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Campus radio (also known as college radio, university radio or student radio) is a type of radio station that is run by the students of a college, university or other educational institution. Programming may be exclusively by students, or may include programmers from the wider community in which the radio station is based. Sometimes campus radio stations are operated for the purpose of training professional radio personnel, sometimes with the aim of broadcasting educational programming, while other radio stations exist to provide an alternative to commercial broadcasting or government broadcasters.
Campus radio stations are generally licensed and regulated by national governments, and have very different characteristics from one country to the next. One commonality between many radio stations regardless of their physical location is a willingness — or, in some countries, even a licensing requirement — to broadcast musical selections that are not categorized as commercial hits. Because of this, campus radio has come to be associated with emerging musical trends, including genres such as punk and new wave, alternative rock, indie rock and hip hop, long before those genres become part of the musical mainstream. Campus radio stations also often provide airplay and promotional exposure to new and emerging local artists.
Many campus radio stations carry a variety of programming including news (often local), sports (often relating to the campus), and spoken word programming as well as general music. Often the radio format is best described as a freeform, with a lot of creativity and individualism among the disc jockeys and show hosts. A number of these radio stations have gained critical acclaim for their programming and are considered by the community in which they are embedded to be an essential media outlet.
Although the term campus radio implies full-power AM or FM transmission over the air, many radio stations experiment with low-power broadcasting, closed circuit or carrier current systems, often to on-campus listeners only. Some radio stations are distributed through the cable television system on cable FM or the second audio program of a TV radio station. Some universities and colleges broadcast one or more Internet radio feeds — either instead of, or in addition to a campus radio station — which may differ in radio formats significantly from licensed traditional campus radio.
- 1 Campus radio around the world
- 1.1 Australia
- 1.2 Belgium
- 1.3 Brunei Darussalam
- 1.4 Canada
- 1.5 Denmark
- 1.6 France
- 1.7 Germany
- 1.8 Greece
- 1.9 Guatemala
- 1.10 Hungary
- 1.11 India
- 1.12 Indonesia
- 1.13 Ireland
- 1.14 Israel
- 1.15 Italy
- 1.16 Malaysia
- 1.17 New Zealand
- 1.18 Nigeria
- 1.19 Norway
- 1.20 Pakistan
- 1.21 Poland
- 1.22 Portugal
- 1.23 Singapore
- 1.24 Sweden
- 1.25 Switzerland
- 1.26 Turkey
- 1.27 United Kingdom
- 1.28 United States
- 2 See also
- 3 References
Campus radio around the world
UBD FM is the first university-based radio station in Brunei Darussalam. The student-run organisation operates under the Educational and Technology Center of the Universiti Brunei Darussalam and was established in 2008.
In Canada, radio stations are regulated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which provides that "a campus radio station is a radio station owned or controlled by a not-for-profit organization associated with a post-secondary educational institution". The CRTC distinguishes two types of campus radio: instructional (for training of professional broadcasters) and community-based campus (programming provided by volunteers who are not training to be professionals). The community-based radio format is the predominant one, colloquially known as "campus-community radio." In recent years, some community-based campus radio stations, including CFFF-FM in Peterborough and CJMQ-FM in Sherbrooke, have in fact had their CRTC licenses formally reclassified from campus radio to community radio.
Campus radio stations broadcasting at full power are assigned a permanent frequency and call letters and, aside from a requirement not to compete directly with commercial radio stations, are full players in the Canadian broadcasting spectrum. Campus radio stations in Canada are more commonly associated with universities than with colleges, although some colleges also have licensed campus radio stations. As well, some institutions maintain unlicensed campus radio operations which broadcast only by closed circuit, cable FM or Internet streaming. Also see United States section for more general information.
The first licensed community-based campus radio station was CKCU-FM, based at Carleton University in Ottawa, which first broadcast on November 14, 1975. Prior to this date, some developmental university radio projects had previously produced and aired programs on commercial radio stations, and CJRT-FM, a campus radio station of the instructional type, had been on air since 1949. CFRC at Queen's University in Kingston has been on the air since 1923; however, until the 1940s it was a commercial radio station and even a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation affiliate. Unlike most campus radio stations, however, CFRC was owned for much of its history by the university itself, rather than by the student government.
The CRTC places responsibilities upon campus radio stations in Canada through the use of conditions of license that radio stations must follow in order to keep broadcasting. Campus radio stations, for example, are expected to be leaders in the Canadian content system which mandates a minimum number of Canadian musical selections throughout the day. The minimum Canadian content required for a campus station is 35%. Individual programs have their own requirements which depend on a particular program's content category. Generally, for popular music programs (pop, rock, dance, country-oriented, acoustic, and easy listening), hosts must play a minimum of 35% Canadian content. Programs featuring Special Interest Music (concert, folk-oriented, world, blues, jazz, non-classic religious and experimental) must have at least 12% Canadian content. In early 2005, Humber College's radio station CKHC-FM became the first broadcast radio station in Canada to air 100% Canadian content. Other requirements generally made of campus radio stations include quotas of non-hit, folk and ethnic musical selections as well as spoken word programming.
Most campus radio stations in Canada are members of the National Campus and Community Radio Association.
On January 23, 2012, the CRTC announced it would be eliminating instructional radio stations.
There are five student radio stations in Denmark related to the largest universities in Denmark. Only the town of Roskilde has a University and no permanent radio, but every year the five existing student radio stations work together in producing 10 days of radio on the Roskilde festival. The project is a cooperation between all the student radios organized by the cooperation organization called DDS and could be considered a temporary radio station.
The five student radio stations in Denmark are listed below with the city they relate to in Denmark.
- Universitetsrdioen in Copenhagen
- XFM lyngby in Lyngby
- Odense studenterradio in Odense
- Arhus studenterradio in Arhus
- Aalborg studenterradio in Aalborg
All the radios broadcast radio in local frequencies on FM in their related city. XFM actually has two departments one in Copenhagen and one in Lyngby and is the only radio who has two broadcast licenses.
The only one of the radio stations which broadcasts radio directly on campus is Aalborg studentradio. As many of the American studentradio Aalborg has speaker directly on the university where they can broadcast radio to the students cad Campus Rdio AAU.
Radio Campus France is a national, non-profit radio broadcasting network grouping 22 public college radio stations located in the largest French cities. Acting as an umbrellas for college radio in French public Universities, it proves that there is strength in numbers, and that music, technology and education are natural bedfellows. Not just a collection of disparate elements, Radio Campus is a vocal leader in the areas of digital broadcasting, keeping tabs on the development of terrestrial radio, as well as developing new network interfaces for radio stations across the nation to share content. With a broad music program, the playlist is powered by the passion of fans, and heralds a modern way for groups to interact in the social web. Whether through their support of regular residency shows from the likes of Beats In Space, or Warp Records, or broadcasting live from Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Festival in Sete, it is the love of the music which connects the listeners, and that makes Radio Campus a unique and special group indeed.
The Radio Campus France radio stations include:
- Amiens : Radio Campus Amiens 88.7
- Angers : Radio Campus Angers 103.0
- Besançon : Radio Campus Besançon 102.4
- Bordeaux : Radio Campus Bordeaux 88.1
- Brest : Radio-U 101.1
- Caen : Radio Phénix 92.7
- Clermont-Ferrand : Radio Campus Clermont-Ferrand 93.3
- Dijon : Radio Dijon Campus 92.2
- Grenoble : Radio Campus Grenoble 90.8
- Lille : Radio Campus Lille 106.6
- Lyon : Radio Brume 90.7
- Marseille : Radio Grenouille 88.8
- Montpellier : Radio Campus Montpellier 102.2
- Orléans : Radio Campus Orléans 88.3
- Paris : Radio Campus Paris 93.9
- Rennes : Radio Campus Rennes 88.4
- Strasbourg : Radio En Construction 90.7
- Toulouse : Radio Campus Toulouse 94.0
- Tours : Radio Campus Tours 99.5
The Confédération des radios de grandes écoles is the national non-profit network unifying 46 internet radios in the Grandes Ecoles, higher education establishments outside the main framework of the French university system, specialised schools spread in more than twenty cities: schools of business, engineering or political science for example. The CRGE represents more than 150 000 students and do reports in the main French international events like the Cannes Films Festival, the Monaco Grand Prix or the Paris Games Week. They have interviewed many CEOs like Xavier Niel, CEO of Free, or politicians, like the new French President François Hollande. They also have links with other campus radios and campus radios network in the world.
The CRGE members are for the Business Schools:
- Audencia : FM’Air
- ESC Grenoble : Micro-Ondes
- Rouen Business School : Rou’On Air
- Reims Management School : On AirMS
- Euromed Management : Dynam’hit
- IESEG School of Management : NePap Radio
- ESC Toulouse : CulturESC
- ESC Rennes : Descibel
- EM Strasbourg : EM Radio
- ESC Dijon : Dij’ital
- Iscool : Iscool
- EDHEC : On Air
- HEC : Hechoes - FMR
- ISC : Voice
- ESG : ESGMS Media
- INSEEC : Inseec’Ond
- ESC Clermont : Radio’Actif
- École des dirigeants et créateurs d'entreprise : Radio Ooh
- École de management de Normandie : L’Havrai Radio
- Bordeaux Ecole de Management : Start hit
- ESC Saint-Etienne : Propulsound Radio
- ESC Troyes : Radio Trente Troyes Tours
The CRGE Engineering Schools radios includes:
- Ponts et Chaussées : uPonts the air
- HEI : GB Radio
- INSA Toulouse : Radio Insa
- EPITA : Air Radio
- EFREI : Ready’O
- École centrale d'électronique : No Larsen
- ENSEA : Fuse
- École Centrale de Nantes : Nuclérez
- École polytechnique : X-Ray
- École centrale Paris : Radio Pi
- INSA Lyon : Gatsun
- INSA Rennes : Le Mégaphone
- Sup Info : Sup Radio
- ESTP : Radio ESTP
- ENSTA : Bruitage
The other member Grandes Ecoles radios are:
- Sciences Po : Radio Science Po
- ENS Lyon : TrENSistor
- École nationale supérieure d'architecture de Nancy : Radar
- ENS Cachan : WebRadio Cachanaise
- École normale supérieure (rue d'Ulm — Paris) : TrENSmission
- Université Paris-1 Panthéon-Sorbonne : Sorb’On Air
- Dauphine : Dauphine On Air
- Sciences Po Bordeaux : Radio Lado
- Sciences Po Aix : Sciences Po Hertz
- South Westfalia University of Applied Sciences, Meschede : radioFH! 94,7 MHz
PolyteXneio FM is the National Technical University of Athens Students' Radio Station. It is an open student project; its character is strictly non-profit and participation is free for any student of the NTUA.
- Pécsi Egyetemi Rádió (University Radio Pécs)
Community groups in India, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have been campaigning for permission to set up community radio (CR) radio stations since the late 1990s.
News, as of November 2006, has it that the India cabinet decided to grant permission to non-profit organizations and educational institutions to set up community radio stations. The cabinet decision will allow civil society and voluntary organizations, state agriculture universities and institutions, Krishi Vigyan Kendras or agricultural science centres, registered societies and autonomous boards and public trusts registered under Societies Act to start community radio stations. Broadcast Engineering Consultants of India is a government owned corporation that helps setup of Community FM radio stations in India.
Ravi Shankar Prasad, the then Minister for Information and Broadcasting in the government, told India's upper house of parliament the Rajya Sabha on December 22, 2003, that four organizations including Jammu University and Kashmir University were found ineligible for grant of license as per the laid down guidelines. The minister also ruled out any review of the policy despite limited response to the non-commercial, low-powered FM radio scheme which former information and broadcasting minister Sushma Swaraj had said would "revolutionize" radio broadcast in the country.
Radio enthusiast Alokesh Gupta saying: "The announcement of the Government was to have seen 1000 radio stations by December 2003. Instead administrative wrangling came in the way of implementing the project as colleges spent time running around for licenses and approval from four ministries — Home Affairs, Communications & Information & Broadcasting — as they took their time processing applications."
On February 2, 2004, Anna University in Chennai unveiled the country's first campus radio station, Anna FM. Radio Ujjas in Kutch (in the western state of Gujarat) is one such CR and gets its funding from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Central Government. Similarly a community based radio programme titled Panchayat Vani (People’s Voice) was recently broadcast on All India Radio (AIR), Darbhanga, Bihar. The campus radio station Gyanvaani has also been licensed.
Pune University is the first university in the state of Maharashtra to have an FM radio station. The University of Pune’s FM Radio inaugurated on May 1, 2005, has been named as Vidyavani. It covers a wide range of subjects, focusing specifically on the requirements of students of various departments and affiliated colleges. It reaches an area around the campus within eight-km radius.
Unsuccessful attempts have been also made to start CR without obtaining any permission. The small village of Orvakal in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh (South India) launched "Mana Radio" (Our Radio) in November 2002. This project run under the aegis of the Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty used a tiny transmitter that covered a radius of half a kilometer to enable rural women members of self-help groups. Four months later, officials from the Central Government brought in police to seize the equipment and declared the broadcasts illegal.
The Government policy to permit educational institutions to have their own FM Channels at low frequency levels emerged in mid December 2002, as a result of years of campaigning by activists and a strongly worded Supreme Court judgment directing the opening up of the airwaves.
A unique experiment in using media technologies, especially radio, for development and empowerment of marginalized, rural communities is the community radio initiative "Chalo Ho Gaon Mein" a programme that is broadcast once a week on AIR Daltonganj in the Palamu district of Jharkhand, eastern India. This radio programme is supported by the National Foundation for India and produced by Community representatives, of Alternative for India Development (AID), a non-governmental organization. School of Communication of Manipal also has its own campus radio.
According to the terms of the campus broad license, a number of aspects are disallowed from broadcasts. This includes anything that offends good taste or decency, contains criticism of friendly countries, contains an attack on religion, contains anything obscene, defamatory, false and suggestive innuendos and half truths, likely to encourage or incite violence, contains anything affecting the integrity of the nation, criticizes, maligns or slanders any individual in person, encourages superstition or blind belief, denigrates women, denigrates children, or presents or depicts or suggests as desirable the misuse of drugs, alcohol, narcotics, and tobacco.
Radio Syiar FM, Universitas Islam Negeri (UIN) Alauddin, Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia.
Is a campus (student) community base radio broadcasting system, originally it has a function as an engineering laboratory to train students in broadcast engineering skills, which are currently being sought to turn into a radio commercial for the students also can improve their skills in terms of broadcast management and broadcast business
ITTFM, Institute of Technology Tallaght, Tallaght, Co Dublin, Ireland
ITTFM is a college radio station that broadcasts twice a year on FM over Freshers Week and at the beginning of semester 2 each year. The station also streams their shows online live around the world and use live streaming during the year as an alternative to FM broadcasts. Many of the shows have won awards for their creativity. The shows range from music, informal chat, news and current affairs, with many people of the locality praising the station for its involvement in local affairs. The station is primarily run by students in the Creative Digital Media (CDM) course but is open to students of all disciplines. The station is largely self funding from sponsorships and usually have prizes to give away during broadcasts. The station is however forbidden from promoting alcohol or drug use. The station uses the tag line "Your Big, Little Station" associated with the size of the college and the scope of the work students undertake. The frequency of the station has changed many times over the years and is unknown for 2015.
Campus radio also exists in Israel, where several colleges, universities and high schools have successful programs. One of the most famous is Kol HaCampus (Voice of the Campus/Campus Voice), broadcast out of Tel Aviv on 106 MHz. More information can be found with the Israeli Broadcasting Authority. Another college radio station is the Hebrew University's in Jerusalem, broadcasting mostly indie and alternative music. In 2011 the Technion has joined these universities with a new campus radio station, Radio 1m.
- Radio WAU, the web radio of University of Salento
- Radio 6023 (operated by University of Eastern Piedmont)
- radioeco.it, the web radio of the University of Pisa
- RadioBue.it, the web radio of the University of Padua
- radiobocconi.it, Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi di Milano
- Radio Catt (operated by Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore)
- FuoriAulaNetwork, Università degli Studi di Verona
- Sanbaradio.it, the web radio of the University of Trento
- UCampus, the web radio of the University of Pavia
- Unica Radio, the web radio of the University's Students of Cagliari
- Radio Urca - Urbino Radio Campus 
- Radio Monash (operated by Monash University Malaysia)
- Wings Radio (operated by Limkokwing University of Creative Technology)
- RMMU (operated by Multimedia University)
- IIUM FM (operated by International Islamic University Malaysia)
- UFM (operated by Universiti Teknologi MARA)
- Putra FM (operated by Universiti Putra Malaysia)
- iRadio OUM (operated by Open University Malaysia)
- UMS KKFM (operated by Universiti Malaysia Sabah
- WINTI (operated by INTI International University & Colleges)
- MyUFM (operated by Universiti Teknologi MARA (Terengganu))
- Human FM, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington
- MUNTfm, Massey University, Wellington
- Radio One, University of Otago, Dunedin
- RDU, University of Canterbury, Christchurch
- Radio Control, Massey University, Palmerston North
- Contact FM, University of Waikato, Hamilton
- 95bFM, University of Auckland, Auckland
- The VBC, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington
- Static FM, AUT, Auckland
- Abuja - University of Abuja, Abuja
- Akwa Ibom - Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic, Ikot Osurua, UNIUYO100.7FM,University of Uyo, Uyo, HERITAGE104.9 FM (Heritage Polytechnic), Eket
- Anambra - UNIZIK94.1FM, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, MADONNA93.4FM, Madonna University (Ihiala), Okija
- Cross River - Cross River State University of Science and Technology, Ogoja
- Edo - HILLSIDE94.1FM, Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi, Igbinedion University, Okada
- Enugu - CARITAS98.7FM, Caritas University, Enugu, University of Nigeria, Nsukka
- Kaduna - Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Kaduna Polytechnic, Kaduna, National Teachers Institute, Kaduna
- Kano - Bayero University, Kano
- Kwara State - UNILORIN89.3FM, University of Ilorin, Ilorin
- Lagos - NOUN105.9FM, National Open University of Nigeria Victoria Island, UNILAG103.1FM, University of Lagos Akoka, Lagos State University, Ojo 95.7FM
- Niger - Search FM 92.3, Federal University of Technology, Minna
- Ogun - Babcock University, Ilesan-Remo, Hebron 95.9 FM, Covenant University, Canaanland
- Ondo - FUTA93.1FM, Federal University of Technology, Akure
- Osun - Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
- Oyo - DIAMOND101.1FM, University of Ibadan, Ibadan
- Plateau - University of Jos, Jos
- Rivers - Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt
- Sokoto - Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto
- Hurradio, Tromsø
- Radio Nova, Oslo
- Radio Revolt, Trondheim
- SmiS Radio, Stavanger
- Studentradioen i Bergen, Bergen
- Studentradioen i Kristiansand, Kristiansand
- Volda Studentradio, Volda
- Gjøvik Studentradio, Gjøvik
- Narvik Studentradio, Narvik
- Ventus Studentradio, Bodø
- SMIU FM 96.6 LISTEN LIVE 24/7 The Voice OF Education (Sindh Madressatul Islam University)
- Campus Voice Fm 106.6* University Of Gujrat
- Radio Kinnaird 97.6 FM (Kinnaird College for Women, Lahore)
- Radio IBA (Institute of Business Administration Karachi)
- Karachi university campus radio FM 90.6 (University of Karachi)
- University of Gujrat Campus Radio UOG Community radio 106.6
- 24/7 An Educational Radio Network By SZABIST Karachi, larkana ZAB FM 106.6 "Education On Air"
- Radio Meteor (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan)
- Radio Afera (Poznan University of Technology)
- Students Radio Żak (Lodz University of Technology)
- Akademickie Radio LUZ (Wroclaw University of Technology)
- Radio Akadera (Technical University of Bialystok)
- Radio Index (University of Zielona Góra)
- Radio Sfera UMK (Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun)
- UJOT.FM (Jagiellonian University)
In Portugal, there are several college and university radio stations continuously broadcasting programs. Rádio Universidade de Coimbra and Rádio Universidade Marão, founded in 1986, are the oldest university student radio stations in the country still in operation. There are also many online-only radio sites belonging to higher education institutions.
Portugal's major college and university radio stations include:
- Rádio Universidade de Coimbra (University of Coimbra)
- Rádio Universitária da Beira Interior (University of Beira Interior)
- Rádio Universitária do Algarve (University of the Algarve)
- Rádio Universitária do Minho (Minho University)
- Rádio Zero (Instituto Superior Técnico)
- Universidade FM (former Rádio Universidade Marão) (Trás-os-Montes and Alto-Douro University)
There are one student radio station each for the three universities of Singapore, namely Singapore Management University, National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University. Some polytechnics have their own student radio stations, namely Singapore Polytechnic and Ngee Ann Polytechnic.
- SMU Campus Radio, Singapore Management University
- SPACEradio, Singapore Polytechnic
- Radio Fusion, Nanyang Technological University
- Radio Heatwave, Ngee Ann Polytechnic
- Radio Pulze, National University of Singapore
Student radio has been broadcast in Sweden since the beginning of 1980. Among the first, and still active stations were Studentradion 98,9 in Uppsala and Radio AF in Lund. It is common among the older student radio stations to broadcast both on FM and the web.
Studentradion i Sverige is a cooperation organization for the studentradion stations in Sweden, they have nine member stations.
- Studentradion i Sverige
- Radio AF in Lund
- Radio AFB
- Studentradion 98,9 in Uppsala
- K103 in Gothenburg
- PiteFM in Piteå
- Radio Campus in Örebro
Fréquence banane is the student radio of the University of Lausanne (UNIL) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), in Lausanne (Lausanne campus). It exists since 1993 and is broadcasting on the internet and CATV network on FM 94.55 MHz in Lausanne and region. In the past Fréquence banane has broadcast with former Radio Acidule from 1992 to 1996 and then had its independent FM transmitter operating on 92.4 MHz from 1998 to 2005. In 2005, Swiss frequency regulation authority (BAKOM) decided to end the low power FM licence.
Radio Radius is an uprising campus radio in Zurich on ETHZ and UNIZH campus. It's broadcasting on the Internet only. Radius is trying to get a permanent licence to broadcast on FM but it is very hard in Zurich. Right now Radius is negotiating with BAKOM.
- Radyo Bilkent on Bilkent University
- Radyo Çankaya on Çankaya University
- KU Radyo on Koç University
- RadyoSU on Sabancı University
- Radyo ODTÜ on Middle East Technical University
- ÇOMÜ Kampüs FM on Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University
In the United Kingdom, campus radio is generally referred to as 'student radio'. University of Hertfordshire's Crush Radio (formerly Campus Radio Hatfield) was the first student radio founded in 1960, though it was a pirate radio radio station, followed by the first legal student radio station, University Radio York (formerly Radio Heslington), founded in 1967, followed closely by Swansea University's radio station Action Radio (today called Xtreme Radio) in 1968 and Air3 Radio from Stirling University in 1970 (formerly University Radio Airthrey) and University of Essex's University Radio Essex in 1971.
Some student radio stations operate on the FM waveband for short periods at a time under the Restricted Service Licence scheme, while others choose to broadcast full-time on the AM waveband using an LPAM licence. There are only five UK student radio stations permitted to broadcast all year on LPFM. These are Xpression FM (Exeter), Radio Roseland (Truro, Cornwall), Storm FM (Bangor), Bailrigg FM (Lancaster) and 1386 HCR (Halesowen College) . None of these licences provides for a reception area greater than four kilometres from the point of transmission. To counteract these licence restrictions and, in the case of AM broadcasts, poor quality audio, many radio stations simulcast on the Internet.
The UK Student Radio Association works on behalf of more than fifty UK-based member radio stations to further their development, encourage and facilitate communication between member radio stations and links to the commercial radio industry, and lobby for the membership's interests on both a regional and national level. The association organises and hosts the annual Student Radio Awards in conjunction with BBC Radio 1.
College radio (as it is generally known in the United States) became commonplace in the 1960s when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) began issuing class D licenses for ten-watt radio stations to further the development of the then new FM band. Some colleges had already been broadcasting for decades on the AM band, often originating in physics experiments in the early 20th century.
One of the first college radio stations in the country is WRUC from Union College in Schenectady, New York. Its first experimental broadcasts under the call sign 2ADD were in 1920. WHUS, (the UConn HUSkies), the radio station of the University of Connecticut went on the air as WABL, a 100-watt AM radio station, in 1922 with two 103-foot (31 m) steel towers serving as the radio station's antennae. In 1925 power increased to 500-watts and the call letters changed to WCAC (Connecticut Agricultural College, at that time the name of the university). Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida started WDBO (Way Down By Orlando) in 1924. WDBO was given away by Rollins College in 1926. College radio returned to Rollins College when the FM radio station, WPRK began broadcasting on December 10, 1952.
Most of the FM radio stations received higher-class licenses than ten watts, typically a few hundred watts. A few got several kilowatts, and a small handful got licenses in the range of tens of thousands, sometimes reaching up to maximum-power 100-kilowatt outlets. WRAS 88.5 FM and WREK 91.1 FM in Atlanta are the most powerful college radio station, operating at 100,000 watts. Still, due to strict class D regulations, some radio stations were prohibited from a wattage upgrade for possible signal interference with adjacent radio stations, such as KWUR 90.3 FM interfering with KWMU 90.7 FM in St. Louis, Missouri. KTUH 90.3 FM in Honolulu, Hawaii has had many increases in its wattage since they started broadcasting at 10 watts as a Non-commercial educational FM radio station in 1969. In 1984 KTUH received permission from the Board of Regents to increase to 100 watts of power. More recently, in 2001, KTUH began transmitting at 3000 watts of power. KTUH is heard on 3 frequencies in Honolulu, 90.3 FM, 91.3 FM and 89.9 FM, as well as online at KTUH.ORG and on digital cable channel 866.
The earliest college radio stations carried news, intercollegiate sports, and music along with educational shows and sometimes distance learning courses. In the latter portion of the 20th century, many U.S. radio stations played what came to be known as "college rock" (later known as alternative rock), a type of rock music that had not yet hit the mainstream. Most radio stations have now diversified, with many following a very commercial-like music rotation during the weekdays, and having specialty shows on evenings and weekends. A few radio stations still employ a Freeform programming.
College radio stations are typically considered to be public radio radio stations in the way that they are funded by donation and grants, but as a radio format the term "Public radio" generally refers to classical music, jazz, and news. A more accurate term is community radio, as most staff are volunteers, although many radio stations limit staff to current or recent students instead of anyone from the local community.
By the late 1970s, FM had taken off, and competition for channels for new radio stations was intensifying. The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the newly founded National Public Radio (NPR) convinced the FCC that local low-power radio stations were somehow detrimental to broadcasting, and class D licenses were no longer issued for applications made after 1979, except for broadcast translators to repeat NAB and NPR members' radio stations. Making matters worse for the college stations, they were demoted to secondary status, meaning that they could be forced to downgrade or go silent if a full-power station chose to upgrade or to relocate closer to the college station.
Many radio stations were forced to upgrade their facilities at considerable expense. Many other radio stations were eventually forced off the air, because they could not afford the upgrades at all, or not in time to avoid being locked in by other expanding radio stations.
There have also been situations where some college radio stations have been forced off the air either temporarily or permanently by the school's administration.
Many college radio stations in the U.S. also carry syndicated programming, such as that of National Public Radio and affiliated regional networks. Some radio stations have had student programming taken off the air by the administration in favor of other uses, such as WWGC and KTXT. The original WGST was the subject of an involuntary takeover which saw the state's board of regents sell the radio station as "surplus" property.
A few radio stations have been added to the airwaves as the result of LPFM licensing in the U.S. One example of a Campus Radio station licensed as an LPFM is WIUX-LP of Indiana University, which is able to cover the entire city with its LPFM signal and is competitive in listenership numbers to nearby higher-powered commercial radio stations.
A number of campus radio stations in the US are available using alternate means such as streaming audio over the Internet. One such example is DePaul University. Some radio stations use a variety of methods, such as Lewis University's WLRA (The Start) and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's WIKD-LP who use terrestrial FM, streaming, and mobile media apps. Michigan State University's WDBM ("The Impact"), University of Minnesota's KUOM ("Radio K"), Northern Kentucky University's WNKU, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison's WSUM. All three radio stations broadcast traditionally and via online streaming internet radio.
- High school radio
- Indie radio
- List of campus radio stations
- Low-power broadcasting
- Modern rock (Alternative radio)
- UK Student Radio Association
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