You Heard It Here First
Atlanta's airwaves are rich with the eclectic sounds of college radio.
When college students select the tunes, it's likely to yield something you've never heard before. Atlanta listeners are lucky to live and drive in a town particularly rich with college radio - which means playlists you'll never find on commercial airwaves.
Jazz. Electronica. Spoken word. Blues. Brand new rock 'n roll. And best of all, homegrown artists who get their fist airplay when students give them a spin or invite them into the studio for a live show.
"You don't hear Indian music or Jewish music, old-style classic country on mainstream radio," said Brad Petrick, station manager at Georgia Tech's WREK. "We offer big band jazz, cocktail music, different genres that mainstream radio - anything above 92 on the FM dial - won't touch with a 10-foot pole."
The region's college stations have a long history of setting trends and supporting local artists. The University of Georgia's 90.5 FM was the first to broadcast R.E.M. Clark Atlanta is legendary among jazz fans for its Jazz in the City station. Locals and legends alike stop by the station for interviews.
Student-programmed stations are willing to broadcast music that isn't guaranteed to please. They try tracks that are off the beaten track. Sometimes, they are in the vanguard of emerging musical trends, such as the beginning of alternative rock.
Today, college radio is the last refuge of alternative. Georgia State's WRAS gives a nod to this idea with the tagline "Left on the Dial, Right on the Music." Like WREK, WRAS has been introducing Atlanta listeners to new artists from around the world and from down the street for decades.
Internet radio: a mic and a mixing board
When Clayton State University flipped the switch in 2008 to launch Clayton State Internet Radio, it was not alone. A few months earlier, SCAD-Atlanta Radio had set up shop in cyberspace. Southern Polytechnic's WGHR has been reincarnated as a student-run Internet station, and University of West Georgia added WOLF Internet Radio in 2010.
"With the technology today, a lot more universities can start up a college station," Petrick said, praising neighboring SCAD-Atlanta for losing no time taking to the "airwaves" after opening its Atlanta campus. "It doesn't take a lot to buy a microphone and a computer and a mixing board, and there you are -- you've got a college radio station."
Will competition from non-college Internet or satellite radio mean listeners don't need college radio any more? You can't get Internet radio in you car yet, Petrick noted. And there's a special touch to locally programmed radio, selected to surprise your ears and open your mind to new sounds.
Tune in. You never know what you might hear.
Browse your way to an incredible range of musical styles. Eleven ARCHE members host student-run radio for the campus and the community at large. You can listen to most online with the links below.
Eclectic FM 89.1
Jazz of the City, FM 91.9
Clayton State University
Clayton State Internet Radio
Georgia Institute of Technology
WREK, FM 91.1
Georgia State University
WRAS Album 88, FM 88.5
Kennesaw State University
KSU Owl Radio (online)
Savannah College of Art and Design-Atlanta
SCAD-Atlanta Radio (online)
Southern Polytechnic State University
WGHR Internet radio
University of Georgia
WUOG, 90.5 FM
University of West Georgia
WUWG 89.3 FM
WOLF Internet Radio
In the early 1930s Oglethorpe University attracted widespread attention with its University of the Air. This notable experiment broadcast college-credit courses for about five years.