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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 station is based. Sometimes campus stations are operated for the purpose of training professional radio personnel, sometimes with the aim of broadcasting educational programming, while other stations exist to provide an alternative to commercial or government broadcasters.

Campus radio stations are generally licensed and regulated by national governments, and so have very different characteristics from one country to the next. One commonality between many 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 format is best described as a freeform radio format, with a lot of creativity and individualism among the disc jockeys and show hosts. A number of these 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 stations experiment with low-power broadcasting, closed circuit or carrier current systems, often to on-campus listeners only. Some stations are distributed through the cable television network on cable FM or the second audio program of a TV 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 format significantly from licensed traditional campus radio.

Campus radio around the world



In Canadamarker, radio stations are regulated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) which provides that "a campus radio station is a 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 format is the predominant one, colloquially known as "campus-community radio." In recent years, some community-based campus radio stations, including CFFF-FM in Peterboroughmarker and CJMQ-FM in Sherbrookemarker, 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 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.

The first licensed community-based campus radio station was CKCU-FM, based at Carleton Universitymarker in Ottawamarker, 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 Universitymarker in Kingstonmarker 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 stations must follow in order to keep broadcasting. Campus 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. In early 2005, Humber Collegemarker's radio station CKHC-FM became the first broadcast station in Canada to air 100% Canadian content. Other requirements generally made of campus 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.

See also List of campus radio stations in Canada.


IASTAR (International Association of Student Television And Radio) is the French student radios association.

The IASTAR radio stations include:


Community groups in India, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have been campaigning for permission to set up community radio (CR) stations since the late nineties. But the government, particularly under the earlier Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), allowed the setting up of campus radio stations by educational institutions.

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.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, the then Minister for Information and Broadcasting in the BJP-lead National Democratic Alliance 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 Universitymarker in Chennaimarker unveiled the country's first campus radio station, Anna FM. Radio Ujjas in Kutch (in the western state of Gujaratmarker) 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), Darbhangamarker, Biharmarker. The campus station Gyanvaani has also been licensed.

Pune University is the first university in the state of Maharashtramarker to have an FM 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 Kurnoolmarker district of Andhra Pradeshmarker (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 Courtmarker 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 Daltonganjmarker in the Palamu district of Jharkhandmarker, 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.

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.


Campus radio also exists in Israelmarker, 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 Avivmarker on 106 MHz. More information can be found with the Israeli Broadcasting Authority. Another college radio station is the HebrewItaly University's in Jerusalemmarker, broadcasting mostly indie and alternative music.


Radio Bocconi [68264] Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi di Milano




In Portugalmarker, 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:


Fréquence Banane is the student radio in Lausannemarker on EPFLmarker and UNILmarker 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 Frequence 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 ETHZmarker and UNIZHmarker 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.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdommarker, campus radio is generally referred to as Student Radio. University of Hertfordshire's Crush Radio was the first student radio founded in 1960 followed by University Radio York, founded in 1967, and Swansea University's station Action Radio (today called Xtreme Radio) in 1968.

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 three UK student radio stations permitted to broadcast all year on LPFM. These are Xpression FM (Exetermarker), Storm FM (Bangormarker) and Bailrigg FM (Lancastermarker). 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 stations simulcast on the Internet.

The UK Student Radio Association works on behalf of more than fifty UK-based member stations to further their development, encourage and facilitate communication between member 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.

See also List of radio stations in the United Kingdom

United States

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 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 Collegemarker in Schenectady, New Yorkmarker. Its first experimental broadcasts under the call sign 2ADD were in 1920.

Most of the FM 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. Still, due to strict class D regulations, some stations were prohibited from a wattage upgrade for possible signal interference with adjacent stations, such as KWUR 90.3 FM interfering with KWMUmarker 90.7 FM in St. Louis, Missourimarker.

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. 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 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 stations really go out on a limb, occasionally being described as a cacophony of randomness.

College stations are typically considered to be public radio stations in they 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 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 stations was intensifying. The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the newly-founded National Public Radio (NPR) convinced the FCC that local low-power 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' stations. Making matters worse, the stations were demoted to a second-class status, meaning that they would be forced off the air if any full-power station wanted their space.

Many stations were forced to upgrade their facilities at considerable expense to the students. Many other stations were eventually (and still continue to be) 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 stations.

There have also been situations where some college radio stations have been forced off the air by a school administration. In one instance, the student media director of WUSC-FM in Columbia, South Carolinamarker implied that the station's broadcast license had been "flagged" by the FCC due to an out of control staff and inappropriate songs being played on public airwaves. This serious charge proved to be false, but it led directly to WUSC, which had been named as 1992 Spin College Radio Station of the Year, being shut down in 1995. The entire executive board of the station (students elected by their peers) was fired for supposedly promoting a culture of irresponsibility. This caused most student DJs to quit in protest. After silence for 45 days, WUSC came back - but it had abandoned its popular alternative music format, playing songs it never allowed before. As a result, College Music Journal and the now-defunct Gavin Report dropped WUSC as a reporter of new music they played on air.

Many college stations in the U.S. also carry syndicated programming, such as that of National Public Radio and affiliated regional networks. Some stations have had their student programming forced off the air and taken for other uses, such as WWGC and KTXT. The original WGSTmarker was the subject of an involuntary takeover which saw the state's board of regents sell the station out from under Georgia Tech as "surplus" property.

A very few stations have been added to the airwaves in very isolated cities with the return of the LPFM license to the U.S. The restrictions that the U.S. Congress placed on LPFM stations as a result of the NAB's misleading lobbying have seriously limited the effectiveness of this, however. HD Radio also also creates RF interference which LPFM stations cannot object to, and which they cannot convert to themselves because it is cost-prohibitive even for many commercial radio stations.

A number of college stations have been shut out of traditional broadcasting methods and are available only as streaming audio over the Internet. Some stations use a variety of methods, such as Michigan State Universitymarker's WDBMmarker ("The Impact") and Northern Kentucky Universitymarker's WNKUmarker. Both stations broadcast traditionally, as well as in HD, and via online streaming.




See also


  1. [1]
  2. CRTC Campus Radio Policy
  3. Mt. Scopus Radio
  4. [2]
  5. [3]
  6. [4]
  7. [5]
  8. [6]
  9. [7]
  10. [8]
  11. [9]
  12. Frequence Banane website
  13. Radio Radius website
  15. [10]

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