The following is an editorial article written by Station Manager, Tip Crowley. Tip served as student Music Director from 2005 to 2010, and he was the first Music Director to go to CMJ on behalf of RSU.

The CMJ Music Marathon is a spectacle that most music fans would jump at the chance to attend. The festival includes are hundreds of bands, industry professional panels, and, it happens in venues and other locations scattered across New York City.  CMJ is about having fun, but it is about so much more than that to a student Music Director. The trip serves as a learning experience on multiple levels.

When I was a student at Rogers State University, and Music Director at RSU Radio, I was afforded the chance to attend CMJ. When I found out I was going in 2007 I obsessed over the bands that I was going to see. I created a schedule, spoke with promoters about who was playing, and tried fit every single artist in. When I arrived at CMJ one of my first lessons was the need to go with the flow; things happen, changes occur, and plans fall apart, especially in a place like Manhattan. From then on, I realized that the trip wasn’t just about learning the industry nor having fun. When students take school sponsored trips it adds an important element into the learning process: real life experience.

Sending a Music Director on the CMJ trip is important to RSU Radio. It gives students an opportunity to network with industry professionals. A past music director landed an internship in New York City with a music promoter he met at the conference. One former specialty director and host made connections, got lessons on the industry, and even won the Specialty Music Director of the Year award at CMJ. During my trip I met record executives, bands, promoters, locals, and other college radio DJs and Music Directors.

The ability to travel to such a diverse, unique, and expansive city provides value in itself. Students who make this trip are given an experience everybody should have at least once. Between professional panels and concerts, exploring the city provided as much enlightenment as hearing a talk on developing new ideas in the industry. Seeing the former site of CBGB’s, the Joe Strummer mural, Thompkins Square Park, meeting local punk rockers who were in the NYHC scene, visiting venues I’d only heard about before, and even seeing some of the tourist attractions gave me a new perspective on a lot of things.

So while the CMJ Music Marathon made a name for itself by booking up-and-coming as well as influential college radio artists, it is about more than that. The culture, experience, networking, industry insight, exploration, and fun all intertwine to create a valuable time for any student, whether they want to break into the radio industry or not. All of that said, I am really excited to see all of this music.