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9 Best College Radio Stations?

KZSC Lobby at UC Santa Cruz

Today the Huffington Post takes a stab at naming the 9 Best College Radio Stations. They admit that the list may not be complete (how could 9 stations cover it all?) and acknowledge that they drew inspiration from the recent College Radio Awards during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York City last week.

Several of the stations on the Huffington Post list were winners at CMJ and others have been featured in college radio lists compiled by Princeton Review and mtvU (for their College Radio Woodie Award).

No offense to any of the stations named, but it’s important to keep in mind how all of these lists are determined. Princeton Review’s list is actually only an accounting of station popularity on campus according to students at universities polled by Princeton Review (they are asked how popular the campus radio station is).

mtvU’s college radio Woodie awards (which seem to have been discontinued after last year’s ceremony) were based on online nominations and voting. CMJ’s awards were voted on by attendees at the CMJ Music Marathon based on nominations made by stations and industry types who are CMJ subscribers; so the list is limited to that universe of stations with connections in the CMJ sphere. As I mentioned during the nomination process, I was still really happy to see some new stations up for the CMJ College Radio Awards this year, as in the past it seemed that there were many nominees from the same small group of stations.

I do like that the Huffington Post piece explains what sets each station apart (although some of their fact-checking is sketchy– I chuckled when I saw that they wrote that KZSC is funded by the FCC. Licensed would be more accurate.) and in that respect the list is a great jumping off point for college radio exploration.

Here are the 9 Best College Radio Stations according to the Huffington Post:

CJLO (Concordia University, Montreal, Canada)

WKDU (Drexel University, Philadelphia)

WICB (Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY)

Radio DePaul (DePaul University, Chicago, IL)

KZSC (University of California, Santa Cruz)

KEXP (University of Washington, Seattle, WA)

WGRE (De Pauw University, Greencastle, IN)

WERS (Emerson College, Boston, MA)

WCRX (Columbia College, Chicago, IL)

I recently covered even more interesting (and lengthier) list of college radio stations put together on Zoomout. A few from the Huffington Post list are included, but by featuring 82 college radio stations, the Zoomout list is able to give a broader representation of excellent freeform college radio stations from all over the United States and Canada.

What do you think of this particular list? Is it a good representation of what college radio has to offer or are there glaring omissions?

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4 Responses to 9 Best College Radio Stations?

  1. Cheng Shin October 27, 2010 at 1:10 pm #

    I disagree with the mention of Columbia’s WCRX, although I’m sure CRX’s DJs and their families love the station.

    It’s sad that one of the best schools (if not the best) in Chicago has such a below average radio station.

    BTW, columbia graduates can be found in ALL walks of life, from music production to stage management.

  2. raphael q October 27, 2010 at 4:05 pm #

    From that list I’m only familiar with Emerson’s because I went there briefly and lived in Boston for a time. Personally I think WERS is awful in its own right, but in comparison with WZBC as an alternative choice it’s inconceivable since ZBC offers things no one else does. But I look forward to checking out the other stations on that list. Cheers.

  3. Matthew Lasar October 27, 2010 at 4:12 pm #

    Go KZSC! 🙂

  4. John Hogle October 27, 2010 at 11:50 pm #

    Again, KFJC. Year-in, year-out, innovative, interesting, doing things few others even consider such as live broadcasts from SXSW, issuing its own CDs, and much, much more. And the magnificence of May’s Mayhem specials like 24 hours of Sun Ra.

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