If there is a heart and soul of independent music, it is college and community radio stations. Many of these stations are student-run, with dozens of DJs who are passionate about discovering and sharing music. You’ll find some of the biggest champions of independent artists on these stations; students who are willing to get up at 3am every week and walk to the campus station to host their show.
Typically underfunded, these stations have radio shows throughout the day and night, drawing thousands of listeners at any given time. According to a Billboard article, Emerson College’s Boston-area WERS draws 175,000 listeners each week. When you consider that there are hundreds of college and community radio stations, millions of listeners across the US tune are reached by these non-commercial stations.
Outside of colleges and universities, you find community radio giving a voice to local residents, from sports shows or genre specific shows, to live performances. College and community radio range from high power (usually FM) to 100 Watt Low Power and Internet (LP) stations, either reaching the campus or a larger metropolis. Most of these stations stream their radio online, so their reach is far beyond their community.
Over 200 stations send weekly airplay reports to North American College and Community Radio Chart (NACC Chart). When you look at the chart, you quickly find that the College and Community Radio provides a voice for artists who would not find a place on Top 40 Radio. You’ll hear bands like TOPS, Waxahatchee, Passion Pit, and Hazel English on their NACC 200 chart. Other NACC Charts: Non-Comm, NEXT, Canadian, Electronic, Jazz, Hip Hop, R&B/Soul, Heavy, Folk, World, Latin, Blues & Chill. Listen to NACC’s College Radio Weekly Highlights playlist on Spotify to hear some of the artists receiving airplay this week.
In many ways, College and Community Radio is similar to the 1950s and 1960s DJs and stations, when passionate DJs heavily influenced who charted. Today’s independent record labels depend heavily on College and Community Radio to market their music.
Puddlegum’s College and Community Radio Stations Map
Puddlegum compiled a College and Community Radio Stations map of over 360 radio stations in North America. College Radio stations are broken down by region, so you can show or hide a region. These regions are: Midwest, Southeast, Northeast, Southwest, West, Canadia, Non-Continental. I also have two non-College Radio segments: Community Radio and Internet Radio.
Each colored dot on the map represents a radio station. Clicking on a station will reveal information about the station, provided by Google (we have also added details to some of the stations). Slide open the menu on the left (the button is next to the map name) and you can show/hide map segments. Select the full-window button to open the map in a new tab.
Note: not all of these stations report to NACC Charts (I don’t have access to that information.)
Please support these stations. Call in, tweet the DJs during their shows, donate if you can, and attend their events and festivals. Artists, send your music to their Music Director (be sure to visit the station’s website for their submission policy).
Contribute To This Map
Even with 360+ stations on this map, we realize this map is incomplete. So we’re asking you to help us fill in what we’re missing. Is a station no longer on air? Please let us know.
Community Radio and Internet Radio stations are not represented as well on this map, so please help us correct that.
Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org