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date: 19 February 2020

Radio, collegelocked

  • Laura B. Schnitker


A type of radio station operating on a college or university campus that is run by students. Although such stations did not achieve prominent status in the music industry until the late 1970s, when they became stages for up-and-coming artists, college radio is one of the older types of broadcasting in the United States.

The first educational station in the United States was probably WHA at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, which started broadcasting in 1917 as 9XM. After World War I, about 200 broadcasting licenses were granted to educational institutions, which primarily used them as experimental and technical training facilities. Those that later became known as college radio were the stations run mainly by and for students. By this definition, some credit Haverford University with having the first college station because its students built a station in 1923 and by 1926 were broadcasting with nearly 1000 watts.

The rise of national networks in commercial broadcasting, increased competition for frequencies, and the high cost of operations resulted in the loss of all but the most dedicated college stations; by ...

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