We love: WNUR
We don't love the annoyingly obscure playlists.
At 7,200 watts (that’s more than WXRT, Q101 and 97.9-FM the Loop), Northwestern’s WNUR uses one of the most powerful transmitters of any university in the nation. We love the crisp, clear signal, and the school is a farm for media personalities, but most of the skronk the DJs play sounds like a toddler beating a guitar against an electrical transformer. Do the playlists on 89.3-FM have to be so willfully difficult? We’re not looking for middle-of-the-road, just some middle ground. Commercial radio plays such a slick, slim selection, there’s plenty of accessible music left for the underground. A good start would be spinning records from the CMJ charts—an industry poll of collegiate playlists. Station manager Doug Kaplan disagrees. “Everything in the CMJ top 50 is getting a good amount of press already,” he says. “We showcase an American roots block and much more. We are really trying to broadcast all kinds of underrepresented music.” True, but the awkward silences and rookie miscues of student DJs would be more endearing in between songs that make you snap your fingers.
In the meantime Listen to Loyola’s WLUW (88.7-FM) for some slightly less obscure tunes—if you can find its measly 100 watts on the dial.