Winning the Woodie at SXSW
Alan Fearns/Sun Star Reporter
March 26, 2013
UAF’s own KSUA radio station won the mtvU Woodie Award for “Best College Radio Station in the Nation” Mar. 15. KSUA staff members were presented the award at South by Southwest, an annual arts festival in Austin, Texas.
During spring break, a mtvU representative called KSUA general manager, Rebecca File, to say that the station was in the top five. KSUA made a final push to supporters to get the last of the votes they could through Facebook and texting.
KSUA then went to the Woodies Festival, another festival within SXSW, and awaited a phone call that would let them know if they won.
“My phone was dying, and I didn’t have a charger, so it was like what if my phone dies and we don’t find out,” File said.
After receiving the call, KSUA was asked for an interview at the mtvU headquarters tent.
The mtvU film crew appeared and took the students by surprise.
“They ninja’d us out of a corner, and were all of the sudden in our faces,” said KSUA Music Director Brady Gross.
MtvU interviewer Carly Henderson, asked KSUA how it felt to win the award. The crew shouted to passersby around the festival to congratulate KSUA. Gross was asked to hold up the award several times for the cameras.
“It was so MTV,” said File.
KSUA was asked not to reveal to the public that they had won until the official awards ceremony at 10 p.m.
Later that night, the students went to a secret show where the indie orchestra, Mother Falcon, played. Gross had been strict about not telling anyone about their award, but at 9:30 it seemed close enough to let out the news.
“I almost wish we waited to publicize because our phones were going off during a sweet performance of this band,” Gross said.
KSUA DJs, listeners and even Senator Mark Begich congratulated KSUA over Twitter for winning the Woodie.
“People who have worked with KSUA have a lot of pride for the station, but you don’t really hear from those people until its invoked in some way, and we’ve kind of invoked that with this award, and now people are showing their support more than ever, and its really awesome,” File said.
The wooden trophy decorated with a wedge and sledgehammer is being shipped to the campus. The KSUA staff is making plans for where they will place the Woodie if it does not fit in their awards display case.
“It would be cool to have it in the CD Library so that when we have take-out sessions, the award just kinda makes an appearance,” Gross said.
In the future, there are other radio awards that KSUA can win. According to Gross, these awards mean more in a different ways than the Woodie, but the publicity from winning
an MTV award makes it one of the highest KSUA can achieve.
KSUA will try
to be more involved with College Music Journal next year. CMJ is the equivalent of the Billboard music charts for college independent radio. Many musicians go through CMJ prior to becoming well known through big music outlets, such as the Rolling Stones.
“If we can work on being recognized through that avenue, it would be really awesome,” Gross said.