Your winter vacation has sadly come to an end. You've visited grandma, exchanged gifts, ate like a king, and now you're riding passenger on a four hour long journey back to Cedar Rapids from Chicago. You have one job at this point: Stay awake and be the DJ. The first hour and a half are easy. You tune into the hip-hop station and channel surf between that, an urban Top 40, an R&B and old school, and a pop Top 40 station.  However, as those fade, things get complicated and you’re left with three options: (a) flip between a bunch of stations that always seem to be playing the same song, (b) plug in the aux cord and use your data, or (c) pop in that scratchy old Drake “Take Care” CD from the glove compartment. A skipping CD gets annoying, plus you want a variety, which means the radio's out! Dang, I guess data it is!

Madison Upshaw

The first thing that I noticed when I moved from Gary, Indiana to Iowa was, aside from being the only black kid in my class, there wasn't a single urban station. That was the last time I turned on the radio in the seven years I've been living here. The lack of cultural diversity, especially with music, has made me want to move ever since. But, it doesn't have to be that way forever. One way to bring diversity to the city is by creating an urban radio station.

I love music, especially hip-hop. Hip-hop is an important part of the African American culture. By having an Urban station, you'll connect with an entire new demographic of people who normally feel left out. One reason that Cedar Rapids doesn't have one now is because there is a false belief that we don't have a big enough population to support that station.  However, minorities aren't the only people who love hip-hop; it’s loved by all ethnicities. The youth of this generation are more open than ever before -- Trust me! Being 18, I notice the musical trends of everyone younger and older than me.

To prove this, I made a twitter poll asking who in Cedar Rapids would listen to an Urban Station if we had one. Out of the 768 votes I received in about 16 hours, 88% of voters were a solid yes! Ask any high schooler or college student what music is playing at any social gathering, and I guarantee it's hip-hop/rap. If you don't want to take my word, check out the most streamed genres at Iowa State University, according to Spotify statistics. Following Pop at 54%, hip-hop is number two at 22%.

Listeners have been waiting years for someone to create an urban station and the first person that does will be the hottest -- I promise! Not only would it be the first and ONLY urban station, which means no competition, it'll create a surge of new listeners and business opportunities for those who want to ride that new wave. You're always supposed to give back to the community you grew up in, and if I could give Cedar Rapids that urban station, my mission here would be complete.

"CedaRAPids Hottest Hip-hop & R&B"

 

If I had it my way, I would be hosting the morning show as 'Mady in the Morning' and DJing as ‘Cozzie at Night’ overnights. In the morning, I'd play the hottest hits to get everyone going. In the evening, I'd play things that kept people coasting, throwing in some slow jams.  Overnight is where you'd hear all the soon-to-be hottest, new music, rap, and occasional local artists.

Jupiterimages

The radio station would hold open mic events, competitions, and be the overall place for people to come in and not only create, but showcase whatever type of art they wanted to share. My radio team and I would hold cultural and social events, and block parties to bring the community together as well as promote awareness to certain causes and issues that usually aren't dealt with in our community. We'd hold school supply giveaways, Christmas gift drives… the possibilities are endless. The main goal would not only be to play the best music, but to use music to bring people together to have a good time, while promoting positive and informative messages to our listeners, making Cedar Rapids a better place. Hopefully, not only would the radio station grow, but Cedar Rapids as a whole would grow, becoming the culture cornucopia in Iowa.

There is so much talent in this city.  However, there just isn't a central organization or place to bring everyone together.  This urban station could be the start of it all.  I would just hope to give to the city what I and so many other kids really need and want growing up here:  music, and (more important) a place where my culture is celebrated.

(Contributed by Madison Upshaw)