FIP Radio
September 26, 2013 1:55 PM   Subscribe

In 1971 Jean Garetto and Pierre Codou began to dream of a radio station that could calm even the drivers stuck on the Paris Périphérique. It would play wonderful, unexpected music chosen by people who knew their onions. The tracks would be drawn from diverse genres and chosen to seque enchantingly. There would be no jingles, commercials or self-aggrandising DJs - not even defined programs - just some announcers chosen for their mellifluous voices but paid to mostly stay quiet. The result was - and is - FipRadio. Fans have included residents of Brighton in the UK who enjoyed an illegal re-transmission of the station for many years - and journalist David Hepworth who describes the thrill of hearing "a voice you want to marry whispering words you can't understand". Listen!

If you are in France you can tune in on FM in Paris and several other cities. For the rest of the world the internet is probably best - there is the aforementioned website and an app for iphone/Android as well as and an all important archive to find that amazing track you just heard. Other stations mentioned as being similar to FIP include NovaPlanet in France, Lifegate in Italy and Radio Paradise in California. For those with Apple devices ooTunes will play all these stations, make temporary recordings of what you listen to and show you exact details of each track transmitted. Wikipedia has more information in French and English.

Previously: I was inspired by this Askme thread about great non-US radio stations and this question from letsgomendel.
posted by rongorongo (29 comments total) 103 users marked this as a favorite
Love FIP... Warmly recommend it (and Nova for maybe a younger, more electro vibe)!

Thanks for the reminder that it existed and the links to the radio players for iphone!
posted by Riton at 2:04 PM on September 26, 2013

Not as soothing, but if you want some variety from France, try AlterNantes. Mostly French, tons of music, a good bit of talk, and nice people at the station.
posted by surplus at 2:10 PM on September 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm confused. I've been listening for almost half an hour and they haven't played You Shook Me All Night Long once.

/ hamburger, of course. This is awesome.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:16 PM on September 26, 2013

"Women announcers with sexy voices" is actually a founding principle of the station. It's my (probably wrong) understanding that FIP has never had a male announcer in forty years. I'm not sure if this is totally charming, or typical French sexism, or maybe both??

And if you're listening to the online stream, you're just one click away from Radio France Culture, where you're as likely as not to be suddenly tuning into hour 9 of a 13-part lecture series on medieval Japanese religious poetry.
posted by theodolite at 2:26 PM on September 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

I found out about FIP in an AskMe comment, and it immediately bumped every other station off the list. Now if anyone has a brazilian/portuguese equivalent...
posted by dhruva at 2:27 PM on September 26, 2013

They occasionally have news or something with male voices.
posted by dhruva at 2:30 PM on September 26, 2013

There are definitely male voices on FIP—since I posted that question on AskMe, I listen all the time. I loooooooove FIP. It is the best study music (and since studying is my occupation these days, that means it's the best music for me).
posted by ocherdraco at 2:45 PM on September 26, 2013

NovaPlanet seems like France's answer to Australia's Triple J at first listen.
posted by rednikki at 2:57 PM on September 26, 2013

Woooooow! I used to listen to FIP all the time when I was living in Luxembourg. Have been in Brighton for well over 10 years now and had no clue about the Brighton FIPlovers, how CUTE!!!!
posted by ClarissaWAM at 3:21 PM on September 26, 2013

Wow. This was the perfect music to come home to. Haven't heard any sexy voices yet.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:36 PM on September 26, 2013

This is great! The perfect soundtrack to a late night in the office watching the traffic snake along Park Avenue. But how's the station funded if there is no advertising?
posted by bassomatic at 4:22 PM on September 26, 2013

I think this is state radio, believe it or not.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:27 PM on September 26, 2013

What's the fastest way to find in the archive the music that was just played? Is that possible on the current system? My brain isn't wrapping itself around the difference between French time and my time, and looking stuff up by French time isn't getting any results.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:58 PM on September 26, 2013

If I recall correctly, they don't archive the things they play over late night (France time, of course).
posted by ocherdraco at 5:20 PM on September 26, 2013

Hm. The late-night thing might also be why I haven't heard any of the famous announcers.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:21 PM on September 26, 2013

Between 11pm and 6am the station cycles back to play music from a previous day. Meaning that the playlist is not accurate at this time. Apps like ooTunes can parse the mp3 stream by which the station is transmitted and dig out the track names directly from that.

In terms of funding: French households get an amount added to their property tax which goes towards radio and TV stations. FIP is part of the 100% government owned Radio France group.
posted by rongorongo at 5:24 PM on September 26, 2013

I really enjoy listening to FIP. I'll never forget aimlessly scanning the radio while I was traveling in France, and stumbling across FIP by accident. A really nice surprise, and I've been listening to it on the internet ever since. It's funny, I never really paid attention to the announcers, but the music is excellent. Such a great mix of genres!

Radio Paradise is excellent, too.
posted by Otherwise at 6:03 PM on September 26, 2013

....chosen by people who knew their onions.

And wore them in their belts, as was the style at the time.
posted by Foosnark at 6:17 PM on September 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

Excellent — thanks for posting.

If you are using Foobar or Winamp, you can stream FIP at

You can stream Radio Paradise at
posted by quidividi at 6:39 PM on September 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

...chosen by people who knew their onions.

Never seen that idiom before. Cool.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:46 PM on September 26, 2013

I'm liking this more than I expected to. Thanks!
posted by MexicanYenta at 11:20 PM on September 26, 2013

This is brilliant!
posted by dowcrag at 3:41 AM on September 27, 2013

"fip, 40 ans d'évasion"

I used to tune into fip in Paris in the late 1970s. They had a policy of something like 75% instrumental music (classical, jazz, rock, etc), and 25% vocal (with something like 75% of that French). Plus those 'speakerines' commenting on the traffic circulation or, more usually, the lack of circulation: "If you are on the northwest quadrant of the perif and going counter-clockwise, you're not going anywhere for the time being."

It's good to know fip lives.
posted by Mister Bijou at 4:23 AM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Mister Bijou: that formula sounds like a consequence of the Loi Toubon, with which all French radio stations have had to comply since the 1940s. This sets a quota of 40% as the minimum contribution from Francophone artists on the playlist. It may be that FIP is given a bit more of a free range than other stations - as I write this comment they have just played 3 English speaking artists in a row - even if one of them is Sinatra singing "I love Paris in the Springtime". Somewhere I picture whichever fonctionnaire is tasked with enforcing compliance starting to bristle.
posted by rongorongo at 7:26 AM on September 27, 2013

rongorono: According to Wikipedia, Loi Toubon only came into force in 1994. My recollections refer to the late 1970s. I am sure there were other regulations in force even in the late 1970s. Exactly what the quotas were, I can't remember, but there were quotas. Which is why I prefaced my numbers with 'something like'. A hazy recollection, for Paris in the late 1970s was the best of times and the worst of times... but through good and bad, fip was often part of the soundtrack. Again, thanks for the post.
posted by Mister Bijou at 8:02 AM on September 27, 2013

Thanks for this. I'm doing some scanning and processing of photos from the 1920s and this has been a great soundtrack.
posted by sciencegeek at 9:44 AM on September 27, 2013

Totally different type of music, but if you like unusual radio stations, you may also like KBRD. Upbeat, and good background music for getting things done. And while I don't see it anymore, they used to bill themselves as "America's 9th Best Radio Station."
"Whether you like piano rolls, pre-1920 cylinders, 78s from the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s or early 45s and mono LPs, this is your station. Broadcasting on AM 680 with the full audio spectrum. On the internet we stream in the original monaural not wasting bandwidth. Better than CD quality."
posted by MexicanYenta at 10:49 AM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is awesome! Thanks!
posted by Fezboy! at 10:54 AM on September 27, 2013

The link quidividi posted also plays on Linux apps Clementine and Audacious.

Seattle's homebrewed Hollow Earth Radio might be of interest (link here). Alas the Feds pretty much deep-sixed any broadcast FM with personality decades ago - proving once again why we're still The Colonies.
posted by Twang at 12:18 PM on September 27, 2013

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