Students running University of Puget Sound radio station KUPS rose to their feet with a cheer on Friday, as an MTV cameraman burst into the studio and celebrity New York disc jockey Matt Pinfield declared KUPS the winner of the “2009 Radio Woodie.”
KUPS beat out about 300 of its peers as the top U.S. college radio station, after it garnered the most votes from college students nationwide. The award from MTV's college television network mtvU recognizes college radio stations for their role in championing independent artists before they achieve mainstream success. Quite a number of artists who made their first breakthrough on college radio have later found national fame.
“We want to thank the listeners and everyone in Tacoma, and all the DJ’s and staff and everyone that got us here” said Carmen Bria general manager for KUPS as he held the trophy. “We put a lot of work into this. It just goes to show that though we are a small station, we’ve got a lot of heart.”
A film crew and Matt Pinfield, longtime MTV host and current co-host of the WRXP morning radio show in New York, flew out to Washington state to surprise the KUPS crew. The students knew only that their station was one of the five finalists, and that they were to wait in the studio for a 1 p.m. phone call that would announce the winner. A group of young disc jockeys and station operators hung uneasily around the phone as 1 p.m. ticked by.
“The wait was killing us,” Bria said. A short time later the television crew swept in, and Pinfield handed the trophy—a huge chunk of wood with a hammer and wedge, aka an “mtvU Woodie Award”—to one of the KUPS members.
The film shots in the KUPS studio will be aired alongside the “2009 mtvU Woodie Awards” ceremony in a broadcast at 10 p.m. (ET and PST) Friday, Dec. 4 on mtvU, MTV, MTV2, and Palladia. The musical awards, now in their sixth year, honor up-and-coming artists chosen by college students from around the country. The Radio Woodie was added for the first time last year. The Nov. 18 ceremony in New York’s Roseland Ballroom will feature artists including Death Cab for Cutie, Jack White’s murk-rock outfit Dead Weather, and indie duo Matt and Kim.
More than three million votes for the Radio Woodie were cast online by college students via RateMyProfessors.com and Woodies.MTV.com. About 300 radio stations were nominated for the award based on accolades or recognitions in contests run by CMJ College Radio and The Princeton Review, as well as from online votes and questionnaires completed by record labels. Online voting for the best musical artist continues until Nov. 16.
KUPS is a student-run station on 90.1 FM, operating on the campus of national liberal arts college University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash. Known as The Sound, it broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days week with programming in genres such as alternative, loud rock, hip-hop, and electronic. It has won several awards, including twice being named by The Princeton Review as one of the best college radio stations in the country (No. 12 in 2005; No. 9 in 2007). KUPS promotes and critically reviews local, independent, and new music, and supports local events. More than 100 volunteers and paid student staff members operate KUPS on a daily basis.
Television network mtvU broadcasts 24 hours a day to more than 750 college campuses, reaching 9 million students nationwide. Airing in student lounges, dining areas, fitness centers, and elsewhere, it programs music videos from emerging artists, news, and student life features. It also conducts more than 250 events a year on campuses, including concerts, giveaways, and mtvU television shoots.
For more on mtvU visit: www.mtvU.com
For more on KUPS visit: http://kups.net
Photographs of KUPS staff in action are available on request.