Sadness and the WRGP rebranding.

I apologize in advance, I tend to get a little politically incorrect when you take something I held dear, grind it to dust, mix it with dirty sewer water from the pipes under the campus Burger King, and shoot it through a Pepsi machine.

Years ago when I was in school I was working for Radiate FM, WRGP-FM 88.1 FM Miami.

Radiate promo image by Dr. Sprock.
Radiate promo image by Dr. Sprock.

We called it Radiate FM, the Radioactive Underground.

As of about the middle of last year it fell under new management, and subesquently, down the proverbial toilet. Staff who had been with the station for years were suddenly fired for merely playing songs the new general manager didn’t like, the conditions under which one could get a show on the station changed in very awful ways, and it generally just lost all its staff and character.

I very much enjoy one former staff member’s review of the new format he posted to Facebook using their emoji feature:

radiateRebrandingIt’s now just “WRGP, FIU Student Radio”, but it’s not there for the students anymore. It’s there for the new general manager and her sorority buddies. That’s about it.

I have no idea if their new transmitter installation is finished or not (whatever the hell is in that room nowadays, it bleeds like hell and I’ve had to replace and shield the hell out of cabling in the next room over to keep a modulation monitor and Arbitron PPM decoder happy!). Either way, they’re on the air, and you can tune in any time and enjoy them becoming progressively less and less enjoyable to listen to.


Back when I worked there, we were reminded by a few engineering consultants that the station’s license including its two translators were worth about $25 million… we tried very hard to ensure that none of the consultants would convey this information up to Mitch Maidique, who had the campus named after his grubbing slimy ass as part of his golden parachute, since he was hellbent on liquidating and lend/leasing every part of the university they didn’t absolutely need to remain in basic operation and keep attracting new students.

Meanwhile we had a pretty damn huge base of loyal listeners who really enjoyed our programming, from South Florida and all around the world via a streaming system I set up. The budget wasn’t there for like, a proper system like Streamguys or whatever, so I just pretty much put it all through Icecast on a Linux box and it allowed as many people to stream as would fit over the pipe the university gave us. We won the Miami New Times award for best radio station for several years, beating out WVUM, which is, well, WVUM. (Stay tuned for my thoughts on WVUM’s programming some time, it’s kinda… silly…)

One of many, many godawful video billboard installations around campus.
One of many, many godawful video billboard installations around campus.

Several times it came up that there was some group that really wanted the license for a while to convert WRGP into an NPR affiliate (you know, in addition to WLRN-FM just across town?) and remove all the student participation and programming… The school thankfully said “not for sale… for now.”

"I'm wearing this shit eating grin because I just scored another few million for me and my bud Armando Codina!"
“I’m wearing this shit eating grin because I just scored another few million for me and my bud Armando Codina!”

Hell, the building that contained Radiate’s studios, classroom space, the university bookstore, and most of the student life offices almost got converted into a shopping mall on several occasions.

And we held out for this?

Their new logo isn’t even worth posting, it’s just a vaguely soundwave like line behind the letters “WRGP”. Yawn.

I’m not totally sure how Radiate could return to its former glory now, as the new management and media board worked together closely to ensure that only current staff members, carefully handpicked by the new management, can provide any input to the media board on the station’s image and charter… maybe someday when they all graduate, there will be an opening for someone who actually knows how to run a radio station. Until then, sit back and laugh at those fools gradually starting to gravitate towards an oh so hot early 2000s mallcore sound on 88.1 WRGP-FM Homestead, 95.3 W237CP Miami, 96.9 W245BF North Miami Beach……..

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