Once again it’s time for the Princeton Review’s annual college survey results (registration required), including the deceptively titled “Best College Radio Station” list, which is based on student surveys. I’ve been scrutinizing these lists for years and it always drives me nuts that the rankings are listed as “Best College Radio Station,” when the results don’t actually name any radio stations and are also derived from a survey question that has nothing to do with the quality of any specific radio station on campus.
The ranking is based on survey responses among students who attend the 380 colleges included in the book (read more about the methodology here). Students are asked how popular one’s college radio station is. Because of that, it’s more likely that schools with high profile stations, professionally-run stations, or multiple stations will make the list. As you can see from this year’s results, 5 of the 20 schools on the list have multiple radio stations. There are no questions in the survey asking students to list the name of their radio station, so it’s impossible to know which station on their campus is really the most popular.
This year’s survey includes the question about college radio within a series of questions about how popular various extracurricular activities are, as seen below.
Questions from the 2016 Princeton Review Survey:
(using this scale: Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neither Agree or Disagree, Agree, or Strongly Agree)
Intercollegiate sports are popular
Intramural sports are popular
Fraternities/sororities are popular
The college radio station is popular
College Theater is popular
How do you rate their productions? Poor/Fair/Average/Good/Excellent
The Campus Newspaper is popular
How do you rate the campus newspaper? Poor/Fair/Average/Good/Excellent
Interestingly, questions about one’s college newspaper’s and one’s college theater’s popularity includes follow-up questions asking respondents to rate the campus newspaper and to rate theater productions. There’s no such rating question for college radio.
The 2016 Best College Radio Station List includes many of the same schools that were listed in last year’s list, with 14 of the same schools and 6 new schools on this list. For the most part, the new schools have made the Princeton Review “Best College Radio Station” list in recent years, although neither St. Michael’s College or Rider University have been on the list in the years that I’ve been monitoring (going back to 2008).
The “most popular” college stations for 2016 are:
2016 Princeton Review’s Most Popular College Radio Stations
(note: I’ve added station names and call signs as the Princeton Review only lists school names. Schools in bold were not on the list last year)
1. Hofstra University (WRHU 88.7 FM, Hempstead, New York)
4. DePauw University (WGRE 91.5 FM, Greencastle, Indiana)
5. St. Bonaventure University (WSBU-88.3 FM, St. Bonaventure, NY)
6. University of Puget Sound (KUPS 90.1 FM, Tacoma, Washington)
7. Manhattanville College (WMVL 88.1 FM, Purchase, New York)
8. The College of Wooster (WCWS 90.9 FM, Wooster, Ohio)
9. Fordham University (WFUV 90.7 FM, Bronx, NY)
11. Guilford College (WQFS 90.9 FM, Greensboro, NC)
12. Union College (WRUC 89.7 FM, Schenectady, NY)
14. Bates College (WRBC 91.5 FM, Lewiston, ME) Most recently was on the 2014 list.
15. Rider University (WRRC 107.7 FM, Lawrenceville, NJ)
16. Skidmore College (WSPN 91.1 FM, Saratoga Springs, NY) Most recently was on the 2013 list.
17. Carelton College (KRLX 88.1 FM, Northfield, MN) Most recently was on the 2014 list.
18. Knox College (WVKC 90.7 HD2, Galesburg, Illinois)
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