These 10 Stations Prove Just How Relevant College Radio Still is in 2022
Despite under the radar college radio not getting nearly as much attention as mainstream radio, the medium has been thriving for many years.
College radio stations have the opportunity, resources, and large audiences that create the perfect storm for promoting music and giving valuable exposure to local communities and college towns. The stations also boost students’ prospects in the world of broadcasting.
The enduring reverence of college radio has acted as the springboard for outstanding renowned artists and bands over the last few decades. This includes Nirvana, U2, R.E.M., and “Weird Al” Yankovic.
Yankovic, who is one of the biggest college radio success stories, served as Ambassador of last year’s World College Radio Day.
Founded by Dr. Rob Quicke, professor of communication at William Paterson University of New Jersey, World College Radio Day unites college radio stations from over 40 countries around the world to bring awareness to the work and value they bring to broadcasting.
“We are delighted to celebrate our 11th event, even in these most challenging circumstances. Huge credit must go to the students, staff, and faculty that keep college radio stations going,” remarked Quicke at the time.
With the theme, “In Tough Times, We Thrive,” last year’s event focused on the global efforts made by college radio stations to keep on broadcasting during the pandemic. The day also highlighted how college radio stations were able to deliver content that was not heard anywhere else.
“It feels great to be back in college radio!” exclaimed “Weird Al” Yankovic, an alumnus of KCPR San Luis Obispo. “I loved my college radio days. That’s where I first got my start, that’s where I first took the name ‘Weird Al’ professionally, so I have very, very fun memories.”
According to Anabella Poland, the General Manager of WMSC FM at Montclair State University in New Jersey, “Weird Al’ Yankovic is the quintessential college radio success story.”
“College radio provides that safe space for students to express their most authentic selves and no doubt, Al’s brilliance shone bright at KCPR and it was a conduit towards an extraordinary career,” added Poland.
College radio is far from dead as these stations fill the dorm rooms and frat houses, acting as a staple of the college experience from undiscovered music, sports talk, and current news.
For anyone looking for new music the old-fashioned away and is interested in quality news and sports programming that is not overwhelmed with commercials, here is a list of ten stations to check out.
These stations may arguably be some of the best radio waves in North America that can be streamed from anywhere.
1. St. Bonaventure University (WSBU-88.3 FM, St. Bonaventure, NY) – The Buzz is St. Bonaventure University’s student-run radio station operating at 165 watts. It is nationally ranked No. 1 by The Princeton Review and offers the local community a variety of music including indie rock, alternative and hip-hop, along with news, sports and specialty shows.
2. Emerson College (WERS 88.9FM and WECB, Boston, MA) – WERS plays the best of Boston and is a commercial-free, listener-supported station broadcasting from Emerson College to Boston and beyond. The station has consistently been cited as the mostly highly rated and critically acclaimed college radio station in the country.
3. Arizona State University (KASC 1330 AM, Tempe, AZ) – “The Blaze 1330 AM” campus radio has been alive and well for more than three decades at Arizona State University. The station’s two studios are used for a variety of music programs and broadcasts school-related sports competitions both on and off campus.
4. University of South Florida (WUSF 89.7 FM) – WUSF is the flagship National Public Radio member station in the Tampa Bay area. It is licensed to Tampa and owned by the University of South Florida. Award-winning WUSF reporters keep listeners up to date on Florida news and locally produced programs like Florida Matters which provides insight on local issues.
5. Ithaca College (WICB 91.7 FM and VIC Radio, Ithaca, New York) – WICB is owned by Ithaca College and operated by Ithaca College students. The station is the College’s only FCC licensed, non-commercial educational station that broadcasts from the top of Ithaca’s South Hill at 91.7 FM. It operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is Ithaca’s only modern rock station and is consistently the market’s favorite radio station.
6. University of Notre Dame (WSND 88.9 FM, South Bend, IN) – Known as the sound of Notre Dame, WSND FM is a classical and variety FM radio station that serves the university’s surrounding communities.
7. Washington State University (KZUU 90.7 FM, Pullman, WA) – This student owned-and-operated station at WSU, has an extremely varied (not to say erratic) format emphasizing alternative popular music and excluding only top-40.
8. Hofstra University (WRHU 88.7 FM, Hempstead, New York) – Licensed to Hempstead, New York, WRHU 88.7FM is a college radio station owned and operated by Hofstra University. Since the 2010-2011 NHL season, WRHU has been the radio home of the New York Islanders games.
9. Providence College (WDOM 91.3 FM, Providence, RI) – WDOM 91.3fm is a college-based radio station in Providence, Rhode Island. Run by Providence College students, the station broadcasts everything from sport highlights to pop, indie, country, hip-hop, rap, alternative, classic rock, jazz, and punk music.
10. Denison University (WDUB 91.1 FM, Granville, OH) – Denison University’s WDUB 91.1 FM in Granville, Ohio strives to provide the best on air personalities and music along with a comprehensive website that offers free MP3s, music news, reviews, and general musings from the music world.
While commercial stations derive the bulk of their profits from running advertisements, college radio stations rely heavily on donations from individual donors. Last October, an anonymous donor made a staggering $1.5 million donation to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Public Radio. It was the largest cash donation to the radio stations in their history.
As you check out the list of top college radio stations, consider visiting their individual websites to see how you can help these stations continue thriving.