Topper Radio competes with big dogs for mtvU Woodie Awards


Ryan Lewis, left, and Macklemore pose backstage with the Branching Out Woodie at the mtvU Woodie Awards on Thursday, March 14, 2013, in Austin, Texas. 

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Topper Radio has been nominated for an mtvU Woodie award for best college radio station.

There are 10 college radio stations nominated. The winner will be announced during the annual mtvU Woodie Awards at South by Southwest on March 20.

Executive Director Jesse Plaza found out that Topper Radio had been nominated while he was in his philosophy class.

“I saw from a Twitter follower of mine … that nominations for mtvU’s Woodies were open,” Plaza said. “So I click on them and I see Topper Radio and I was like ‘Oh my God!’”

For the rest of that class, Plaza said he alerted everyone on staff about the nomination, including Executive Producer Edith Camargo.  

“Jesse texted me. He sent me a U.S. News article, and I’m like ‘Okay, okay. I see it,’” she said. “Then he tells me ‘We got nominated for the thing!’”

Camargo and Plaza said that Topper Radio’s staff is really excited about the nomination.

The nomination process was done all online through popular vote. Plaza said that Topper Radio’s co-founder, Austin Marshall, posted a link in their Facebook group about the nomination process. Topper Radio’s staff and listeners voted to get the station nominated.

There are nine other nominees: Arizona State University; Boston University; Eastern Illinois University; Hofstra University; James Madison University; Loyola University Chicago; Marywood University; University of California, Berkeley; and University of Pittsburgh.

St. Edward’s University is the second-smallest university nominated. Marywood is the smallest with an enrollment of 3,500.

Out of the nominees, Topper Radio is the only online-exclusive station.

“All of these other organizations are more established real radio stations that have been around for decades, while Topper Radio is an Internet-based radio station at a private college that’s been around since 2012,” Plaza said. “So it was this kind of sense of ‘Hey, we’re the underdog in this thing. We have an actual shot to win.”’

While it may be the only Internet based college station nominated, Topper Radio is hoping that since it has a home-field advantage, it can win the Woodie.

To win, Topper Radio must receive the most votes online through mtvU’s website. St. Edward’s has shown its support for Topper Radio through its Twitter account.

“I think that with the engagement we have with the student body, with the support of university marketing … and just the wonderful listener base we have, we have the ability to pull this off,” Plaza said.

Plaza and Camargo are confident that Topper Radio will win.

“I think it’s not necessarily a long shot, but we are definitely the underdog,” Plaza said. “That said, if the numbers we are pulling continue and the advertising we’re pulling continues, I think you can expect to see Topper Radio live from SXSW.”

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