Community radio stations tend to be unaffilliated with any local institutions, such as colleges and universities. While a small portion of their money may come from grants and underwriting by local businesses, the majority of their funding comes from the listeners. Community radio stations also tend to be largely volunteer-operated, with very few paid employees, generally the station manager and an engineer.
By contrast, while public radio stations are also largely listener-supported, they tend to be associated with the aforementioned institutions, and as such receive a portion of their funding from the institution. Public radio stations also tend to have a fair-sized staff of paid employees, with only a few volunteers.
Both types of listener-supported radio provide a clear alternative to commercial radio. Both provide a wider range of views and musical styles than commercial radio, although community radio stations tend to have a wider variety of music than public radio stations, which are largely classical. Also, public radio stations are much more common than community radio stations.