Josh Urban, host of the monthly rock show “The Signalman” on campus radio station WDCE, is the man behind the station’s new initiative, RVA Worldwide.
The initiative is “designed to connect local and regional bands with DJs on WDCE,” according to information released by RVA Worldwide.
RVA Worldwide is not a particular show on WDCE’s station, but rather, an idea Urban has embodied in his show and that he hopes other DJs on the station will adopt as well, she said.
“This is making it official,” Urban said about giving a name to the idea of supporting local, independent musicians. If a band is traveling through Richmond the staff can line up an interview and some airtime for it, Urban said.
Urban said announcing and promoting the initiative was important because bands and musicians may not realize that radio exposure was a possibility. He said WDCE, as a college radio station, had the opportunity to help these musicians in their rise to fame and fandom.
Ray Googe, general manager of WDCE and a senior Rhetoric and Communications Studies major, has supported Urban and his idea since hearing about it last semester, he said.
“Being a college radio station, we’re always looking for good music to play,” Googe said. “Richmond has a lot of local talent, and they just need opportunities.”
Googe has been a DJ at WDCE since his freshman year at Richmond, he said. Being general manager is his first leadership role at the station, but he said his time there had influenced his major choice and career plans.
Googe said he, Urban and RVA Worldwide were “trying to make WDCE a real hub for emerging, local music. I’m definitely excited about getting an opportunity to start reaching out to different musicians.”
The initiative will also bring local bands to the attention of DJs at WDCE, who are not all necessarily from the Richmond area or familiar with its vibrant music scene, Googe said.
Promoting local and regional musical talents is a concept also close to Urban, an independent, solo musician himself, he said. Urban lives permanently outside of Washington, D.C., but comes monthly to the station to host his show. He first came to WDCE to promote his own music, and now has been a DJ on the station since April 2011, he said.
Last year, Urban hit the rails to promote his music. He traveled by train from Charlotte, N.C., to New York City, making stops to play on street corners. He admitted that was an old-fashioned concept, but with the addition of social media to advertise and promote his music and concerts, he said the rail tour had been “a mix of old and new.”
Urban said the music scene in Richmond was a vibrant one, and it made sense to promote local acts as much as possible.
A number of independent, regional bands have already been featured on Urban’s show: The Jim O’Ferrell Band (J.O.B.), Kicking Thomas, Sheldon Young, Freddy Lau and Meade Skelton, he said.
These bands got involved with WDCE in a variety of ways: Lau played at the station’s benefit concert last year, The J.O.B.’s promoter called the station and requested an interview, Urban ran into one of Young’s friends on a train and then checked his music out on Facebook.
RVA Worldwide will only benefit from outside help and influence, Urban said. Anyone can request songs to be played or bands to be interviewed, by emailing WDCEairplay@gmail.com, he said.
Googe said RVA Worldwide could be “a really good way for students here to take ownership of the station, and get really excited about it.
“People are going to listen if they’re listening to a band that they think is really cool and deserves recognition,” Googe said. “We’re absolutely looking for people to be involved with the station. We’re looking for labels to hear this stuff. We want to help these people.”
Urban emphasized the diversity of music played on WDCE, among all the different DJs, but also within any one show. Any type of music can be requested, he said.
Another reason Urban believes in radio so much is the vast audience it can reach, especially internet radio, which WDCE is, he said. “Radio can only transmit so far, but internet radio has an unlimited fan base all over the world,” he said.
Because of the reach internet radio has, Googe said the station could attract “a lot of people who are into the local music scene, but can’t hear this stuff on the radio.”
The local, independent artists who are and will be promoted by RVA Worldwide “are people who are really trying to build themselves up,” Googe said. “There’s little opportunity for them to get this airplay.”
RVA Worldwide has the opportunity to create a “global community centered around Richmond,” Urban says, “with WDCE being a a great resource for musicians.”
Contact reporter Maggie Burch at firstname.lastname@example.org