Another repeat winner, and no surprise. KHUM's motto, "radio without the rules," means it's in tune with alt.-type readers. The flagship for Lost Coast Communications' four-station mini-media empire, at 104.3 and 104.7 FM, fancies itself a "free-form" radio station, and the music mix is eclectic as hell, just nothing too heavy. (Look elsewhere for rap and death metal.)
A recent morning with Program Director Mike Dronkers (see Best DJ) saw the genre-hopping playlist ping pong from old to new: an old David Lindley track followed by something from the new Cat Power album; The Byrds segueing into Mountain Goats, then The Velvet Underground into Beach House. Specialty evening shows focus on old-time and bluegrass music, jazz, blues, world music and even Frank Zappa.
Add in a commitment to public affairs and vigorous community involvement, and you get something akin to a really good public radio station, but with commercials instead of pledge drives.
The Breakdown: KHUM 104.3/104.7 20.7%, K-Slug 94.1 20.1%, KHSU 90.5 17.1%, KMUD 91.1/88.1 11.2%, The Point 100.3/102.7 4.3%. Category popularity: Eighth.