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Map and streaming playlist of the best non-commercial college radio stations.
September 20, 2010 1:04 PM   Subscribe

Map and streaming playlist of the best non-commercial college radio stations. [via mefi projects]
posted by KokuRyu (56 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

 
Aww, Tulane didn't make the cut .. probably overshadowed by its neighbor, the best non-commercial radio station on the planet (WWOZ).
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:25 PM on September 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Apparently the land between the Mississippi and the Rockies is an inhospitable college radio wasteland. A foresaken land that once saw Pavement enter into it in the early 90s. And just as they disappeared, as the memory of Broken Window, Broken Window was a mere dream for some, they emerged a wisp of their former self, on the steps of WMFU saying only, "Foreigner. Foreigner. Foreigner." Let it serve as a warning, only classic rock goes here!
posted by geoff. at 1:26 PM on September 20, 2010


But this is cool, now I know where to retire. Good radio = good culture in my experience.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:26 PM on September 20, 2010


If you know of a good college station in flyover country, just add it to the list via MeFi Projects comments!
posted by KokuRyu at 1:28 PM on September 20, 2010


Just wanted to give a shout-out to Lewiston's own WRBC. 120-ish watts of pure power!!!
posted by .kobayashi. at 1:39 PM on September 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


the best non-commercial radio station on the planet ?

WFMU
posted by R. Mutt at 1:46 PM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's not a college station but I've been loving the music focused public radio station recently launched here in DFW, KXT.
posted by kmz at 1:47 PM on September 20, 2010


Very cool. Streaming college radio has made being stuck at my desk much more tolerable. Several of my faves are here and there are a few more I'd like to check out.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 1:50 PM on September 20, 2010


Errrr, I'm going to have to disagree with WRUV, from Univ. of Vermont. It's... it's pretty bad.
posted by maryr at 1:51 PM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yay - KBGA! I used to DJ there (and hopefully one day again).
posted by ikahime at 1:57 PM on September 20, 2010


Although not a college station, Chirp Radio is a non-profit, volunteer-run community web based station out of Chicago that sounds like a well run college station. They have an eclectic mix that varies a bit from DJ to DJ, but there's a strong focus on new indie music. Between KEXP and Chirp, both with great realtime playlist info, my disposable income has taken a significant hit with new music. I have a friend that volunteers and I was originally only listening to his show, but as I've checked out other DJs I've been generally impressed. College/community radio is a crapshoot, so I always appreciate a station that manages to maintain some consistent quality in programming while still giving jocks the freedom to let their personalities come out in the music they play.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 1:57 PM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, hell yes!
This just made my day. Many thanks!!!
posted by Thorzdad at 1:58 PM on September 20, 2010


KEXP + KCOU = happy me!
posted by bayani at 2:04 PM on September 20, 2010


Hell yeah, both stations I have worked at are on the list! (WZBC and WRIU, both 90.3 FM, which once caused the WZBC net stream to play the WRIU broadcast)
posted by mkb at 2:04 PM on September 20, 2010


No WFPK, and they rank KZSU over KUSF? I went to Stanford, but no.

Couple questions:

1) What's the methodology for selecting the stations? (It seems from MeFi Projects that it's just a "here are some stations I like" list.)

2) Are there actual links to all the stations (or a full list somewhere)? I did load the MPU playlist, but that didn't help clear things up.

A limited app, as it were. I mean, don't all of these stations stream? Maybe I'm missing the point. A directory would seem more useful than one playlist ...
posted by mrgrimm at 2:09 PM on September 20, 2010


This post just made me real sad. I DJed atKUOI starting in high school and I just checked their page and their livestream doesn't work and it kinda looks like the station has gone down hill since I moved. KUOI is responsible for a lot of my music tastes and I miss it quite terribly.
posted by Uncle at 2:16 PM on September 20, 2010


While I respect the choices of WREK (best. callsign. ever.) and WUGA to represent the Southeast, neither really can hold a candle to my old hometown fave: WUSC. Tune in Saturday morning for the sound of how radio should be: The Red Bank Bar and Grill show.

(Mad props are also due to WNCW, but I'm not sure they're really a college station anymore.)
posted by 1f2frfbf at 2:25 PM on September 20, 2010


My wife listens to WERS almost exclusively. Between the time she gets home and the time I might use her car (because she has boxed mine in), the reggae show "Rockers" has usually started and it's always a surprise to hear Heavy Dub spouting from her stereo.

By far the best part of "Rockers" used to be some obviously wicked white college student who hosted it. I forget her stage name, but I called her "Tina Westwood" because she spoke in the spottiest Jamaican accent ever. Mistress Cleo would have been embarrassed for Tina. I haven't heard the show for any length recently. I hope she hasn't graduated.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:31 PM on September 20, 2010


I love that I can pick up KURE in Des Moines. It has restored my belief in radio.
posted by erstwhile at 2:37 PM on September 20, 2010


I'm happy to see KURE on the map. I spent several years as a DJ and board member at KURE. We on the BOD always felt that letting our DJs choose what to play and when to play it was the best way to provide an interesting and diverse experience for our listeners. I just wish I could receive it over the air down here in Des Moines.
posted by TrialByMedia at 2:39 PM on September 20, 2010


I love that I can pick up KURE in Des Moines. It has restored my belief in radio.

Whoah, really? Where in town are you and what kind of receiver are you using?
posted by TrialByMedia at 2:40 PM on September 20, 2010


I am happy to see CFUV at the University of Victoria on the map.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:48 PM on September 20, 2010


For classical music, KSJR has long been without peer
posted by Twang at 2:50 PM on September 20, 2010


Whoah, really? Where in town are you and what kind of receiver are you using?

Just central Des Moines. It's spotty though, depending on conditions. And I sadly can't get it if I go south of the downtown area. But it was a pleasant surprise to catch the signal one day by accident :)
posted by erstwhile at 2:50 PM on September 20, 2010


One of the criteria for this map was that the stations have high-quality streams, so some stations might be stuck with insufficiently high bitrates, or stream in some weird formats (for example, RealMedia and Quicktime).

I always appreciate a station that manages to maintain some consistent quality in programming while still giving jocks the freedom to let their personalities come out in the music they play.

From my experience, not many college stations have program directors who actually "program" the shows. The ones I've heard of doing so did it because the DJs had no real interest in the music, and were just getting trained to be commercial radio DJs (mind you, that was before nation-wide syndication took most of those jobs). Some stations rely on DJs bringing in their own music, while others have enough clout that people send music to the station managers or individual DJs, and some stations are a mix of personal and provided music.

If you want a larger pool of stations to pick from, there are many websites that gather info on such stations. Examples: College Radio.com, which has direct links to streams, but not a lot of information. There's also a wiki list of campus radio stations, which is not limited to the US.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:04 PM on September 20, 2010


Are we still adding to this list? Because everyone know's that GSU's WRAS is far superior to it's GaTech counterpart.
posted by Panjandrum at 3:05 PM on September 20, 2010


Just central Des Moines. It's spotty though, depending on conditions. And I sadly can't get it if I go south of the downtown area. But it was a pleasant surprise to catch the signal one day by accident :)

Hm. I'm Northwest of downtown--I may be able to get it if I rig up a half-wave folded dipole and put it in my attic. I see that the station has increased power sometime after I left, going from a quarter kilowatt to .63 kilowatt.
posted by TrialByMedia at 3:15 PM on September 20, 2010


Missing WFMU-FM Jersey City, NJ and KXLU Los Angeles, CA
posted by wcfields at 3:19 PM on September 20, 2010


WXYC used to be good.

(No, seriously, they were good in the 70s and 80s and since then they've been coasting and were nigh-unlistenable from 1997 to 2001)
posted by infinitewindow at 3:38 PM on September 20, 2010


Hip hop and R&B anyone? Is it me or are most of these radio stations run by white kids? What about some HBCUs?
posted by Captain Chesapeake at 3:53 PM on September 20, 2010


Just wanted to give a shout-out to Lewiston's own WRBC. 120-ish watts of pure power!!!

Like Radio, but Different...

WRBC represent!
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:59 PM on September 20, 2010


Missing WFMU-FM Jersey City, NJ and KXLU Los Angeles, CA

Yes to 1, no to 2. From the site:

*just missed the cut: KVRX, KXLU, KWVA, CFFF, CHUO, CHRY, KGNU, KXUL, KASC, WTUL, WRUC, CJSR, KVCU, WKCR, KBOO, CMFM
posted by filthy light thief at 4:07 PM on September 20, 2010


WFMU is not a college radio station.
posted by plastic_animals at 4:30 PM on September 20, 2010


Glad to see CKUT on the map, they're awesome!
posted by Devika at 4:49 PM on September 20, 2010


Super surprised my station's on there (WMUC). We're a bunch of ridiculous unprofessional college students that are slowly driving the station into the ground.

I got a show on Fridays at noon.
posted by azarbayejani at 4:51 PM on September 20, 2010


Oh, by the way, WMUC is entirely free form and everything we play is up to the DJ that is currently on the air. Our Program Director is only responsible for getting the schedule in order and choosing which new shows make it every semester.
posted by azarbayejani at 4:52 PM on September 20, 2010


I see that KBVR (Corvallis, OR) got snubbed. Probably rightly so. (I worked as a DJ there when I was in college 30 years ago and it had a 10 watt transmitter.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:54 PM on September 20, 2010


I love KFJC. I love the hell out of it.

...I have nothing to add to this conversation. I just wanted to say that.
posted by KChasm at 5:22 PM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty surprised that WXPN at UPenn isn't on there. Great station, and they adopted the sorely-missed YROCK, saving it from the radio graveyard.
posted by inmediasres at 6:31 PM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


... great project though!
posted by inmediasres at 6:33 PM on September 20, 2010


Glad to see WPRB included! Though I may never forgive them for introducing The Flaming Lips' cover of "Can't Get You Out of My Head" into our dorm room.
posted by ilana at 6:48 PM on September 20, 2010


WFMU is not a college radio station.

No one said it was. It is however, non-commercial.
posted by R. Mutt at 7:43 PM on September 20, 2010


what, no WIDR? - western michigan university, kalamazoo
posted by pyramid termite at 9:05 PM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


To join the long list of 'hey what abouts', hey what abouts WIUX? We've got a big ol' concert every year and we've even gotten some headline acts like Sunset Rubdown and Xiu Xiu to play for us and make our ears ring.
posted by dubusadus at 9:17 PM on September 20, 2010


Cool. I'd like to put in a plug here for the plight of KTRU, one of the best and most electic college stations around, which is currently in the midst of a struggle to prevent an unforewarned (and seriously damaging to the Houston cultural scene) sale from Rice University to University of Houston, which will turn it to 24-hour classical.
posted by threeants at 11:28 PM on September 20, 2010


WREK! yey!
posted by jeffburdges at 5:18 AM on September 21, 2010


(I'm a little late to the game, but...)

FREE-FORM COLLEGE RADIO IS GREAT. IF YOU ENJOY FREE-FORM COLLEGE RADIO, you might be interested to know that Rice University's KTRU in Houston, TX is under attack by its own administration. The administration began secretly brokering a deal to sell the student-run, student-created station's 50,000-watt transmitter, FCC license and wavelength without consulting a single student or faculty member.

Previously, and perhaps you'd like to get involved to whatever degree you're capable.
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 5:26 AM on September 21, 2010


2nding WIDR in the 'Zoo!
posted by Exploding Gutbuster at 7:44 AM on September 21, 2010


Wonderful to see my alma mater's station, WITR on the map. But they weren't always so well-regarded. Back when I was a innocent freshman, they were an AM station that you could only hear if you plugged into the campus powergrid. They were played on the loudspeaker in Grace Watson, the big dining hall, but complaints over the music they played caused them to change to a local Rochester commercial station.

Despite the accolades, there's been a lot of tension regarding its relationship with the surrounding community. Oh, and that little thing with the FCC in 2004.
posted by tommasz at 9:38 AM on September 21, 2010


the best non-commercial radio station on the planet ?

WCBN

I'm on Tuesday morning, 6am-9am!
posted by Galaxor Nebulon at 12:50 PM on September 21, 2010


Of course, we made the cut. muahahahahaha.
posted by Galaxor Nebulon at 12:50 PM on September 21, 2010


Love that my alma mater, WCBN, is listed (go, Galaxor!). But if we're talking community or non-commercial, WFMU does need to be there. And KBOO too.

I just wish there was some way to represent CBC's Radio 3.
posted by vjpdx at 10:12 PM on September 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


WXYC used to be good.

(No, seriously, they were good in the 70s and 80s and since then they've been coasting and were nigh-unlistenable from 1997 to 2001)


UNC, Class of '96, here to say THIS. I signed up to DJ at WXYC my first year at UNC-CH, and went past the application process, even submitting a somewhat pretentious (in hindsight) multi-page proposal with my application that touched on sociology, racism, the dilution of music when it "crosses over," etc. Out of something like 100ish applicants, they chose 19 or so, and I was one of them. I then turned around and said "eh, no thanks," and went with a radio station at far less prestigious NC Wesleyan College, 80 miles away. (Their station no longer exists.)

This was not until after enduring a bunch of self-righteous suburban kids (the decision-makers who, to their credit, I again point out did offer me a DJing gig) -- one of whom was Carrie McLaren, founder of Stay Free -- go to great lengths to demonstrate to me how "urban," world-weary (at 20 years old!), and completely on top of it all they were.

Guys, you're a radio station of white privilege. Just accept it. Hell, embrace it. Even arch-rival Duke's station (where I also did a couple of shifts -- yes, I guess that makes me a traitor) managed to "outblack" WXYC, and that's just downright sad.
posted by CommonSense at 3:39 PM on September 22, 2010


Hip hop and R&B anyone? Is it me or are most of these radio stations run by white kids? What about some HBCUs?

Silly Cheseapeake, those don't count to the people who make these lists! And besides, it's not like those are real colleges!

( . . . hamburger &c, if it's not apparent . . . )
posted by CommonSense at 3:40 PM on September 22, 2010


Hi everyone, thanks for the response. I didn't notice this thread 'til now so I have some catching up to do. I will happily go through all your suggestions and amend the map / playlist as necessary.

Some have asked about methodology. Here's what I do when I find out about a potential addition: I first visit the college station's website. In lots of cases I immediately know if I've struck gold: multiple stream choices on the homepage, killer art/design, and a schedule filled with unique programming spanning 24 hours of the day. Stations are cut if they rely on NPR broadcasts or feature the same DJ at the same time every day.. hardly freeform. It must also be a non-commercial station (includes not forcing me to use the annoying Live365 player). Next I load up the stream into my player.. if it plays in at least 128kbps, then it's in!
posted by foraneagle2 at 1:17 AM on September 23, 2010


WIUX - added to map and playlist
WIDR - added to map and playlist
KCPR - will add if their stream becomes supported by a non-commercial media player
KXLU/KUSF - streams only on the commercial Live365 player :(
WTUL - Only 80kbps
WUSC - Only 96kbps
WFMU - not college radio
WXPN - not college radio. for Penn's student radio check out WQHS

thanks again for the feedback!
posted by foraneagle2 at 6:44 PM on September 28, 2010


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