BEST HIP-HOP RADIO STATION (2003)

KKFR-FM Power 92.3

Proof positive that radio sucks? Hordes of people on the Internet are swapping tapes of DJ air checks, station promos and entire jock shifts from whatever "golden age" of radio they champion. Proof positive that radio doesn't suck? Power 92.3 FM -- and its irrefutable 2003 slogan "The Station That Doesn't Suck" (see?). People who miss personality-driven radio have their assortments of oddballs to "act a fool" in the morning, from Mad Dogg to $horty P to the Madhouse's one-man Jackass Gringo Suave, whose stunts have ranged from eating live crickets to sucking face with a homeless woman old enough to be a Murray the K groupie. People who miss the fury of the nonstop Top 40 can console themselves with Power's intelligent and animated mix of nonstop hip-hop and new R&B, especially when there are live DJs in the mix who make even the jump to commercials seem like an elevated art form. Specialty shows like the Lowriders Oldies and noontime Old Skool Requests demonstrate to dimwitted radio consultants that it's possible to enjoy up-to-the-minute hits and still maintain a sense of history. Of course, all good radio stations must come to an end, and at some point some pencil-pushing simp will likely come in, ruin Power 92.3 and send us looking for Mini Salas air checks. That it hasn't happened yet says something about the staying power of hip-hop.

Readers' Choice: KKFR-FM Power 92