Single Format v. Multiformat v. Freeform

Penn State has historically been unique among its collegiate peers in that student broadcasters have used a “multiformat” programming schedule. An example of this sort of program schedule is below. It differs from commercial radio (which is largely “single format”, where an entire radio station might broadcast only one genre of music). But it also differs from almost every other college radio station, which are typically “freeform,” meaning that programming might differ in genre and type every hour through the 24/7 broadcast schedule. While this format is popular because it gives the appearance of greater variety, it results in the market appeal of most college radio stations being almost zero due to the unpredictable and usually chaotic and standards-less character of the on-air product.

These are some of the reasons that The LION 90.7fm typically has favored a “multiformat” approach, embracing a variety of genres, but block-programming them in a way that each genre/type has a distinct “brand” name within the station, and can be marketed/enjoyed by listeners at a predictable time/day of the week.

Multiformat (The LION 90.7fm, ~2013)


Freeform (KUCR, University of California, Riverside)