After much debate during last year’s ASUW elections, Rainy Dawg Radio has put a focus on tuning up its services.
This year, the station has been taking steps to become more financially sustainable and to get more exposure on and off campus. As part of that effort, Rainy Dawg Radio has recently hosted a birthday show, DJed campus events, worked with the Seattle Showbox to give away concert tickets to listeners, and introduced an ASUW senate resolution promoting Rainy Dawg Radio as the preferred choice of music to be played in on-campus facilities.
Rainy Dawg Radio recently held a forum with the ASUW Board of Directors to inform them about their financial and promotional progress.
Omar Shaukat, general manager of Rainy Dawg Radio, said he’s proud of the work Rainy Dawg Radio has done so far this year to improve financial sustainability and gain exposure.
“We’ve been in an upward trajectory [in terms of exposure] for the past four years, I think,” Shaukat said. “[Rainy Dawg Radio] definitely feels like it’s a lot more legitimate and established these days. … This year, we’ve worked at solidifying our ties within the UW campus and the greater Seattle area.”
In terms of finances, Shaukat said that Rainy Dawg Radio was one of the ASUW entities asked to look at ways it could raise more money to help the association in the current economic climate.
“ASUW as a whole has been thinking of ways entities can generate revenue,” Shaukat said. “We, as a radio station, were kind of wary of this idea because we didn’t want to change our mission statement because, at the end of the day, we’re a college radio station, not a commercial radio station.”
Rainy Dawg Radio has become involved in DJ events around campus as a compromise between their main philosophy and ASUW’s request for increased earnings.
“The idea of DJing events came about through a collaboration with ASUW Board of Directors and our liaison Jonathan Yan,” Shaukat said. “That was a way to gain exposure but not threaten what Rainy Dawg Radio stands for.”
Sam Mouser, music director of Rainy Dawg Radio, said that collaborations with other groups within ASUW has been a key to the success for Rainy Dawg Radio, especially the recent birthday-show collaboration with ASUW Arts & Entertainment (A&E).
“The Mountain Goats show was a really big success for us, for A&E and for ASUW as a whole,” Mouser said.
The Rainy Dawg Radio birthday show, featuring John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats, was the most financially successful event for A&E with more than 850 attendees. At the Board of Directors meeting, Sam Weinstein, ASUW director of programming, said that A&E had originally budgeted for a $10,000 write-off for the birthday show but wound up spending only $4,000.
The event also addressed Rainy Dawg Radio’s other goal for the year: gaining publicity.
Matt Kolhede, promotions coordinator for Rainy Dawg Radio, has focused on finding ways to get the station more exposure, including increased tabling in Red Square and residence halls and doing ticket giveaways for concerts at the Showbox.
“I got in contact with the Showbox, and we started to do ticket giveaways for concerts,” Kolhede said. “[The ticket giveaways] have been a great way to get the station’s name out, and it’s another thing Rainy Dawg [Radio] can provide for the students besides the radio programs.”
Kolhede said he has focused on building a strong sense of community among Rainy Dawg Radio DJs who can encourage participation in helping to promote the station.
Mouser said he thinks the most important thing is maintaining a group of DJs and staff who are excited to be involved in Rainy Dawg Radio and that he sees the growth of Rainy Dawg Radio through the amount of music being sent into the station every week by bands and promoters.
“People are sending us more and more music on a weekly basis,” Mouser said. “They want to hear their stuff played on Rainy Dawg [Radio]. … We’re getting more in-studios. Bands want to play on our station.”
Mouser said that last year in-studios happened every once in a while, but this year they have been more common. For example, Isaac Pasternack, hip-hop music director at Rainy Dawg Radio, brought in four hip-hop artists in four weeks.
As for the future of the station, Shaukat said he thinks the initiatives taken this year should be continued to help with the station’s growth in the future.
“I think [the station] will continue to be more visible within the university,” Shaukat said. “That’s been a constant task since I’ve been around … just making [Rainy Dawg Radio] more recognizable around UW’s campus.”
Shaukat said Rainy Dawg Radio hopes to continue having larger events like the birthday show in Meany Hall and more collaboration with A&E.
Rainy Dawg Radio is another one of the programs relocated to Condon Hall due to the renovation of the HUB, but Shaukat views this as a blessing in disguise for Rainy Dawg Radio.
“Not having the luxury of the HUB venue has made us think outside the box in terms of collaborations and dared us to think bigger,” Shaukat said. With the old facilities available, he said, “I don’t think a Meany-sized show would have crossed our minds.”
Reach reporter Sarah Schweppe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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