This is what a college radio should be like! Larger than you would expect, WKNC is located in a student center on the campus of North Carolina State University and operates very much like a regular FM rock station- right down to serious wattage. You can clearly pick it up all the way to the beach and nearly to Greensboro and into Virginia.
WKNC is one of the premier college stations in the nation but, as is typical for NCSU, they approach it with a low-key mix of professionalism and fun. Since they are heard over 25,000 watts, WKNC DJs are given more training and guidelines than is typical with college stations.
I really like that because DJs must first be apprentices to more experienced DJs (they are referred to as 'training monkeys' during this period). Likely because of this apprenticeship, they (usually) steer clear of being too indie and, through some miracle, steer away from preaching on air or trying to be too esoterically cool (see WXYC Chapel Hill).
At the same time, WKNC manages to avoid an increasingly big problem; the corporatization or 'satellitization' of playlists. Other so-called college stations sound like just another of the many 'new rock alternative' fm stations that play mainstream corporate stuff or college music from 1991. You know, the ones who play The Red Hot Chili Peppers as if they're relevent. -Appalachian State University's station, for example, is like that unfortunately. WKNC is just right. Shaw University's station in downtown Raleigh is also good college radio for gospel, Motown/beach and blues. -I listen in on Sunday mornings to and from church!
WKNC has also been integral in spurring on a thriving local music scene. The station gives North Carolina indie bands much-needed exposure while spreading the word about live, local performances. The station has long enjoyed a symbiotic relationship with local entities like The Arcade Fire label Merge Records out of Chapel Hill, NC. The Arcade Fire has been, by far I think, the biggest popular success for the label. However, there have been many influencial, successful bands as well lesser known great bands represented by Merge and played extensively by WKNC. Some favorites include: Spoon, Superchunk, The Arcade Fire, M. Ward, The Magnetic Fields, The Rosebuds, Destroyer, Wye Oak, Future Islands, Nuetral Milk Hotel and The Mountain Goats.
The Mountain Goats are one of scores of bands scheduled at Hopscotch music festival in September. The festival enjoys a symbiotic relationship with WKNC and the local music scene and is rapidly becoming a force on the national alternative music stage