Best Radio Station

KUSF-FM (90.3)

In the future, all radio stations will be college radio stations. Their playlists will consist of a schizophrenic pastiche of synthesized show tunes and Cistercian chants; DJ patter will lean toward pranky irreverence and away from shticky polish. Until then we have KUSF, the tiny station broadcast out of the Jesuit University of San Francisco. Though it is nominally a college radio station, programs are largely run by a cadre of community radio hacks who earned their grooves during college radio's 1970s and '80s heyday. "We play insane, crazy, widely varied music, which isn't played on anything except for other college radio stations that don't get near the audience we get because you can't pick it up outside of dorms," says KUSF DJ Ted Dively, whose show plays Wednesdays from 6 to 10 a.m. "You hear new-music programming, which encompasses everything from altcountry rock to wiggy hip hop to punk rock to crazy orchestral and jazz music. We do what we call "sound collage madness,' where we play all kinds of music, sample all kinds of things, cut it up, and create new stuff out of old stuff. I've been known to play Orson Welles doing a reading of Thomas Paine over the top of Tipsy, which is a local crazy, quasi-ultra-lounge thing." While the station has won a passel of broadcasting awards, the staff members are particularly proud of a National Association of College Broadcasters prize for an April Fools' Day spoof they did a few years ago in which they pretended for a full day to be a tacky Top 40 commercial radio station. Given KUSF's generous signal and fortuitous setting in USF's hilltop Lone Mountain neighborhood, you don't have to live in a dorm room to luxuriate in the stylings of Dively and his ilk. Who needs the future?

 
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