FM90 celebrates ninth annual Vinylthon event

Online Editor

Amarillo College’s FM90 is preparing for the upcoming ninth annual event of Vinylthon, a celebration of College Radio Day and Record Store Day, where records are played live on the radio by students and staff, taking place April 20. To accompany Vinylthon, Panhandle PBS will also be showing a free screening with free pizza, of the documentary “35000 Watts: The Story of College Radio,” on April 25. 

Brian Frank, mass media speech faculty, and Amy Presley, FM90 program director, are the hosts of Vinylthon every year. During the broadcast, they play the records they enjoy while also giving students a chance to participate themselves and share the stories of special records that they have. “It’s just a fun day to come by and play records and tell stories,” Presley said. “From nine until noon, it’s really kind of a free for all. We will play any genre of music. If you bring up a country record and it means something to you, we’ll play it if it’s got a great story. We then figure out how to flow from there.” 

The documentary “35000 Watts: The Story of College Radio” is directed by Michael Millard, a west Texas native, who went to Texas Tech as a student. Presley said the program focuses on how Millard’s life was changed by college radio and the impact it had on music during the ‘90s, bringing artists to the spotlight and making them loved by listeners.

Kim Reyes, FM90 music director, said she is looking forward to seeing what the documentary has to offer, along with Frank and Presley. “College radio means a lot to me and to hear from others and how it has impacted other students is something I find super interesting,” Reyes said. “I hope it talks about the opportunity that comes from college radio. I would like to see a ‘where are they now’ type of thing as far as student DJs.”

With the addition of the documentary screening, a specific student will be playing records for the first two hours of FM90’s “Body & Soul,” all by themselves this time around. “We have somebody  that can do that,” Presley said. “Otherwise, it’s always been Brian and I running the show. I really want more student participation. I would love it if Brian and I were just there and the students were doing all of it. That’s my goal.”

Frank and the staff at FM90 said they agree that Vinylthon is a magical time, bringing an energy to the
college radio station through both the participants and listeners. “I love it when the students’ faces light up when they come and do it,” Frank said. “Also when the listeners call in and tell us how much they enjoy what’s going on, cause for those who want to say radio is dead, no, not when it’s done right. When it’s a companion and stoking the fires of common interest, which is what this does. College radio stations do it in a way that nobody else can because they’re not worried about money, they’re worried about educational experiences.”

Vinylthon will go from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. during FM90’s “Body & Soul,” on April 20. The Panhandle PBS screening of “35000 Watts: The Story of College Radio” will start at 11:45 a.m. on April 25, providing free pizza for students and staff who are interested.

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