At college radio, the typical tenure for a music director is about two to three years; soon graduation comes and days of filing, cataloging and, of course, consuming records is a mere happy memory. But not for Ron Raymond Jr. He lived and worked what many of us would consider “the dream”—15 years of living and breathing great music as music director at WMPG, a community station in Portland, ME. But as his stint as music director at WMPG comes to a close, the outgoing man of the hour chats with CMJ about his days as MD, the station’s power-up and collecting radio stickers from across the globe.
You’ve been at WMPG for quite some time. How did you get started in college radio?
I have been a volunteer DJ since 1996, hosting Portland, ME’s original ’80s music program, Stuck In The ’80s. I have served as WMPG’s music director for over 10 years, and I’ll be departing from the position at the end of May. I got started in college radio back in the fall of 1985 at the mighty WHSN, when I attended the (then) one-year certificate course at the (then) New England School Of Broadcasting (now offering several four-year degrees at the (now) New England School Of Communications). From there, I’ve also had college radio gigs at WMHB (Colby College, Waterville, ME) and WUMF (13 watts of alternative power, located at the University Of Maine at Farmington, ME).
You know, college and community stations like WMPG are such a rare and incredible treasure these days when it comes to talking about radio. As music director, I’ve been able to provide music to my DJs and their listeners that, for the most part, you won’t find anywhere else on the dial. And, in my 10-plus years, I’ve had the opportunity to interview folks like Regina Spektor, Cyndi Lauper, I Am The World Trade Center, Peter Murphy of Bauhaus and Dave Wakeling of the English Beat. I’m so very grateful to have been a part of something truly wonderful in this crazy little thing called college radio and WMPG.
Can you tell us about WMPG’s power increase?
In 2008, WMPG received approval from the FCC to increase its power from 1100 watts to 4500 watts, and in the process, WMPG will reach five times as many listeners than it currently has. WMPG, based out of the University Of Southern Maine, will expand its broadcast area to include all of Southern Maine and nearby New Hampshire, and we should have the transmitter in place this September. It’s a very exciting time!
You collect stickers from radio stations. How many do you have?
It’s a project I’ve always wanted to do, ever since I saw it done with real radio stations on the CBS TV sitcom WKRP In Cincinnati back in the early 1980s. I don’t know the exact number of stickers I have, but currently, I’ve got one side of my door about half-full of college radio station stickers from Maine to Alaska and Hawaii, but I’d sure love more before I go.
How can stations help you complete your collection?
I don’t believe I’ll get every station, but if I do, of course I would welcome that. They can send a bumper sticker from their respective stations to: Ron Raymond, Jr., Music Director, WMPG-FM, University Of Southern Maine, 96 Falmouth St., Box 9300, Portland, ME 04104-9300. And, every station that sends me a sticker, I will be more than happy to oblige with one of ours. Thanks so much in advance!