Monday, April 14, 2008

NYC area radio ain't dead

People love to complain about the radio and how it's all stupid, standard formats now and unlistenable. Also, when you have Pandora, Last FM and your own iPod, who needs DJ's and radio stations to program music for you? Even with the advent of streaming, if you hate your own local station, there's thousands of other ones to sample from around the world. But even with Clear Channel turning radio into standard mush, there's enough local exceptions in NYC that might give you some hope. What's more, many of them have been around for decades now.

I came to that conclusion as I rediscovered the joys of WKTU a great dance station that includes ol' classics plus new goodies- today's particular playlist included Beyonce, Kanye, Timbaland, Seal, new and old Madonna tunes, Donna Summer plus 80's classics like "Pump Up the Volume" and "Set It Off."

I also remembered a few of my other longtime favorites. Of course, there's free-form champs WFMU, which has been going strong for decades now. Along with a great stock of DJ's, they also have their unmatched annual record fair and some amazing blogs on their site too.

Though I often take them for granted as good background music when I need to work, the New York Times' classical station WQXR is alternately refreshing and bracing, plus you get good news updates every hour.

Whenever they're in range, I always love to tune in WBGO in Newark, who are tireless keepers of the jazz flame. For most of their daytime programming, it's bop heaven and though they have a few too many pledge drives, they're of such high quality, I find myself opening my wallet for them again and again.

WNYC, as the call letter tell you, represents Gotham well, covering a wide range of arts and related issues. Much as I love the NPR content, my favorite is always New Sounds featuring the inimitable John Schaefer, who's as much a champion of modern classical music as the New Yorker's Alex Ross.

Last and definitely not least is Columbia University's always eclectic WKCR, another bastion of great classical music as well as jazz flagwavers and supporters of numerous underground, eccentric styles.

Now if we could only get a good country and roots station here...


Anonymous James said...

As much as I love WBGO, its signal drowns out, or distorts (depending on the time of day), WFMU's signal in the Newark area. Or at least this was the case when I was a student at Rutgers-Newark a few years ago. It was frustrating to have two great stations, in an area of New Jersey mostly lacking interesting radio, overlapping like that.

11:59 AM  
Anonymous James said...

Also, though I admit its programming can be wishy-washy, clinical and too "traditionalist" at times, WFUV (Fordham) is friendly to country and roots music. If nothing else, I like Vin Scelsa's show, and the occasional local show the station sponsors (Richard Thompson, M. Ward, etc.)

12:01 PM  
Blogger Perfect Sound Forever said...

One more I forgot... 101.9 FM RXP "The New York Rock Experience" is actually much better and smarter than most classic rock stations as they don't pump the usual short playlist of classics and have some good material from the last few decades too.

11:00 PM  

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