Founded in 1995, the station continues the tradition of providing an alternative music choice than that in the mainstream, and now holds events and popular club nights around Glasgow. The team is around fifty people strong and lead by student Hannah Read, the station manager since June 2016, who spoke to us about their new talent and plans for the new year.
Since beginning her endeavour as manager, Read has changed the previous method of running the station, putting more emphasis on collaborative efforts and moving away from stricter sub-teams of contributors. She says, ‘each manager has a specific way of how they want to run things. It’s bit strange given that you only have one year, so your ideas have to be quite drastically implemented. They don’t have time to develop naturally which I find difficult. So my predecessor had this station set up quite regimented- so he was the manager. He had a managerial team. Then you had each team. whereas I want it to be a lot more collaborative; like there’s one person who does events, but she did law before, so now she's on archives and legal. There’s some people who do tech who are also interested in web.’
The increase in popularity regarding the level of listeners is a statement to their efforts, and one show was paid the ultimate compliment, when a French commercial radio station played an entire session of ‘Lafropunk’s’ on air. How did this Parisian station hear about Subcity? Read says, ‘I’ve no idea, it was the strangest thing- Radio Nova’s Big Mix of World Radio- She just sent me an email.
She didn't ask permission but she told me about it afterwards. “Just to let you know that I've played it. You can listen to the show. Please feel free to contact me if you're interested in continuing this exchange.” That’s not an exchange. You just took our radio.’ Read joked, but the issue of copyright has been a particular nuisance to the show, with a specific team focussed on archive and legal issues. She explains, ‘there’s a lot of strange legal things we have to figure out; who owns content? Do we own our content? Can we sue them?’ Read adds with a big laugh.
Alike The Guardian and other student media at Glasgow University, Subcity have had to adjust their production as a result of the funding cuts implemented two years ago.
Read explains the change in direction made as a result of the cuts. ‘Two years ago, everyone got two grand a year as a flat rate, and then that was totally cut. That was not fun. So we have got to work on our events a bit more, and we’ve done a bit of advertising. We had a fresher’s week website so we had some advertising from that. We might start doing merchandise as well. The SRC can’t understand the idea of refunds so we were going to have an online shop but they said no. To have the capital to buy stock is difficult, so we might do pre-order. People have to pre-order and then if we get a minimum order then we can do it.’
The radio entertains a mix of current, past, and non-student’s as contributors, all motivated to share their music. The station has welcomed many new shows this year that have seen popularity, like the fem-pop show ‘Eve was Framed,’ and the eclectic selection of handpicked music provided by ‘Loose Joints’. Each session is recorded from their campus-based studio. This space has recently seen the likes of big names such as the Danish techno and acid collective ‘Apeiron Crew’ and NTS Radio’s ‘Throwing Shade’.
Read explained ‘that this is something our programmes seem to do this year- inviting people on when they come to town.’ A member of Apeiron Crew had once been on the Subcity team, and it is interesting and somewhat comforting to see the high return rates of musicians to the radio.
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