Best Radio Station (2009)

WKPX-FM (88.5)

While modern radio is largely polluted by classic rock, tasteless fart jokes, crazy preachers, fraudulent "alternative" stations, and American Idol rejects, 88.5 FM has thrived since 1983 because of an increasingly novel concept: "We play almost a straight hour of music," says DJ Thayne Brown, a student at Piper High School. The School Board-owned station gives the airspace to kids from Piper until 7 p.m., when students from Nova Southeastern University take over. The station draws 1 percent of local listeners at any given time — even without snarky morning hosts or songs about boot-knockin'. Station adviser John Farley tells students to avoid "too much sex, drugs, alcohol, violence, religion, or even anti-religion." Because some students have a fondness for death metal, he adds: "That includes Satan; he's out." Beyond those ground rules, kids are not bound by Top 40 lists or financial incentives from Clear Channel; they can play hip-hop mixtapes, breakthrough indie bands, and requests. On a recent Thursday afternoon, for example, the playlist jumped from Incubus to Matt & Kim to Rancid to Coldplay. The tunes were punctuated by charming teenager banter (in which nearly everything is described as "like, really weird") and adorable homemade Public Service Announcements. "Kindness is a favorable and friendly act. This message brought to you by all your kind friends at WKPX." With that, a DJ named Reggie fired up a ferocious Fugazi classic — "We owe you nothing/You have no control" — reassuring us that teenage angst is alive and well — no fart jokes required.

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