Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Oasis That Is College Radio

Long before Sirius XM, Pandora and the Intenet, the only way to listen to non-mainstream music was college radio. Any kind of genre you wanted to listen to, chances are that you could find it on the college dial (that's usually below 92 or above 107 on your FM dial).

There you could listen to anything you wanted to, pretty much commercial free (but not PSA free). Back then, not only were you able to explore all kinds of genres, but quite often you could discover new bands and artists before they were corrupted (not them, their music) by mainstream radio. Even now, you can pretty do the same thing.

The reason why I bring this up, is that right now college radio is the perfect refuge for those who are sick and tired of listening to the same two or three songs from a given artist on the FM dial.

Think about it for a minute.

If you like a certain artist or even a certain band or type of music, and you don't have complete 24/7 access to the Internet, then college radio is for you. Where else will a jockey play anything but the actual hit from a given artist except on college radio?

I kind of had this epiphany the other day while I was listening to 107.7 WFCS (CCSU) and they were playing a known song (Overkill) by a good band that is always mutilated on commercial radio. While Men At Work wasn't the flash in the pan that commercial radio makes them out to be, they did have a solid body of work and about a half dozen Billboard Top 100 hits to their credit.

College radio is notorious for exploring a particular artist's whole catalogue of work and not just the one or two hits that commercial radio will overplay to death (I have made this point on numerous occasions over the years, so I won't belabor the issue here).

College radio is also notorious for not censoring certain songs just because they have words that Conglomo's deem to be offensive to certain listener's ears (note, I am not talking about George Carlin's world famous list of words you can't say on television). I've also voiced my opinion on that as well.

College radio is also notorious for not creating the modern version of K-Tel Records like commercial radio often does. If someone decides they want to play, for example, all 22+ minutes of The Allman Brothers "Whipping Post", you bet your last dollar they're gonna let that song play all the way through.

Bottom line is if you want to listen to a particular genre of music and you don't have 24/7 access to the Internet, college radio is the next best thing. Where else can you listen to a particular artist and their entire catalogue of work, not just the hits, except on college radio?


  1. Debra: Most definitely, which is why I have so many programmed into my car radio.

  2. Never had any kind of college radio that I heard in Arkansas growing up. These days I pretty much listen only to Sirius.

  3. Charles: College radio was pretty much off my radar until I started with my current employer back in '96.

    I've heard a lot of good things about Sirius, but I'm not too crazy about the initial outlay and paying for a subscription for something that I don't listen to most of the time.

  4. G.A.: It's a blast to listen to, as more often than not, its the place of last resort for certain genres of music, like jazz or folk.

  5. Love college radio!! When I lived in the Bay Area, one of the community colleges actually had jazz station that was great.

  6. M: College radio seems to be the new home for Jazz, as two of greater Hartford's largest college stations play Jazz at least twice a day M-F.


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