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Princeton Review 2016

Princeton Review Shares 2016 List of the 20 “Most Popular” College Radio Stations

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 complete list for the 2016 edition is listed below (for comparison, here are the lists from the 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008 editions of Princeton Review).

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)

2. Ithaca College (WICB 91.7 FM and VIC Radio, Ithaca, New York)

3. Emerson College (WERS 88.9FM and WECB, Boston, MA)

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)

10. Syracuse University (WAER 88.3 FM, WERW, WJPZ 89.1 FM, Syracuse, NY)

11. Guilford College (WQFS 90.9 FM, Greensboro, NC)

12. Union College (WRUC 89.7 FM, Schenectady, NY)

13. St. Michael’s College (WWPV 88.7 FM at time of the survey, Colchester, VT) – Note: Formerly held license for WWPV & is building new LPFM station

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)

19. University of Kansas (KJHK 90.7 FM and Kansas Public Radio, Lawrence, KS) Most recently was on the 2014 list.

20. Howard University (WHUR 96.3 FM and WHBC Washington, DC)

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4 Responses to Princeton Review Shares 2016 List of the 20 “Most Popular” College Radio Stations

  1. Jerry Drawhorn August 6, 2015 at 12:48 am #

    A very problematical list. Nine are in New York.

    I’d think that they’d be curious about the geographical disparity in their results and wonder why on three K-stations are on the list and only two actually West of the Mississippi. And only one in the South ( Guilford College,in Greensboro NC?). Almost none from any large public universities?

    Is there some psychological difference between North Eastern private school youth that this somehow signifies?

  2. Jennifer Waits August 6, 2015 at 7:47 pm #

    College radio more “popular” in the Northeast? Hmmm…curious… I suppose there may be a greater concentration of college radio stations there?

  3. Kevin Erickson August 11, 2015 at 6:39 pm #

    My station was on this list a couple years during my tenure there. I had no idea what it meant, but it did look good on my resume!

  4. toni basanta September 22, 2015 at 11:11 am #

    With kind regards of Toni Basanta to Jennifer Waits

    Hi Ms. Waits,
    I’m a DJ Host at WWPV now 92.5 FM (former 88.7 FM) since Feb 2010
    and I’m very proud of your commitments and research about our weekly work behind the Mics.
    My show name is The Cuban Bridge and in recent weeks, we reached 4, 038 hits.
    I’ll spread the voice about all these nation wide College radios in my show on SUNDAY SEPT 27 – (12 noon – 3 pm)
    It will look good in my resume, after more than 25 years as a broadcaster, first in Havana, Cuba and since 2006 in Vermont airwaves, 5 of them at St. Mike’s !* .

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