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DJs Peisin Yang (19, major undeclared, below left), Garrett Brooks (19, advertising, below right). (Photograph by Laura Barisonzi) DJs Peisin Yang (19, major undeclared, below left), Garrett Brooks (19, advertising, below right).

From Dylan to Deval

Listen up! some of the best College radio shows in the country are right here.

By Jenara Gardner, Emma Johnson, and Erich Schwartzel
November 2, 2008
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THE SHOW The Rundown, politics and sports on Fridays from 2 to 4 p.m.

THE STATION WMFO at Tufts University, 95.1 FM and wmfo.org

LISTEN UP DJ Teddy Minch (above) plays referee on his fast-paced, passionate show. For the first hour, he moderates a debate between campus Democrats and Republicans over the previous week's political touchdowns and fumbles; the show then shifts to analysis of the week's news in professional and college sports. Be prepared for a hearty dose of bro banter between the sports analysts, the same student crew that announces Tufts home games.

THE VOICE Minch, a 21-year-old junior majoring in political science, has a level of confidence and comfort behind the mike that is rare among student DJs. His personality and chemistry with his co-anchors keep the show animated and engaging while dealing with polarizing and demanding topics, like who's really to blame for the Cubs' abysmal performance in the playoffs or the comeback attempt of shooting guard Allan Houston in the NBA.

ALSO ON WMFO Pachy Jams, with a long playlist of local and national jam bands, airs from 4 to 6 p.m. on Sundays. -- J.G.

THE SHOW The TV Set, music from television and movies on Saturdays from 2 to 4 p.m.

THE STATION Internet-only BIRN 1 at Berklee College of Music, thebirn.com

LISTEN UP Like a good television show, movie, or commercial, The TV Set knows its demographic. Playing background music from TV and films -- a tune from Forgetting Sarah Marshall, a song from the previous week's episode of Bones -- the show is the ultimate in underground hipster listening. It's the perfect soundtrack for a Saturday afternoon spent avoiding homework -- or any work.

THE VOICE Director Christine Morris, 21, a senior at Berklee majoring in music education and conducting, never breaks the relaxed atmosphere when she interrupts the music programming to identify a song in her listeners' pop-culture index.

ALSO ON BIRN The web-only radio station actually has five channels, each focusing on a different aspect of Berklee life, from campus concerts and clinics to broadcasting music by alums. -- J.G.

THE SHOW Literary Lyricisms: The Symphonic Poem, music inspired by other works of art, Wednesdays from 6 to 7 p.m.

THE STATION WHRB at Harvard University, 95.3 FM and whrb.org

LISTEN UP DJ Richard Luedeman's show of classical compositions inspired by a painting, a novel, or a play tracks the evolution of the classical symphonic poem -- or, if you're funky, the "tone poem." He plans a roughly chronological format for the show, with choices entering the 20th century as the semester progresses. But, really, he could keep going. Eugene O'Neill clearly begat Amy Winehouse's "Rehab." And Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun"? That's practically the CliffsNotes for Madame Bovary. THE VOICE Luedeman, 20, is a sophomore from Florida studying government whose on-air banter could double as a thesis defense. He's the product of childhood piano lessons and high school theory classes but has enough skills to comfortably call Franz Liszt the toniest of tone poets.

ALSO ON WHRB This hallowed hall frequency has a great deal of music programming, including the ironic Hillbilly at Harvard country show (Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.), but don't miss January's WHRB Orgy -- the hourslong themed music marathon that supposedly started in 1943, when a WHRB student staffer played all nine of Beethoven's symphonies back to back. -- E.S.

THE SHOW Mood News, live improvised music mashed up with news on Thursdays from 5 to 5:30 p.m.

THE STATION WMBR at MIT, 88.1 FM and wmbr.mit.edu

LISTEN UP If Terry Gross had an acid flashback on live radio, this is what it would sound like. Each week, DJ Michael Epstein (he was a student when he started the program back in 2003 and now runs the show's musical ensembles) rounds up a revolving troupe of volunteer student musicians from Boston colleges to mix atmospheric electric guitar improvising with, say, a John McCain diatribe against earmarks. Sound bites (and talking points) from their audio arsenal include rants from Bill O'Reilly and Dwight D. Eisenhower, the theme music from An Inconvenient Truth, and a story Hillary Clinton told in a 1992 commencement address at Wellesley about losing her glasses after swimming in a local lake when she was a student.

THE VOICE Epstein is no Jim Lehrer, so don't tune in for the follow-ups. Instead, he tries to make "melody and beauty out of the ancho-tainment world," he says, taking aim at the Anderson Coopers out there. The result comes off like a breath of, yes, fresh air.

ALSO ON WMBR Africa Kabisa! (Sundays from 4 to 6 p.m.) plays classic and current African and Afro-Caribbean music along with musician interviews and news dispatches for an encompassing perspective on the continent. -- E.S.

THE SHOW You Are Here, public affairs on Sundays from 7 to 8 a.m.

THE STATION WERS at Emerson College, 88.9 FM and wers.org

LISTEN UP Every week, You Are Here takes on a public issue. For a show on gay marriage that ran last year, student journalists interviewed Governor Deval Patrick and activists on both sides of the issue, profiled a same-sex wedding planner, and even delved into the issue of same-sex divorce. Guests on other shows have included Noam Chomsky, Ann Coulter, a United Nations weapons inspector, and presidential candidates.

THE VOICES The show, which has been airing for about the past five years, is currently produced by two 20-year-old broadcast journalism majors, Violet Ikonomova and Nicolette Orlemans (she's majoring in political communications, too).

ALSO ON WERS At the nation's top college station -- according to ranking-crazed education magazine The Princeton Review -- there's original music programming with news during the wee hours. Rockers, a reggae show running weeknights from 7 to 10 p.m., is a 28-year-old institution among listeners, whether they're getting ready to go out to a club or planning a night in with friends and an Up in Smoke DVD. -- E.J.

THE SHOW High Fidelity, eclectic music on Thursdays from 4 to 6 p.m.

THE STATION WTBU at Boston University, 89.3 FM, 640 AM, and wtburadio.org

LISTEN UP There's a sort of Zen state that occurs when you play the right Jay-Z and Bob Dylan songs back to back, and the show's four DJs pick well over and over, from all across the genre map. Inspired by the film of the same name, High Fidelity includes a weekly top-five list that's addictive -- its "Top Five Solo Albums" easily prompts your own "Top Five Lesbian Guitarists."

THE VOICES It's a crowded soundboard: sophomore DJs Peisin Yang (19, major undeclared, below left), Garrett Brooks (19, advertising, below right), Jack Flager (18, broadcast journalism), and Zach Kohn (19, undeclared), with their freshman friend Ryan Taylor (19, undeclared, and billed as a "special guest," though he shows up most weeks). It's a lively atmosphere, with concert and album reviews, interviews -- earlier this semester, the show scored 20 minutes with cult Girl Talk mix-master Greg Gillis when he played on campus -- and live jam sessions. "We're trying to prove that radio is not dead," says Yang. Though the show is only in its second semester, the hilarious DJs and their sublime musical tastes make up for their inexperience.

ALSO ON WTBU White Chocolate Drizzle (Mondays from 8 to 10 p.m.) is a showcase for 20-year-old Japanese language and literature major Dory Greenberg's skill in DJing underground hip-hop as well as her quick wit. -- E.J.

Northeastern students Jenara Gardner and Emma Johnson and BU student Erich Schwartzel are editorial assistants at the Globe. Send comments to magazine@globe.com.

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