No one would deny that this is a very sad situation. For a leading UK university, so bright and brimful in almost every other extra-curricular field, to have losts its radio station is something of a pity.
At the likes of UEA, the student radio is the flagship society, providing valuable and well-recognised experience in production and presenting.
Here, alas, Oxide has been something of a running joke for several years, bordering on embarrassment when a dozen group invitations to listen to certain shows turn out to have come from some of your closest friends. It is a peculiar phenomenon that your average student knows any number of DJs, but would be hard pressed to name anyone who actually listens.
This should not necessarily matter; however niche its audience of internet phantoms, the very mechanism of producing a radio show should stand its staff in good stead. Something like practicing squash shots in an empty court; the moves pay off in competitive situations.
Yet it seems the Oxide experience has not only been akin to practicing said sport with a broken racquet and a punctured ball, but in fact – stretching the analogy somewhat – playing in some really nice trainers that they shoplifted on the quiet.
No offence to the unsuspecting staff, but music piracy is no longer cool. It’s not 1964 any more and Oxide is not Radio Caroline. Most mortified should be those broadcasting music by struggling, minor label outfits – those purportedly doing most for alternative artists.
Not paying royalties is no gesture of defiance, not sticking it to The Man, but simply wrong. And not knowing about it isn’t exactly an excuse. It’s just quite unprofessional.
Given its, shall we say, irregularities, it is probably for the best and certainly correct that Oxide stop broadcasting. As Rich Hardiman somewhat glibly puts it, it may have some kind of long term benefit. Like the overhaul of the Prussian state and military following defeat at Jena in 1806 and its subsequent annexation by Napoleon.
Within 70 years, will Oxide have absorbed all other Oxford media, as a precursor to an imperialist programme ending in world war? Probably not. But this sobering comedown, taken together with their previous and greater errors, may lead to a summer of serious reform.
Maybe an emergency cash injection, and a revived station with higher standards come next year. Or is this, like so many of Oxide’s erstwhile shows, doomed to be swallowed up by silence?