Opinion: Radio station format change takes a step forward towards inclusion

61-61765It’s official, Mt. Pleasant will finally be getting a radio station that is primarily hip-hop and R&B.

Central Michigan University’s campus radio stations WMHW, which already announced they would both be undergoing format changes in the winter, officially have announced a hip-hop and R&B station is in the works.

Although, all the details about this change haven’t been announced, the stations may want to consider allowing students to run shows in blocks similar to Michigan State University’s Cultural Vibe – the student running the show would be responsible for creating and editing playlists and getting guests.

This would be the first radio station to deliver hip-hop and R&B as its predominant forms of music, and while these genres can be heard on Mt. Pleasant radio, it is only on Top 40 stations, where the persuasion is towards pop music, not rap.

Given that CMU and other institutions, such as the University of Missouri and Ithaca College, have been facing questions from students over its commitment to diversity, this would help the university become more in touch with its students hailing from urban backgrounds.

CMU President George Ross recently announced he would be hosting a lunch that will discuss how inclusion and diversity can be strengthened at the University. Playing hip-hop and R&B on the radio is a potential first step in acknowledging urban culture.

Because the music scene in the area focuses primarily on Folk, Indie, and Country/pop acts, the station could even help shed light on the overlooked college rap scene.

Rappers who are popular among urban youths  but have yet to produce hits on the Pop charts, will for the first time be heard on the radio in Mt. Pleasant, an area that doesn’t often give way to the urban voice.

This would not only help the less than conducive environment for Hip-Hop fans in the area, but it also could provide a nice alternative to the country, folk, and indie rock music that floods the airwaves.

Bryce Huffman is a reporter for CMU Insider. 

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