Listen Online to Streaming College Radio Stations

Are you alarmed by the Clear Channel Communications stronghold on radio stations? Tired of listening to revolving playlists featuring requisite Kelly Clarkson songs every hour? It’s time to let your music tastes be influenced by dorm rooms instead of board rooms. No matter where you live, you can ensure a more diverse music experience by tuning into a streaming college radio station. Because many schools broadcast over the internet through various streaming audio formats, you’re not limited to college radio stations in your immediate area. Branch out and explore a different part of the country (and some alternative music styles) through the eyes – err, ears – of amateur college DJs. Listening online to streaming college radio stations is a cheap, adventurous way to expose yourself to new artists and non-mainstream tunes while socking it to the suits at corporate radio stations.

Based on my experience, here are some of the most entertaining college radio stations that offer live streams of their programming over the internet. [Please note that I have not included public radio stations that are affiliated with universities. While those are great places for NPR programs and I fully support them, they do not provide the conventional, music-focused “college radio” experience I am profiling here.]

California Polytechnic State University (or just “Cal Poly”)
91.3 KCPR
Listen online at:
Without a doubt, KCPR is one of the best college radio stations around. They live up to the claim in their philosophy statement that “programs on KCPR attempt to open local minds to alternative points of view and provide diversity on the airwaves.” Of course, it’s not just folks in San Luis Obispo they’re influencing, thanks to the joy of streaming college radio. On air since 1968, KCPR offers a wild mix of programs by student DJs and the occasional faculty member (like an English professor who calls himself Disgusting Old Hippie and hosts a weekly show on acoustic jazz). The schedule is packed with round-the-clock programming, making this one of the few streaming college radio stations with a true 24-hour slate. KCPR’s website is also tops – it’s easy to use because it provides in-depth descriptions of DJs and their shows so you know exactly when to tune in and what to expectâÂ?¦but not in that Clear Channel way!

University of Alaska – Fairbanks
91.5 KSUA
Listen online at:
North to Alaska! Along with Cal Poly’s operation, the University of Alaska at Fairbanks has one of the best college radio stations with streaming audio. I especially laud their clever format: the schedule is separated into dayshift shows and evening shows. From about 6am to 6pm, DJs play a hodgepodge of stuff, melding the station’s own playlist with requests and personal favorites. This is an incredible way to introduce yourself to new music and get a snapshot of the college radio genre at its best. It’s like a plateful of appetizers, so if you don’t like a track, just wait five minutes and you can consume something markedly different. After 6pm, KSUA kicks into specialty mode, with shows centering on specific styles or artists so that hosts can display their knowledge and educate listeners about their niche. As a side note, remember that Alaska is probably several hours behind you depending upon your location

New Mexico State University
91.5 KRUX
Listen online at:
Whenever I tune into KRUX, it seems like I catch something upbeat, catchy, and in Spanish/Spanglish, even though they play plenty of tracks from the college radio charts (which are usually English-dominated). Based in Las Cruces, New Mexico, this streaming college radio station draws on its diverse student body – many of whom have a proud Mexican or other Latino heritage. KRUX has a sharp-looking website, except that it’s less user-friendly for accessing details on programming. That said, they live up to their tagline: “the cutting edge of college radio.” I can say for sure that I have heard things here that I wouldn’t have heard elsewhere.

Milwaukee School of Engineering
91.7 WMSE
Listen online at:
I live in Milwaukee and frequently walk by the station headquarters, a modest little building in the sleepy downtown. For a tiny engineering school, MSOE has one helluva solid college radio station. For a city of Milwaukee’s size, we have very few stations that challenge convention, so WMSE fills a huge void, as evidenced by their ever-present bumper stickers. Their website could be improved, but as of February 2006, WMSE is fundraising to build a better online presence. WMSE staff remind you that “top does not mean pop,” and invite you to check out the staff recommendations. I’ve also begun to explore the blues as a genre through WMSE programming, something I probably wouldn’t have done without college radio.

North Dakota State University
105.9 KNDS
Listen online at:
Thunder Radio, based in Fargo, is proof that there is diversity in North Dakota – at least musically. Although they are new to the college radio scene – with a first broadcast in 2004 – KNDS has proven its worthiness. It’s clear that the DJs are still developing their styles and the station is molding an identity, but the amateur feel and pioneering spirit is all part of the college radio experience. The schedule is not full, but the daytime and evening slots are well-stocked with student DJs who are clearly having fun and eager to promote alternative music to North Dakota and beyond.

Lehigh University
91.3 WLVR
Listen online at:
If my college friends knew that I occasionally listened to Lehigh’s streaming college radio station, I’d experience some ribbing, as I went to Lafayette College – THE rival school in Bethlehem, PA. But I must give credit where credit is due: Lehigh has a great lineup of programs, and it’s only off the air for a few hours each night. And once you identify a program you like, you can always see if old shows are in the archives. WLVR is proud of how involved its students are in the management of the station, especially considering that Lehigh is such a rigorous school academically.

To locate even more college radio stations with a streaming presence, use

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