Music never dies: WTUL’s 52 Rock-on Survival Marathon

Holly Haney, Arcade Editor

Colleen Hugo

This past week WTUL New Orleans — Tulane University’s student-run progressive radio station — held their 52nd Rock-on Survival Marathon outside the Lavin-Bernick Center. For 72 hours straight, five DJs took 24-hour shifts from noon to noon the next day to broadcast tunes from their amazing library and raise money to support the station.

From this event, they raised over $17,000 — far surpassing their original goal of $15,000 — to continue to maintain the station and contribute to initiatives like digitizing WTUL’s collections, community interest and outreach programming, equipment repair and a secondary recording studio. 

I won’t position myself as an expert on radio show quality or even music, but I do know this: they were good. Really good. From the few hours I’ve listened to the station, it’s been a bastion of new and old music that transcends genre, decade and even language. The Friday of the marathon, I did some homework on my porch with various selections of jazz chosen by DJ Mike5ive, playing the music without headphones for all to hear. Obnoxious? Potentially. But was it a vibe? Absolutely. 

Even the talking portions — which historically have been my least favorite thing about listening to the radio — were interesting and engaging. I found myself paying attention to the periodic public service announcements and laughing at the antics of the DJs on air instead of dying for them to just get back to the music. It’s these humanizing elements of WTUL that make listening to the station fun and engaging; things that you just don’t get from streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music. 

If you want to donate to WTUL as part of the marathon, you’re in luck! There are five days left to donate to the campaign and help reach their new goal of $18,000.