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The 20 "Most Popular" College Radio Stations 2011

Princeton Review just released its annual latest college guide, The Best 373 Colleges, 2011 Edition, and in it, as always is a listing of colleges with popular radio stations. As I mentioned when I wrote about last year’s survey, I take issue with the methodology of these rankings and with the way that they have been described by Princeton Review and by radio stations. This listing of radio stations is headlined “Best College Radio Station” in the guide, even though students answering the surveys were simply asked “How popular is the radio station?” (which is the sub-headline).

Because of this, the survey really only gets at the fact that students seem to be aware of a radio station on campus. Survey takers aren’t asked the names of campus stations or if they are listeners. In fact, several of the schools on the list have multiple radio stations, so it’s impossible for one station to lay claim over the title of “most popular radio station” with certainty.

For example, in the latest survey Sacred Heart University is cited as having the 18th most popular radio station. Since Sacred Heart owns both an Internet-only student station (recently cited as one of the most popular campus clubs) and a public FM radio station, it’s not clear which station students were referring to when they said that their radio station was “popular.”

Additionally, this list is based on surveys of students at only 373 colleges, so it does not include the entire universe of college radio stations.

On Spinning Indie I have a complete list of this year’s “winning” radio stations in addition to the listings from the 2010, 2009 and 2008 editions of Princeton Review.

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0 Responses to The 20 "Most Popular" College Radio Stations 2011

  1. Nick Russo August 6, 2010 at 10:18 am #

    Thanks for this article! It’s an important point to make. I’m the program director of WMUA in Amherst, MA and we’re both a student and community radio station. However, we seem to have stronger and better connections to the community rather than to the University and students. Personally, I attribute that to the fact that we don’t play Top-40 music and that’s pretty much all that students are interested in listening to these days. It’s encouraging that the Princeton Review “cares” about radio, but it’s troubling that there’s a feeling that college stations have to be ranked as questionably as they are.

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