Students at Columbia University are juicing the host out of Squeeze Radio. The student run board that oversees all of WKCR 89.9FM programming is ousting long time host DJ Sucio Smash from Squeeze Radio that airs on Friday Mornings from 1am-5am, claiming it wants to put students back into the student radio.
Dj Sucio Smash joined the Thursday night, Friday morning slot just after the ten year anniversary of the underground Hip-Hop show. Squeeze Radio started 20 years ago as The Stretch and Bobbito Show with DJ Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Garcia as hosts. Focusing on underground Hip-Hop, the show was determined to stay as far away from commercial playlist songs as possible.
Longtime radio host J Smooth, from 99.5 FM, called Squeeze Radio “one of our most vital, historic Hip-Hop institutions.” In telling Birthplace Magazine, J Smooth said the idea of Squeeze Radio “being destroyed, because of a thoughtless, snap decision from the five undergrads that make up WKCR’s station board, is just mind-boggling.”
In a letter from the WKCR Board of Directors 2010, found here, the board stated “in keeping with the mission of WKCR, we will remain committed to alternative programming. We aim to present hip-hop artists who cannot be heard on other radio stations. You will not hear the ‘Top 40’ artists of mainstream radio, but you will hear the greatest artists of underground hip-hop.” A difficult task when stating the next few months will be “a period of experimentation and learning for our student DJs.”
Perhaps infiltrating Squeeze Radio with students first then slowly transitioning to an all student show would have been a better approach. Unfortunately, pleas such as “20 years of indie and underground Hip-Hop and they wanna shut it down. F**k that, save it” from Fresh Daily, an artist who got his start on Squeeze Radio, and all those who signed the Save The Squeeze Radio Show petition must have fell upon deaf ears as DJ Smooth aired Squeeze Radio’s last show this past Thursday.
It is unclear as to how the board plans on keeping up with the legacy the program has created. Birthplace Mag points out that “the larger issue here may be that the university and the board, are naively unaware of the program’s historic and ongoing significance, and how turning it over to those who are not intimately familiar with its long-standing heritage, could be considered tantamount to the destruction of a cultural landmark. A decision, proponents say, that should not be taken lightly. ‘There would be no history, no consistency,’ Sucio Smash says, about any future incarnation of the show, that would be directed by radio greenhorns.”
Last month’s closing of Fat Beats marked an end to the vinyl Hip-Hop lifeline in New York. As the WKCR board lowers the coffin lid on another city Hip-Hop staple, they seemed to have forgotten that Squeeze Radio was voted Best Hip-Hop Radio Show by Time Out. Or is it that the board has a blind-spot, dealing with this as a Columbia University issue and ignoring the impact Squeeze Radio had on New York?
Considering their twenty year stint of opening doors for unsigned artists, giving freestyle spotlights to callers, and offering a voice for those who haven’t reached the ears of mainstream listeners, the damage of Squeeze Radio’s absence will soon be accessed. The radio’s spark is not solely reliant on its music selection, but the personalities that bring the program to life. New York Hip-Hop has lost a vital part of its history as the students of WCKR have carelessly ousted DJ Sucio Smash and Squeeze Radio.
Tags: 89.9FM, 99.5FM, Birthplace Magazine, Board Decision, Bobby Garcia, Columbia University, DJ Stretch Armstrong, DJ Sucio Smash, Fat Beats, Fresh Daily, Hip Hop, J Smooth, Mainstream Radio, NEw York Hip-Hop, Petition, Squeeze Radio, Underground Hip-Hop, WCKR, Yeah New York