The College Music Journal (CMJ) Top 20

1 SHINS Wincing The Night Away

2 OF MONTREAL Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?

3 DEERHOOF Friend Opportunity

4 SLOAN Never Hear The End of It

5 CLINIC Visitations

6 TOM WAITS Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers And Bastards

7 GOOD, THE BAD AND THE QUEEN The Good, The Bad And The Queen

8 MENOMENA Friend and Fwww.oe

9 BRAND NEW The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me

10 POSTMARKS The Postmarks

11 YOUTH GROUP Casino Twilight Dogs

12 BROKEN WEST I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On


14 DEAN AND BRITTA Back Numbers


16 SIX PARTS SEVEN Casually Smashed To Pieces

17 BIRD AND THE BEE Bird And The Bee

18 DECEMBERISTS The Crane Wife

19 VIETNAM Vietnam

20 ARAB STRAP Ten Years Of Tears

Billboards Top 20 Independent Chart

1 THE SHINS Wincing The Night Away

2 OF MONTREAL Hissing Fauna Are You the Destroyer?


4 SUNSHINE ANDERSON Sunshine Anderson at Midnight

5 HELLOGOODBYE Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!

6 ATREYU The Best Of…

7 JASON ALDEAN Jason Aldean

8 JIM JONES Hustler’s P.O.M.E.

9 MOE The Conch

10 LITTLE BIG TOWN The Road To Here

11 DJ SKRIBBLE Vic Latino Thrive Mix

12 DUSTIN KENSURE Please Come Home

13 VARIOUS ARTISTS Crunk Hits Vol. 3

14 DEERHOOF Friend Opportunity

15 DANE COOK Retaliation

16 TAMIA Between Friends


18 UNK BEAT’N Down Yo Block

19 SOUNDTRACK The Last Kiss

20 PITBULL El Mariel




There are very little similarities between these two lists, with the exception of the new Of Montreal and The Shins albums leading the charts. I am really surprised by some of the Billboard Indepedent Chart selections, especially Crunk Hits Vol. 3 (though I sincerely hope the album shows up on The Wall at KUGS soon).

These two charts demonstrate how different commercial radio programming and college radio programming is. I have seen and played most of what appears on the CMJ chart and I have heard of very little on the Billboard chart. I suppose that the CMJ charts are based on college radio play, which tend to favor certain artists and genres over others (for instance, indie rock vs. crunk hits).




The following is a brief introduction to the Billboard and CMJ Charts, focused primarily how they determine chart positions and differences between the two systems.

Billboard chart, first published in 1958, relies primarily on the Neilsen SoundScan system, which records singles, albums, and DVD sales. When a product (say, a CD) is purchased at a retailer in assocation with SoundScan, the sale is recorded. The second system Billiard uses to collect numbers for the charts is referred to as the BDS, or Broadcast Data Systems. BDS is used to track radio airplay and when a song is played on a radio station associated with BDS, it is recorded into the database as well. The numbers of both the record sales in the Neilson SoundScan-affiliated store and Broadcast Data Systems-affiliated radio station are added up every week to determine the ranking of the album. Billboard charts have since become divided into different genres (Latin, Pop, Rap/R&B, Independent, etc.)

College Music Journal (CMJ), on the other hand, relies on an entirely different system of collecting album popularity. College radio stations, independent record stores, and record companies submit weekly playlists and airplay statistics, and CMJ complies the information from independent college radio station playlists. CMJ then publishes the top 30 in their weekly publication.


On Sunday I substituted for a fellow KUGS dj who normally does the Alternative Jukebox from 6-8 p.m. I was delighted to do a specialty show and get to select my own playlist (instead of selecting from a limited number of selected albums from “The Wall”). The following is my playlist. I selected a lot of my favorite songs of the moment/distant past and I’m not entirely sure if they fit in with the regular dj’s format. My only instructions were to “play whatever made [me] happy”, so I did just that.

Xiu Xiu: I Luv The Valley OH! Fabulous Muscles
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists: Biomusicology The Tyranny of Distance
Aqueduct: Hardcore Days and Softcore Nights I Sold Gold
Ugly Casanova: Parasites Sharpen Your Teeth
Ono with Blow Up: Everyman Everywoman Yes I am a Witch
Built to Spill: Else Keep It Like a Secret
The Velvet Underground: I’m Set Free The Velvet Underground
Interpol: Not Even Jail (Daniel Kessler Remix) Remix DPRO
Air: Surfin on a Rocket Talkie Walkie
Fiona Apple: Not About Love Extraordinary Machine
Most Serene Republic: Propositon 61 Underwater Cinematographer
Roxy Music: Virginia Plain The Best Of
The French Kicks: Was It a Crime? Trial of the Century
Neutral Milk Hotel: Two Headed Boy In an Aeroplane Over the Sea
Broken Social Scene: 7/4 (Shoreline) Broken Social Scene
Bjork: Undo Vespertine
Sonic Youth: Empty Page Murray Street
Architecture in Helsinki: Do the Whirlwind In Case We Die
Faultline: Where Is My Boy? Your Love Means Everything
The Brunettes: Boyracer Boyracer EP
Vells: The Very Scary Trees Vells
The Boy Least Likely To: I’m Glad I Hitched… The Best Party Ever
El Perro Del Mar: Party El Perro Del Mar
The Blow: True Affection Paper Television
The Walkmen: We’ve Been Had Everyone Who Pretended To…
The Beta Band: Dry the Rain The Three EPs
Frida Hyvonen: You Never Got Me Right Until Death Comes
Viva Voce: The Lucky Ones The Heat Can Melt Your Brain
Dean and Britta: Since I lay My Burden Down Words You Used to Say

“Radio was one key arena for rebellion. Tightly controlled FM formats, mostly programmed by a small group of consulting firms, kept new music off the radio. College radio jumped into the breach, providing a valuable conduit. Now indie shows could be well promoted; records could be adequately showcased. The corporate exploitation of new wave had proved the major [labels] could co-opt punk’s musical style, but they couldn’t co-opt punk’s infrastructure – the local underground scenes, labels, radio stations, fanzines and stores. They, perhaps more so than in any particular music style, are punk’s most enduring legacy.”

Our Band Could Be Your Life, Michael Azerrad

10:02 am
El Perro Del Mar: Party
El Perro Del Mar

El Perro Del Mar is my new favorite new artist. El Perro Del Mar (nee Sarah Assbring) is a Swedish singer/songwriter whose style is very reminiscent of 1960s French pop. Her first LP El Perro Del Mar (released in 2006 on UK label Memphis Industries) can be described as “low-fi Phil Spector”, a wall of sound built with minimal materials. “My aim is to create a very complex and significant world of sound,” El Perro said in an interview with Independent Culture. “I’m also very interested in timeless qualities in a song and production so I tried to study the means to create that kind of feeling as well.”

10:08 am
Justin Sconza: The First Time
Paint By Numbers

10:09 am
Ono: Sisters O Sisters
Yes, I’m a Witch

Goodness gracious I love Ono’s new album, a collection of remixes from artists like Le Tigre, Peaches, Polyphonic Spree, The Flaming Lips and more. Only Yoko’s original vocals were used in the remixes and the artists created entirely new backing tracks. “Sisters O Sisters” is my personal favorite, but “Everyman…Everywoman” by The Blow Up is a close second.

10:12 am
Hot IQs: Duck and Cover
Dangling Modifier

10:16 am
Wolfmother: White Unicorn

10:17 am
The Pale Pacific: Tied to a Million Things

10:24 am
The Love Lights: Harder To Attack
Problems and Solutions

The Love Lights is a local Bellingham band made of an ensemble of “guitars, basses, drums, synthesizers, trumpets, steel drums, saxophones, accordions, glockenspiels, French horns, sleigh bells, tambourines, shakers, maracas, hand claps and lots of voices.” Their first LP Problems and Solutions is a fun, cute album, full of hand claps, pop, and adolescent love and squalor.

10:25 am
Dirty Faces: Dead Man’s Boots
Get Right With God

10:30 am
Of Montreal: Gronlandic Edit
Hissing Fauna Are You The Destroyer?

10:34 am
James Brown: I Got You (I Feel Good)
Millenium Collection

10:36 am
Yes, Oh Yes: Portland
The End EP

10:39 am
Swan Lake: Widow’s Walk
Beast Groans

10:42 am
Miho Hatori: Barracuda

10:47 am
Deerhoof: + 81
Friend of Opportunity

10:50 am
The Streets: When You Wasn’t Famous
The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living

10:53 am
Frida Hyvonen: You Never Got Me Right
Until Death Comes

Whatever the reason, I have been profoundly more interested in female artists. Perhaps it is the influx of a number of great new albums in the KUGS studio, including The Blow’s Paper Television, Miho Hatori, El Perro Del Mar, Yoko Ono, Haley Bonar and, last but not least, Frida Hyvonen. Yet another Swedish singer/songwriter, Frida’s voice is akin to Joni Mitchell and the strength of Until Death Comes, released by Licking Fingers, lies in its “plainness and truth” (All Music Guide). Frida washes upon our shores on March 21, 2007 at 8 p.m. to play at Chop Suey in Seattle, Washington.

10:55 am
Henrik Schwarz: Bird’s Lament
DJ Kicks

11:00 am
Norah Jones: Thinking About You
Not Too Late

11:02 am
gwEm and Counter Reset: The Man-Machine
8-Bit Operators

11:06 am
The Shins: Sealegs
Wincing The Night Away

Somewhere, Zack Braff is rejoicing. The alleged “life changing” band The Shins have returned with Wincing The Night Away, a follow-up to their massive hit album Chutes Too Narrow (2003). I have not really “absorbed” this album yet, but at first listen I did not, uhh, wince, so it shows promise. Not surprising, though, Wincing The Night Away is presently sitting pretty at No. 1 on the College Music Journal charts this week. Congratulations are thus in order for the Albuquerque, New Mexico quintent.

11:11 am
The Business: Get Out While You Can
Suburban Rebels

11:14 am
Hot Chip: Colours (DFA Remix)
Remixes and Rarities

11:21 am
Cezanne: I’ve Got So Much
Breaking Bats for Jesus

11:25 am
The Planets: Mafioso
Lost In Space

11:25 am
Damien Jurado: Hoquiam
And Now That I’m In Your Shadow

11:35 am
Math & Physics Club: April Showers
Math & Physics Club

11:37 am
Dean and Britta: Singer Sing
Back Numbers

If you are a Luna fan, Dean (Wareham) and Britta (Phillips) need no introduction, but here is one anyway: Dean and Britta’s new release (so new it won’t be released for another week, in fact) Back Numbers is so good I am contemplating adding an A to my name (um, hello, my name is Britt, stupid Internet). “As with L’Avventura and their work with Luna, Wareham and Phillips know how to tastefully cover other artists material both staying true to the original and equally giving it a life of its own. This feat is accomplished a couple of times on Back Numbers but no more eloquently than Britta Phillips take on Lee Hazelwood and Ann-Margret’s ‘You Turned My Head Around.'”

11:41 am
Andrew Bird: Lull
Weather Systems

11:48 am
The Storkes: Ask Me Anything
First Impressions of Earth

“Don’t be a coconut/God is tryin’ to talk to you” = best lyrics ever (sorry Lou Reed)

11:51 am
The Blow: True Affection
Paper Television

11:53 am
David Vandervelde: Wisdom from a Tree
The Moonstation House Band

By Michael Papish

Sunday, November 10, 2002; Page B02

They leave empty pizza boxes on your lawn, play loud music way past midnight and spill beer on, well, everything, but college kids are also helping to preserve a piece of American culture: the culture of interesting radio.

If we want to help them do that, we’ll need to get college radio back on the Internet. Since last spring, dozens of campus webcasts have been shut down, and more may follow, because of new federal regulations that threaten to bankrupt the small, volunteer-run radio stations that produce them. The shutdowns were premature, and in the end will probably turn out to have been unnecessary. But they illustrate the uncertainty and confusion surrounding the regulations, which were supposed to take effect last month but are now in limbo.

Why the big fuss over campus radio? From a music lover’s point of view, the mainstream American radio landscape is abysmal. Motivated only by profit margins, commercial radio conglomerates have turned our publicly owned airwaves into a bland wasteland. College radio, with its dedication to original and exciting programming, stands in stark contrast. The typical commercial station airs 500 or fewer songs a year, playing them over and over. The station I advise, WHRB-FM at Harvard University, plays 70,000 to 90,000 different songs every year. Some commercial stations no longer even bother to use humans, preferring canned voice-tracks recorded at a central studio and automated algorithms to determine their programming. Campus and small community stations feature live DJs making their own creative programming choices. Commercial radio fears alienating listeners with anything out of the ordinary. WHRB recently featured 178 straight hours of Haydn history and compositions, and four full days of the entire sonic output from the obscure ’60s avant-garde and underground label ESP-Disk.

But while college and community stations have no lack of imagination and enthusiasm, many are handicapped by weak broadcast signals; some of them can be heard over an area of just a few square blocks or only within closed campus networks. To overcome that problem, low-power stations began to broadcast simultaneously over the World Wide Web. WHRB introduced its digital “streaming” in 1999. Like other small webcasters, we saw ourselves as pioneers in an effort to bring back an era of exciting radio by using the Internet to reach new listeners.

Something stands in the way of that revival: the cost and terms of licensing music. FM and AM radio stations pay songwriters for the rights to broadcast their music, but not performing artists or record companies. The record industry looked to fix that inequity in the digital world by lobbying for, and getting, Congress to pass the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in 1998. The DMCA requires webcasters to pay royalties that are distributed to composers, performers and record labels. There’s nothing wrong with paying artists and copyright owners a fair price for their music, but the approved rates will prevent college and nonprofit webcasters from ever reaching more than a handful of listeners, if they choose to continue webcasting at all.

In 2001, a Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel was convened to set royalty rates. Arbitration began with the Digital Media Association, a trade group representing larger, for-profit webcasters, suggesting a rate of .015 cents per song per listener. The Recording Industry Association of America, representing record labels and artists, countered with a rate 26 times higher: .4 cents per song per listener. Due to the high cost of participating in the arbitration, small nonprofit stations were unable even to have a seat at the table. In June, the government announced the final rates: .02 cents per song per listener for noncommercial stations and .07 cents per song per listener for commercial entities, with an annual minimum fee of $500 for both groups. The fee-setting process had effectively barred college and other small webcasters from participation, and the resulting fees were too high for them.To put those fees in perspective, a college webcaster such as WHRB, with a steady Internet audience averaging six or seven listeners per hour over 24 hours (yes, six or seven — about average for college radio today), would owe $170 a year but pay the $500 annual minimum. However, if WHRB’s Internet audience increases over the next decade to something similar to the audience for its FM signal (approximately 1,000 concurrent listeners on average), the station would owe $26,280 — quite a contrast to the $3,203 per year the station now pays to composers for playing the same songs over the air. In addition, the law required retroactive payments for any webcasting during the four years since the law was passed. The payments were due Oct. 20.

By the time the fee ruling was handed down, many small and suddenly alarmed stations had already begun to stop streaming. Then, beginning this past summer, a hubbub of complaints by disgruntled webcasters, artists and record labels grew in pitch and volume as the Oct. 20 deadline approached. Most of the panic was caused by the size of the four-year bills some webcasters would owe and the fines they might face if they didn’t pay up. Some small, commercial webcasters like, and, with large listenership but limited revenues, faced certain bankruptcy. The RIAA, the industry trade group, came to an agreement with a subset of small, commercial webcasters that became the text of the Small Webcaster Amendment Act and was passed in the House of Representatives on Oct. 7. In plain terms, the SWAA reduces retroactive fees for a class of small webcasters in return for setting dangerously high royalty levels in the future.

None of that has helped college and community radio, and the near passage of the SWAA by the Senate, prevented only by the last-minute heroics of Jesse Helms, acting at the behest of a group of small webcasters operating in North Carolina, certainly would have hurt us.

Instead of fixating on the Oct. 20 deadline, college radio should be worried about the long-term survival of the Internet as an alternative to the conglomerate-controlled airwaves. Contrary to the opinions of many, I believe that the roadblock in our way, the RIAA, shares that goal. Unfortunately, our joint progress stands in the crossfire of the largest intellectual property war to occur in the last 25 years.

In the digital world, the future of music (and intellectual property in general) is cloudy. The record industry is at a confusing crossroads, knowing only one, sure truth: It owns a lot of sound recordings. What no one knows is the future medium or method by which those recordings will be heard. Will CDs become as obsolete as eight-tracks? Will music continue to be produced in an “album” format, or will we see a hybrid emerge, combining elements of both records and radio? With that uncertainty, the RIAA fights for the highest valuation of sound recordings possible.

The battle over webcasting royalties playing out in Congress, courts and conference rooms is one of the initial struggles in a war that could decide the future survival of all companies that own, promote and sell copyrighted materials. In the music world, the stage was set in 1978 by a report published by the Register of Copyrights on performance rights in sound recordings. In that report, a prescient Copyright Office warned that “Congress, in its deliberations on performance rights, should not be unmindful of the possibility that technological developments could well cause substantial changes in existing systems for public delivery of sound recordings. In that event, it is equally possible that a performance right would become the major source of income from, and incentive to, the creation of such works.”

Historically, the United States, unlike many other countries, has not granted copyright owners of sound recordings the right to be paid for the public performance of their music over the radio. What’s occurring now is the first attempt to set the value of those sound recordings on the Internet.

The disappearance of college and community webcasters would be an unfortunate and unwanted side-effect. But even though a future featuring diverse webcasters would be in the RIAA’s best interest, the group is afraid of letting down its guard and allowing the value of its sound recordings to be reduced. Five years from now, if the government were to create a compulsory license for Napster-like services, rates set today for webcasting would form an important precedent.

It’s time to recognize college radio’s unique and pioneering role in establishing the Internet as an incubator for diverse, edgy and creative broadcasting. The government should rework its royalty-setting procedures to give small webcasters a voice. The RIAA needs to stop trying to unfairly link college webcasting with the specter of students illegally downloading free music. And the RIAA should make the enlightened decision to compromise with small, non-profit webcasters in an agreement that will allow Internet radio to flourish for the benefit of both. If each side tries hard to hear the other, they’ll find more in common than they might think.

Michael Papish is technology and policy adviser for WHRB, the undergraduate radio station at Harvard University, and for the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System, a nonprofit organization representing more than 750 educationally affiliated stations. He is co-founder and CEO of MediaUnbound, a software company in Cambridge, Mass.

Today was my fourth Music for the Masses show and being in the studio is starting to feel much more comfortable to me. My first show back in the start of this quarter was nerve-wracking and challenged my ability to multi-task: in a short three minute period of time, I had to load up the next song, answer the phone to take a request, run to the music library to try to find said requested song, enter in the artist and album information into the web playlist, and cue up the next public service announcement. Certainly being a radio DJ has given me a whole new awareness of how fast time is, really. Two hours sitting in a classroom is tormenting; two hours in the studio a flash.

I have narrowed down a list of areas I would like to improve on in the next few days:

1. Speaking on the air! During my two hour show, I only talk to say the legal ID (KUGS FM Bellingham), read the required PSAs and list off the concert calendar. I want to be able to adlib, talk about new artists, and have an on-air personality. If I have a regular weekly show, I want audience members to feel like they know me from the other Music for the Masses DJs

Action Plan:

a. My action plan is to start researching artists ahead of time to find interesting facts or short bios to share with listeners

b. Find a few topics or talking points related to music ahead of time to mention on air in case I can’t think of anything on the spot to say (for example, “This morning it was announced The Police will be reuniting to perform at The Grammy Awards on Feb. 11, inciting more speculation that they will soon announce a reunion tour across North America and Europe”)

c. Make attempts to get out of my comfort zone by speaking after every 3-4 songs (“You just heard “Sisters O Sisters” from Yoko Ono’s new album Yes, I am a Witch. Ono teamed up with Le Tigre and many other artists for this album…” or whatever)

d. Practice in the production studio to avoid the “p” explosion sound and to rehearse song introductions, how to pronounce artist names, and generally become more comfortable transitioning between tracks and the microphone

2. Diversifying my playlist. “The Wall” (see Terminology) selection has not changed drastically in the past few weeks and I find myself playing certain songs every week. I want to try to mix up my playlist, listen to new artists or new songs off a particular album, and try to select songs from genres I do not have a lot of knowledge in. I tend to choose from albums or artists described as “indie rock,” “glam”, “indie pop”, etc. and somewhat ignore rap, folk, soul, and local artists on the wall. Those who listen to Music for the Masses expect an eclectic array of artists and genres and so I would like to challenge myself to explore new styles and not to judge an album by its label or cover.

Action plan:

a) In addition to the required one hour of preparation before a show, I will spend some more time tracking artists I am unfamiliar with, previewing tracks from artists of different genres, and commit myself to including 4-5 songs a show to these new forms and styles.

b) Ask friends with different musical taste for suggestions and recommendations

c) Make an effort to ask for requests on air from listeners (“If you have any requests, call 650-KUGS”)

d) Examine College Music Journal charts for rising artists that I might have overlooked

3. Learn to use the LP Player. Shames of all shames, I have never used a record LP player before. I know, I know! Please do not tell anyone! The KUGS music library only has albums on CDs from 1992-ish and on (unless reissued or re-released) so if I want to play something released prior to the 1990s, I have to play them on vinyl. But because I have no idea how to play a record, I cannot access literally hundreds of albums.

Action plan:

a) Ask Jamie Hoover, the KUGS Program Manager or KUGS Director Cory Watkins to teach me how to use the LP player and hope they do not ridicule me for my ignorance

b) Practice in the production studio selecting tracks and handling records

These are my goals for next week’s show on Tuesday morning from 10 – 12 p.m. on 89.3 FM Bellingham or and I will update again about my hopeful progress then.

AM (Amplitude Modulation) Broadcasting: Radio broadcasting using Amplitude Modulation. Because of its susceptibility to atmospheric interference and generally lower-fidelity sound, AM broadcasting is better suited to talk radio and news programming, while music radio and public radio mostly shifted to FM broadcasting in the late 1960s.

Carrier Current: A method of low power AM broadcasting that is generally not licensed in the United States, but is allowed on the campus of any school. This is one method used for college and high school radio, particularly if the signal is only intended to be picked up in a small area. Carrier current stations generally only have an effective radiated power of a few watts. Many established college radio stations originally began as carrier current stations. While the technology is still used by a number of student-run stations today, the popularity declined beginning in the 1980s, as popular music radio formats quickly migrated to the FM band. The popularity of streaming audio over the Internet has hastened this decline.

Commercial broadcasting is the practice of broadcasting for profit. This is normally achieved by interrupting normal programming to air advertisements, also commonly called “commercials” in this context. This is the dominant type of broadcasting in the United States and a handful of other countries such as most of Latin America. It is also common elsewhere, but usually exists alongside public broadcasting where programming is largely funded by broadcast receiver licences, public donations, or government grants. 

FM (Frequency modulation) Broadcasting: A broadcast technology that uses Frequency Modulation (FM) to provide high-fidelity sound over broadcast radio.

Freeform Radio Format: Freeform, or freeform radio, is a radio station programming format in which the disc jockey is given total control over what music to play, regardless of music genre or commercial interests. Freeform radio stands in contrast to most commercial radio stations, in which DJs have little or no influence over programming structure or playlists. In the United States, freeform DJs are still bound by Federal Communications Commission regulations.

Radio Disc Jockey: A disc jockey (also called DJ) is an individual who selects and plays prerecorded music for an intended audience. A radio disc jockey plays music that is broadcast across radio waves, AM and FM bands or worldwide on shortwave radio stations. Radio DJs are notable for their personalities. Often due to terrestrial radio using program directors/music directors to generate the playlist, present-day radio DJs do not typically pick the music to play at stations. Emceeing is their primary duty.

All definitions provided by, unless otherwise noted.

Welcome to Radio Cure, dedicated the exploring the history of independent and college radio in the United States.

Here you will find information, articles, and research on the development of non-commercial radio, including community public radio, college radio, and non-corporate radio stations, different radio models, the College Music Journal charts, and online radio webcasts.

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