Last week, WTUL New Orleans – the progressive student-run radio station at Tulane University – held its 52nd Rock-on Survival Marathon outside the Lavin-Bernick Center. For 72 hours straight, five DJs took 24-hour shifts from noon to noon the next day to stream tracks from their incredible library and raise funds to support the station.
From this event, they raised over $17,000 – far exceeding their original goal of $15,000 – to continue to maintain the station and contribute to initiatives such as the digitization of WTUL’s collections, community interest and outreach programming, equipment repair and a secondary recording studio.
I won’t position myself as an expert on the quality of radio shows or even music, but I do know this: they were good. Very well. For the few hours I’ve listened, the station has been a bastion of new and old music that transcends genre, decade, and even language. On Marathon Friday, I did some homework on my porch with various jazz selections handpicked by DJ Mike5ive, playing the music without headphones for everyone to hear. Odious? Potentially. But was it a mood? Absolutely.
Even the talking parts – which historically have been my least favorite part of radio listening – were interesting and engaging. I found myself paying attention to periodic PSAs and laughing at the antics of on-air DJs instead of dying for them to just get back to music. It is these humanizing elements of WTUL that make listening to the station fun and engaging; things you just don’t get from streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music.
If you want to donate to WTUL as part of the marathon, you’re in luck! There are there are five days left to donate campaign and help reach their new goal of $18,000.