What's your favorite radio station, past or present?
Brown University used to have the most kickass college radio station — 95.5 WBRU. It claims to have been the first college radio station in the country. In the mid-late 80's – early 90's, it was how I learned about punk, indie, and hardcore, and the world beyond bland pop music. Old timers tell me it was even better in the early 80's. They played unproven indie music, b-sides, bootlegs and live shows, boosted emerging small niche talent, and hosted great concerts and ticket giveaways. I used to tape stuff off of 'BRU all the time, especially their "A to Z" memorial day weekend thing. Nabbed lots of REM bootleg material one summer. On Sundays BRU switched over to the "360 degree black experience in sound," which would be great if it was hip-hop but it was usually quiet storm/R and B crocka. It looks like their playlist is more hip-hop oriented now.
Eventually, as the market around the "alternative" format leeched college radio, I feel like BRU became just another alternastation. By the time I moved away from their listening area, around 1993, it had gotten pretty commersh.
According to Wikipedia, "WBRU-FM is one of the few college radio stations that operates on a commercial
basis. WBRU receives no funding from Brown University, while still
being staffed by Brown students. There are several professional staff
members who work with the students, but the station is jointly governed
by a body called the Station Membership, which consists only of student
members, and a Board of Directors, chiefly made up of station alumni
along with the student General Manager."
Staff alums include Chris Berman and Christiane Amanpour.
Here's a whole mess of WBRU history.