The Princeton Review rated Blaze Radio as the Best College Radio Station in the country.
“In my mind it makes sense that we are finally the best because our members for sure deserve it,” said Blaze Radio Station Manager Autriya Maneshni.
In 2020, Blaze Radio rated as the third best of 25 college radio stations in The Princeton Review’s rankings before reaching the top spot for the first time on the most recent list.
Student leaders at Blaze said their station is unique because it offers a wide variety of opportunities with professional equipment. Maneshni is a journalism major in her fourth and final year with the station.
“It was a very emotional and surreal feeling, especially for those of us who have been at Blaze for the four years…to finally see that number one, it means so much to me,” she said.
Blaze Radio affords Arizona State University students of all experience levels a chance to actively learn in an environment that chases after excellence in its content and production process.
“Blaze’s popularity as a whole is really based on our opportunities,” she said, “We teach you how to DJ, we teach you how to anchor radio shows, we teach you how to make pilots, make podcasts.”
The student-led organization is the second largest at ASU with more than 400 students. Most students come from the Cronkite School but they also have nursing, public service majors and students from other areas of study. Program Director Gideon Kariuki is a senior studying public policy and service at ASU’s Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions. He started at Blaze as a freshman.
“We attract a lot of people from a wide variety of walks and we hope to continue expanding that; that is, we pride ourselves on being an ASU student radio station for all students,” he said.
Blaze has 68 student-pitched specialty shows. Kariuki starts planning the fall shows in the summer. Spring is the busy season for these shows, so he begins preparing those in October.
Many student leaders at this program have been there for years. Sports journalism senior Mallory Schnell is now in her fourth year with the station. She has been the sports director since May of this year. Earlier this month, she traveled with Blaze to Oklahoma State University to produce an ASU football away game’s broadcasting.
Maneshni said that more than 200 listeners tuned in to listen to the Oklahoma State game on Sept. 10. Schnell said Blaze is the place to begin as a sports journalist. There are Cronkite Alumni who broadcast for major league sports because they started at Blaze. Families of out-of-state students often tune in to hear what’s going on at ASU, and study abroad students listen from across the world.
“Blaze’s reach goes big because our membership goes big,” Kariuki said.
Seniors at the station look forward to the professional opportunities that will soon result from their experiences at Blaze. Zachary Bradshaw, a sophomore majoring in sports journalism, is the news director for Blaze.
“This has felt like it’s been in the works for so long. Just talking with seniors that were here last year and the seniors that are there now, this is the place,” Bradshaw said.
He said Blaze allows ASU students to be themselves on air. This semester, the radio station welcomed its largest freshman class to date. Blaze students will celebrate the station’s 40th anniversary this year.
“We get to graduate knowing that for all four years you broadcasted your voice from the best college radio station in the country,” Maneshni said.
Listen to 24/7 live streamed music, news, entertainment and sports programming at their website, blazeradioonline.com.
To get involved as an ASU student at Blaze, contact [email protected]