Oxide Radio

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Oxide Radio
Broadcast area The World
Slogan Your Sound Education
Frequency Online
First air date Term-time
Format Various
Owner Oxford University Student Union
Website www.oxideradio.co.uk

Oxide Radio is a student radio station run by members of Oxford University in Oxford, England.[1] It was established in 2001 and as Altered Radio made brief forays onto FM in 2004 and 2005 before complications regarding FM licensing and funding forced it onto internet-only broadcast.[2] It currently operates a term-time schedule with an increasingly diverse set of shows, ranging from mainstream pop to reggae, dubstep and drum n bass.

History[edit]

Oxide Radio was founded in 2001 [3] following the demise of the previous student radio station, Oxygen FM. Broadcasting from 1997 to 2001, Oxygen FM was Oxford University's student radio station which broadcast full-time on FM, as well as an internet stream. Oxygen's closure came about as a result of a failure to abide by Ofcom broadcast regulations, which led to a record fine of £20,000 and a shortening of the broadcast license.[4]

Given that the expiry of Oxygen FM's license and the subsequent dissolution of the organisation had left students without a station, a new station was formed in 2001 as Fusion FM, before becoming Oxford Student Radio approximately 10 months later. It was then rebranded as Altered Radio in 2003.[5] Initially broadcasting from an office in Little Clarendon Street, Oxford, the station transferred ownership to OSSL (Oxford Student Services Limited, the financial arm of the University's Student Union), and was accommodated in the student union buildings in 2003.[6]

A third rebranding to Oxide Radio was shortly followed by the impact of an Student Union) financial crisis. In significant monetary difficulties during 2006, OUSU cut Oxide's £5,700 per year budget completely and presenters were forced to pay membership dues to keep the station afloat. Fortunately, this no longer takes place.[7] but the cuts did see an increased move towards the application for sponsorship. At the time, Oxide acquired sponsorship from Shirtworks, a local clothing supplier. In contrast, Phill Jupitus, Radio 1 DJ, criticised the cuts:[8]

Nick Griffin Controversy[edit]

In Hilary Term 2007, British National Party leader Nick Griffin was invited to speak on Oxide. Despite the presenters receiving death threats,[9] the broadcast was scheduled to go ahead until OUSU (the university's student union) demanded that the broadcast be cancelled as part of their "No Platform Policy".[10][11] Griffin criticised the decision by saying, "Fundamentally, this is not only an attack on freedom of speech but an attack on Oxford students’ rights to hear things and make their own minds up."[12] Nick Griffin and David Irving, the controversial historian, were later invited to speak at the Oxford Union about free speech, the cancelled Oxide show cited as one of the reasons for the invitation being extended.[13] As a result of this controversy, Oxide Radio was granted editorial independence from OUSU and its own constitution.[14]

Licensing irregularities[edit]

In May 2008, an investigation [15] by student newspaper Cherwell revealed that Oxide had been operating as a pirate station for two years.[16] By failing to purchase either a PPL or MCPS/PRS licence, the station had not reimbursed artists for the music it had played.

As a result, OUSU ordered the station to be taken off air until such a time as all licensing issues could be resolved. While the committee had initially planned to bring the station back online in November 2008, it was decided that it would be better to use the time off air to refurbish the studio entirely, both modernising it and also ensuring that safeguards and auditing were in place to ensure adherence to the MCPS-PRS and PPL licenses in the future.[17]

January 2009 Relaunch[edit]

The station began broadcasting once more on 18 January 2009; previous station manager Katie Traxton (08-09) returned to present a valedictory edition of her past show "Sunday Lunch.".[18]

The first week saw a number of technical difficulties and the Head of Technical, Richard Fine posted a postmortem at the end of the week[19] reviewing the problems and discussing solutions. The second week of broadcasting went much more smoothly, with most shows being delivered on schedule, and almost no dead air. Relying almost entirely on freeware or student-designed systems, Oxide now prides itself on its technical and financial independence in an increasingly commercialised world. Whilst there are still reports that the broadcast is not accessible in some colleges due to restrictions on internet radio usage, it is now freely accessible via iTunes and the programmes' Radio section.

Technical information[edit]

Since January 2009, the station has been running on a heavily computer-based setup. The core component is the open-source broadcasting suite Rivendell, which maintains a central database of available music and audio, tracks audio usage for licensing reports, and handles automated playback of broadcast logs. Significantly, the use of this system has allowed many shows on the station to pre-record their episodes for playback later, relaxing the time constraints on presenters. The easy availability and size of the audio database has also encouraged some shows like 'Sliced Bread' to begin experimenting with things like sound effects.

The station currently broadcasts a single 128-kilobit MP3 stream through an Icecast2 server. No plans for additional streams have been announced. The station does not broadcast on traditional radio (i.e., FM or AM).

Awards[edit]

  • BBC Radio 1 Student Radio Awards Bronze 2003: Newcomer of the Year[20]
  • BBC Radio 1 Student Radio Awards Gold 2003: Best Female Presenter[20]
  • Student Radio Awards Gold 2005: Off-Air Promotions and Imaging[21]
  • Student Radio Awards Bronze 2006: Best Specialist Music Programme[22]
  • Student Radio Awards Bronze 2007: Student Radio Newcomer of the Year[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Oxide student radio goes onto FM". BBC. 2005-11-02. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  2. ^ Goodman, Jessica (2006-01-26). "Student Union to cut radio station funding". The Oxford Student. Retrieved 2008-01-26. [dead link]
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ [3]
  6. ^ [4]
  7. ^ [5]
  8. ^ Student radio stations provide a useful and vibrant autonomous channel for student communication. Gigs, sports events, clubs, essential announcements — all of them can be broadcast to the student body with their own voice. This unifying effect of a student run and staffed radio station is an invaluable asset to any educational institution, and that Oxford should be in such a parlous state strikes me as fucking insane (to use a broadcasting term...).|Phil Jupitus|[6]
  9. ^ "Hang The DJ". The National Student. February 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  10. ^ Bennett, Rachael (2007-04-26). "Students back OUSU in No Platform showdown". The Oxford Student. Archived from the original on 2007-08-29. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  11. ^ Lidbury, Emma-Kate (2007-02-08). "Students' BNP interview plan prompts death threats". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  12. ^ Baraniuk, Chris (2007-02-01). "Death Threats Sent to Oxide DJs". The Oxford Student. Retrieved 2008-01-26. [dead link]
  13. ^ Matthews, David (2007-10-12). "Union under fire over extremist invitations". Cherwell 24. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  14. ^ "Have you met ... Paul Arrich?". Cherwell 24. 2007-06-01. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  15. ^ [7]
  16. ^ Clarke Price, Henry (2008-05-30). "Plug pulled on Oxide". Cherwell. Retrieved 2008-09-06. 
  17. ^ "Oxide off-air until Hilary". Rupop. 2008-11-12. Retrieved 2008-11-17. 
  18. ^ "Oxide Returns". Oxide Radio. 2009-01-18. Retrieved 2009-01-31. 
  19. ^ "Week 1 Postmortem". Oxide Radio. 2009-01-26. Retrieved 2009-01-31. 
  20. ^ a b "The Winners: BBC Radio 1 Student Radio Awards 2003". BBC Radio 1. Retrieved 2008-08-16. 
  21. ^ "Student Radio Awards — 2005 — Winners". Student Radio Association. Retrieved 2008-01-26. [dead link]
  22. ^ "Student Radio Awards — 2006 — Winners". Student Radio Association. Archived from the original on 2007-12-09. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  23. ^ "Student Radio Awards — 2007 — Winners". Student Radio Association. Archived from the original on 2007-12-19. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°45′07″N 1°15′37″W / 51.751919°N 1.26021°W / 51.751919; -1.26021