for the love of our community and our listeners.

We also do it for self-satisfaction — without KCPR, college wouldn’t have been nearly as memorable for most of us. Support KCPR either by listening locally or streaming. Not only are you helping a college station stay on the air, you’re helping new bands and artists. It’s a win-win.

Elizabeth Aloe, a Cal Poly journalism graduate, currently hosts Friday Night Flashbacks every Friday from 6-8 p.m. Her favorite bands include Berlin, Psychedelic Furs, Duran Duran, Kitchens of Distinction, Grant Lee Buffalo, Erasure, The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Church. Her favorite p-cut in the stacks is “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana.

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