Best Radio Station (2000)

KTRU/91.7 FM

Selecting Houston's best supplier of over-the-airwaves music can seem like an exercise in picking the lesser evil. Between corporate-held stations controlled by focus groups and a public station run by a general manager who seems intent on destroying its democratic ways, our city's radio offerings don't exactly inspire listeners to switch off the CD player. But Rice University's KTRU is different -- very different. The 50,000-watt outlet is a throwback to a time when stations were programmed by people who really liked music. KTRU's weekly programming list is beautifully color-blind: hip-hop, classic rock, world music, spoken word, reggae, jazz, hardcore and forms of sound that defy classification. There's even a two-hour block each weekday morning dedicated to readings for the blind. That sounds to us like a station fulfilling its educational mission. KTRU likes to call itself free-form, and it is, not only with its music but also with its on-air "talent," which can be refreshingly awkward. For sheer audio adventure, no station tops KTRU.


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