Exeposé is printed in its thousands fortnightly, and placed in distribution racks around campus. They’re picked up, and read – cover to cover, a favourite section or maybe just a quick skim. In any sense, it is promoted, critically acclaimed and noted by all Exeter students. So what about the rest of Xmedia? Namely, the unsung heroes of Xpression FM. They dedicate at least an hour a week each to contribute to the free on-campus radio. The question is – who’s actually listening? I’ve been a guest on a couple of my friends’ radio shows and it takes a lot of work and imagination to come up with a suitable playlist (no swear words allowed) each and every week – to both fit the theme of the show and also interest listeners. It can be a tad disheartening when the only listeners are your friends while they’re enjoying pre-drinks without you and your mum. So what’s the problem? Is it a sheer lack of advertisement and support by the university? Or do young people simply favour the music on their Spotify playlist to what’s playing on the radio these days?
Xpression FM is available to live stream online and on iTunes Radio, but with a relatively low number of listeners maybe more should be done to promote the radio channel and draw students’ attention. To my knowledge, Xpression FM is only broadcast on campus in the Guild Shop, which is only open until 6pm latest from Monday to Saturday; and occasionally in small areas of Devonshire House. Previous attempts made by Xpression FM to have speakers placed in the Student Health Centre have been unsuccesful. The university and the Students’ Guild as a whole should give their full backing to promoting and spreading the broadcast of the award-winning radio channel. From the Health Centre, to the gym, to the Grove Diner and all Marketplace shops – there are many valuable platforms across campus for Xpression FM to broadcast to the student body. This would potentially pique their interest, thus gaining listeners. Without the support of the powers that be, Xpression FM cannot hope to get the audience it deserves.
Without the support of the powers that be, Xpression FM cannot hope to get the audience it deserves.
On the other hand, some question could be made as to whether radio is as desired as a cultural commodity these days, particularly for young people. In my experience, with car radios featuring Bluetooth or an Aux cable, and iPhone speakers in every bedroom, people are more likely to listen to their own music than that chosen by others. Listening to the radio has an element of chance that many young people are unwilling to take – music tastes are somewhat too diverse and specific in our generation.
Nevertheless, Xpression FM has won awards and still remains to be popular as a society on campus. The hosts continue to put on shows out of love for the practice, and will continue to do so even without a mass audience – but that shouldn’t be the case. With the support of the university, Xpression FM should be able to spread their music and dedication to the student body.