By GVC Staff
Radio is not dead, and whoever keeps trying to tell us that needs to tune in! College radio stations are interesting because of their diversity. Every college is different. They all have their own identity, their own culture, their own traditions, their own eclectic group of students. Their radio stations represent that and it’s kind of awesome in a trendy, underground, youthful way. Whether they’re playing the top hits of the year, throwing it back to the Nirvana days, yelling about Donald Trump, discussing the art galleries that are up that month, or sharing their favorite bars and food joints in the city, they all have something to offer to the locals. We’ve compiled a list of 30 Amazing College Radio Stations based on what they offer, their dedication to the students and culture, and basically – pure excellence.
California Polytechnic started its radio station in 1968 and it hasn’t dipped in popularity yet. It makes more than 20,000 undergraduates and post graduates happy daily with it’s 24 hour programming. California Polytechnic was ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the number 10 best regional university in the West – so it’s no surprise that the university’s radio station is also one of the best in country. If you’re local, tune into 91.3 FM and you’ll see why the station helped kick start Weird Al Yankovic’s career back when he was a student!
California State University in Long Beach prides itself on its incredible radio station, KBeach Radio. The station plays the latest hits, many talk programs, interviews with award winning professors and professionals, and so much more! KBeach serves roughly 450,000 students enrolled at all 23 California State University Campuses in the sunny Western state. We love this station because of its diversity and unique quality – from food talk programs, to music shows strictly focused on the Beatles, to shows called Fergalicious, KBeach. It pretty much does it all!
Florida has more than just perfect weather and palm trees – it also has great radio! Florida International University’s radio station is referred to as WRGP, The Roar. The Roar is student driven and has three signals that broadcast throughout Miami. The station was created in 1988 and has only grown in popularity since. It now serves over 55,000 students and more than 8,000 staff members. The Roar takes pride in its dedication to helping independent musicians from all different genres and backgrounds grow and reach more people. Aside from a nightly specific musical genre selection, The Roar also programs news and sports shows.
George University has been airing WGTB since 1946. Yup, you read that right! Now in it’s 71st year, the station is a must for any and all Georgetown students. WGTB is known for having a far left political stance, playing new and diverse tunes, reporting on news and events, interesting reviews, and letting everyone know what’s going on in the community. As for their in-person persona, Georgetown is great about hosting events, concerts, and in studio performances – with guests such as Best Coast and Girl Talk. WGTB pretty much rules.
KJACK is student run but overseen by the College Music Journal which really just bumps up its quality of work! Northern Arizona University’s station specializes in local artists, new music, talk and sports segments, and more. Not only is the station super popular for its excellence in the radio world, but it also offers students an incredible hands-on learning opportunity!
6. Roosevelt University – WRBC The Blaze
Roosevelt University is located in Chicago, so its radio station, WRBC The Blaze, is destined to be unique and impressive. The online student radio station has been operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week since 1946. The 24 hour programming typically includes a wide range of musical genres, news updates, pop culture discussions and updates, talk shows, and some comedy! Aside from it’s online presence, The Blaze also hosts events such as concerts and open mic nights. We love The Blaze because well, how could you not?!
Ahhh, New Jersey! There are good things in this state, we promise. For example, Rutgers University and its radio station, WRSU! Rutgers has one of the oldest radio stations in the entire country and while it has changed over the years, it has remained dedicated to being a student run program. The DJs are either students or alumni and create their own playlists – a WRSU tradition!
The University of California in Berkeley is one of the coolest and trendiest schools in the country. But then again, who isn’t cool in the Bay Area? Some of the best art, music, and culture can be found in Berkeley so to assume that the University’s radio station is any different is just ridiculous! KALX serves over 300,000 undergraduate and post graduate students and is run entirely by volunteers who are either students or members of the community. Pretty cool, huh? Over 300 volunteers! KALX plays a diverse range of music, discusses public affairs, shares news, provides information about the community, and so much more!
Santa Barbara is more than just a beautiful beach town. It’s also home to one of the best college radio stations in the country! KCSB is educational not only for the listeners, but also the student volunteers who run it. The station members determine everything they do according to uniqueness and diversity. KCSB aims to be the place where listeners can experience songs and musicians they’ve never heard before, learn new facts and stories every day, hear a different outlook on the world and PSAs, and so much more. The station operates 24/7 all year long! What?!
Wellesley College, an all women’s college in Massachusetts, was the first station run entirely by women way back in 1942. Aside from students, WZLY also serves the local community as one of the top stations! WZLY has over 60 student DJs who play mostly contemporary and vintage music. Aside from music, the station also hosts interesting programs about the news and public affairs, provides updates about the community, and talks about campus life. It makes sense that WZLY is so popular!
Wilkes University’s radio station made our list because of its ability to have a niche and be really dang good at it! WCLH focuses all of its attention on playing alternative rock, heavy metal, and hip hop, as well as student run programs about culture and news. Our favorite part is the station’s traditions! WCLH has started routines such as Metal Mondays and hip hop evenings. Cool, right?
While Hofstra University’s radio station is known for playing great music, its best asset may be its news reporting! WRHU’s production team and journalists have earned several awards from international press organizations for their excellence when it comes to sharing the news with the world! Many students who work for the station have graduated and moved on to working for CBS News, NPR, and more!
Emerson College, an incredible school in the heart of Boston, claims that they are the station “delivering Boston’s most eclectic mix of programming.” We’re not going to fight them on that. WERS rules! WERS plays the best of the wonderful city that is Boston. From the newest recordings, to live local bands, to independent artists, to obscure classics, to your favorite albums of all time! WERS is commercial free and entirely supported by its listeners.
Phoenix is overflowing with new music and up-and-coming artists so a station focused on that is pretty awesome! Arizona State University’s radio station, referred to as The Blaze, is one of the top stations in the country. The Blaze is insanely supportive of local music and diversity. It is sure to broadcast all genres of music, cover all sports, and, of course, the news. Did you know that The Blaze was crucial in introducing bands such as Jimmy Eat World to the nation?!
Howard University broadcasts its radio station, WHUR, in Washington D.C. The station has been operating for over 40 years and is actually one of the only university owned commercial stations in the country. While the station is diverse, fans seems to love it for its dedication to jazz and its extended block of playing only relaxing music. Relaxing music is probably a good call for stressed out college students!
If you’ve ever been to Philadelphia, you know that the city is overflowing with culture and diversity. Drexel University’s radio station keeps up with that positive trait of the city. When listening to WKDU, you probably won’t know any of the music. That’s the best part. Aside from musical diversity and an open mind, the station also broadcasts many interviews and in-studio performances.
Brown University is good at everything – why wouldn’t it be good at radio broadcasting? WBRU is one of the best radio stations in Rhode Island and the southern shore of Massachusetts. It is a commercial modern rock station that transmits out of Providence that keeps all of the locals happy and rocking out all day long. The station is primarily run by Brown University students and has been since 1936!
Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina is filled with outdoors loving, young college students and the radio station shows that. The University’s station, WASU plays low-key indie music such as Soft Swells, Silversun Pickups, etc. Back in 2012, WASU won the MTV Woodie Award for the Best College Station. Pretty cool! Plus you can listen to the station on your phone from the iHeartRadio app!
19. Rollins College – WPRK
Rollins College became involved in college radio when it started broadcasting out of central Florida way back in 1924. Since then, the station has switched names, revamped itself, and become one of the top radio stations in Florida. The station’s slogan, “The Best in Basement Radio” is definitely not an exaggeration! The station focuses on broadcasting diversity and giving the underdog a chance!
The University of California in Santa Cruz is one of the best colleges in one of the prettiest cities, and also has a crazy awesome radio station! KZSC started in Santa Cruz back in 1967, broadcasting out of a dorm basement. The station has seriously grown since then and was upgraded to 20,000 watts back in 2007! KZSC is a non-commercial, educational public radio station that plays A+ music. Not only is the station the perfect training ground for students interested in entering the field, it also airs news and opinions from all across the board.
When you think of awesome music and cool people you think of Portland, right? So do we. Portland State University’s radio station won the Pigeon and Planes award for the Best College Radio Station Website and it was pretty much a landslide. KPSU’s website is easy to use, makes listening to music simple, and it’s pretty good looking too. When it comes to the broadcasting content, KPSU has been playing music that is often overlooked by mainstream radio stations since 1994! Portland is known for doing its own thing and this station definitely followed suit.
The University of Texas in Austin may not be broadcasting live 24/7, but you can stream the station online 24/7 and in 2017 that’s not annoying at all! KVRX is known for promising to play “none of the hits, all of the time.” Pretty typical for the Austin music scene and we really love that. Take a listen to KVRX. You probably won’t recognize any songs but you will end up adding them to your music library without a doubt! If you’re local, be sure to check out the station’s self hosted SXSW event in downtown Austin every year!
Ithaca College is another station that has taken home an MTV Woody Award. It was awarded the Woody in 2008 and has been in Princeton’s Top 10 list for a few years now! WICB plays about 19 hours of hip hop in its daily schedule, 3 hours of news and talk programming, and modern rock music takes up the remaining hours. Pretty good deal, huh? The station takes pride in its speciality programs such as the Homebrew Show, which spotlights musicians strictly from central New York. Any station that makes it a point to hyper focus on local music is going to seriously excel in the college radio world.
St. Bonaventure University’s radio station is perfect for people who can’t stand the radio, but love music. WSBU The Buzz broadcasts out of Bonaventure, New York and has been providing music to the people since 1948. Unfortunately, the broadcast strength is pretty weak and only reaches about a 20 miles radius, but thanks to Live365, there is a livestream of WSBU that can be listened to anywhere! The popular radio station plays and reviews a wide array of music, including indie rock, alternative, and hip hop. The station also has its own speciality programs, news coverage and sports updates!
Florida State University has a student run radio station that is commonly referred to as “The Voice of Florida State.” Not too bad, huh? WVFS is affiliated with Florida State University’s Student Government Association as well as the College of Communication and Information. The station’s main goal is to play a unique and constant stream of new and classic music, as well as news and sports. The station also covers any entertainment and events for the people in the local community. The station broadcasts 24/7, 365 days a year both on radio and an online stream so you really have no excuse not to give it a listen!
Santa Monica College is in the heart of it all. Some of the best music in the country comes straight from the Los Angeles County, so why wouldn’t a local radio station totally kill it? Santa Monica’s radio station, KCRW, is a member of National Public Radio, more commonly known as NPR. Aside from carrying NPR news and programs, KCRW airs original news, its own talk programs, and a wide array of musical genres. The daily programming, “Morning Becomes Eclectic” is a little bit of everything but when the station switches to nightly programming, house, progressive, and electronic dance music is what you’re in store for.
Seton Hall University’s radio station broadcasts a radio station 24/7 and is a metal head’s dream! WSOU is a noncommercial, student run station that plays exclusively rock and metal. Students found their niche and they’re killing it! Of course the station has its own speciality programs and community shows, but the main focus is the music. Seton Hall is actually a Catholic university, which is definitely interesting considering the station’s musical choices. On Thursdays nights it plays Christian hard rock and metal. We find this whole thing so interesting!
DePauw University in Indiana has a radio station, WGRE, and it is the largest student organization at the university. The station has over 200 DJs and it kind of feels like that when you dig a little deeper into the station. There is no program guide so you never know what’s going on or when it’s going on! We kind of like that though. You’re in for a surprise every time you turn on the radio. Why not make radio fun and mysterious?
We’re pretty obsessed with North Carolina State University’s radio station. WKNC breaks up the day into multiple categories – Afterhours, Underground, Daytime, Chainsaw, and Local. The Afterhours show is exclusively electronica. Underground is for hip-hop. Daytime is indie rock. Chainsaw is just what you’d expect…metal! And last but not least, Local means North Carolina based music only! The weekends are for speciality programming and three of the station’s regularly scheduled talk shows. Does a station get any better than this? We’re really not sure.
The University of Puget Sound is, in our opinion, one of the coolest universities in the country. It is a private liberal arts college in Tacoma, Washington and its radio station, KUPS, fits right in. The station won the MTV Woodie Award for the best college radio station in the nation. Not too bad! KUPS takes pride in the fact that all its DJs are self proclaimed music fanatics. They care about what they’re sharing with their community and want to shed light on artists that they think make this world a better place. Tune in 24/7 and you’re going to hear a wide array of music – Indie Rock, Jazz, Blues, Hip-Hop, Death Metal, Shoe Gaze, Folk, Techno, Rock – you name it, you’re going to hear it.