Fresh Air Radio
January 3, 2005 6:31 AM   Subscribe

Here in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, we are truly blessed to have a independent radio station that is not run by a big company or college. It's home to many shows including Crap from the Past, (Fridays at 10:30, CST), and the surf twang sounds of Radio Rumpus Room, (Fridays, 9:00 CST) or a big selection of other shows all available in streaming audio off the website. Take a look around, who knows what kind of audio gems will be found??
posted by crusiera (52 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sounds great. Here in Jersey we have WFMU.
(Matt's spell checker suggests "awful" as a replacement for "WFMU" but that is just so wrong.)
posted by caddis at 6:48 AM on January 3, 2005

I've since moved away from the Land O' Ten Thousand Lakes, but KFAI does sound like an audio oasis. Wouldn't be right to not mention that bastion of twin towns coolness REV 105, which was greater than words could ever describe. How can you go wrong with Paul Westerburg's kid sister as DJ?

In Baltimore, we have WTMD, which is pretty alright. REV 105 spoiled me badly and I'll never be happy with another radio station for as long as I live.
posted by kittyb at 7:00 AM on January 3, 2005

Pittsburgh: WYEP---but I've found much of the music they play to be pretty bland.
St. Louis: KDHX---much more interesting and diverse.
posted by tss at 7:13 AM on January 3, 2005

The icecast (iTunes) stream is cool, but Smooth Jazz? Those guys need to have their saxaphones beaten into ploughshares. Bookmarked, in any case.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:18 AM on January 3, 2005

Y'all don't forget about KEXP, Seattle's listener supported station for music nerds. Streaming options abound. They just completed their 90.3 albums of 2004.
posted by jimray at 7:29 AM on January 3, 2005

This looks amazing. Thank you for the link!
posted by spinifex23 at 7:39 AM on January 3, 2005

Madison has WORT: "A group of community activists and radiophiles got together in the early 70's not knowing their notion of community-controlled radio would, years later, be a major fixture on the dial for all of South Central Wisconsin." I must admit that I hardly ever listened to it when I lived there, though I did apply for a job there once.

REV 105? I moved to the Twin Cities 5 years ago and it was already gone, though its reputation did live on among people I knew. Maybe I wouldn't have moved away 2 years ago if it still existed....
posted by gohlkus at 7:42 AM on January 3, 2005

CrapFromThePast is one of my all time favorite radio programs, and I don't even live anywhere near the radio stations that broadcast it. A must listen for anyone into pop music. The rest of the station's programming is pretty ecletic, which is really refreshing to see in this day and age.
posted by inthe80s at 7:44 AM on January 3, 2005

I still remember the first time my dad came down to Minneapolis to visit me and I had KFAI playing in the car. "What the hell is that?" KFAI of course.
posted by nathan_teske at 7:45 AM on January 3, 2005

In Seattle, we once had KRAB-FM, another--not owned by a Microsoft billionaire's Frank Gehry Fun Forest Ride Museum--true listener supported community radio station, where I hosted True Blues, Funk Beyond The Call of Duty and Emphyrio Dub back in the last century--blues, funk and reggae shows respectively. Of what is around today, we were closest to WFMU in the music. But the politics did in the station and the unelected board of directors screwed the listeners, sold the frequency and started the Jack Straw Foundation.
posted by y2karl at 7:45 AM on January 3, 2005

Despite it's growing reputation as one of the new incubators of daring new sound, Providence, RI is too small to support an independent broadcast station. What we do have is the ever-excellent BSR. Besides providing live and web-streamed broadcasts, they also archive all of their shows. If you are interested in "Noise" (not "noise punk", sorry Spin) or the larger, insanely & incestuously rich world of Providence music, you're hit sonic gold with Live Block and Joanne's Theory Of A Radio Show. And for the real Providence experience, crank it to 11 and wear your earplugs.
posted by antimagnet at 7:46 AM on January 3, 2005

So many great stations are at 90.3FM! In the Boston area, 90.3 is Boston College radio: WZBC, which I think is the best radio in Boston. For more on The Z:
posted by evoo at 7:51 AM on January 3, 2005

WFHB does it alright in Flowertown. Great old-timey radio on Saturday mornings and if you can hook into the Rhythm Ranch you won't regret it. The day-time music mixes are alright but not particularly noteworthy. Lots of world, blues, non top-40 pop, and roots rock. I generally link up with Radio Active during the workday, but I'm a Kiwi wannabe.
posted by Fezboy! at 7:59 AM on January 3, 2005

Diggin' this thread and filling my bookmarks with your posts. I've poked around at KEXP (Wo-pop!) and WFMU (The Best Show on WFMU is a love-hate affair). All good!

WWOZ will always be my favorite online and offline station. Pure New Orleans and Louisiana music, all the time.

Not to be regional and all, y'know, "offline" and divergent about this, but I've found that nothing beats the Bay Area for a diverse set of options on the left end of the dial. Driving down 101 between San Francisco and San Jose, it's easy to catch KPFA, KQED, KALW, KCSM, KZSU (Stanford), and KFJC (Foothill Community College)...all at once in the comfort of your modern automobile. And I'm probably even missing a station or two. Delicioso!
posted by diastematic at 8:14 AM on January 3, 2005

evoo: I do dig ZBC, but I gotta say, I like the music on WERS way better most of the time. 88.9 baby.
posted by rkent at 8:24 AM on January 3, 2005

I really like WONC, which is North Central College's (Naperville, IL) radio station. It plays a whole bunch of good stuff, they actually take and play requests, and it is commercial-free! Plus I won a contest on that station when I was a kid, I don't even remember what the prize was, it was so long ago. : )

I do like Crap from the Past. I have it bookmarked and I've been able to hear all sorts of things I haven't heard in ages.
posted by SisterHavana at 8:33 AM on January 3, 2005

KFAI is so much better than the always truly awful Radio K.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 8:46 AM on January 3, 2005

For those checking out KFAI, another outstanding program is the Groove Garden. Although classified under "Rap and Funk," this program runs the gamut from French pop to R&B. The show is on Saturday nights from 7 to 9 p.m.
posted by Scooter at 8:46 AM on January 3, 2005

Sounds great. Here in Jersey we have WFMU.

I never miss The Best Show on WFMU. Tuesday night from 8 - 11 hosted by Tom Scharpling. You can listen to archives here.
posted by box elder at 8:57 AM on January 3, 2005

I do dig ZBC, but I gotta say, I like the music on WERS way better most of the time. 88.9 baby.

There is (was) a listener-supported station in the Boston area that wasn't school-affiliated and wasn't terrible. Does anyone know what it is and if it's still around? I get stuck listening to 92.5 ("The River"), and while I'm in their "25-45 white liberal" demographic, I don't enjoy it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:57 AM on January 3, 2005

In Philly, we have WXPN . In a city that does virtually nothing to support local music, XPN and college station, WPRB (hardcore college sites don't need no stinkin' websites) are the best chance to hear local it blues, rock, alternative, whatever.
posted by j.p. Hung at 9:00 AM on January 3, 2005

I'm fond of KFJC near the SF Bay Area, and Radio 1190 in Boulder.

Both of these stations (as well as several of the others mentioned on this thread) are featured on, which seems to be a good clearinghouse of independent radio shows at high bitrates.
posted by toxic at 9:02 AM on January 3, 2005

Milwaukee has WMSE, which I got interviewed by once.
posted by drezdn at 9:05 AM on January 3, 2005

Radio Riot on KFAI (Monday, 12:00 Midnight - 2:00 AM) is the best radio show ever! I have a whole dresser drawer filled with tapes. Absolute punk vinyl junkies play the rarities and the best new stuff.

Radio K does have two good shows. Rude Radio makes you actually like ska again. They play tons of stuff from Jamaica in the 60s and truly know there stuff. Out of Step is Radio Ks punk show (djed by an ex-Radio Riot DJ) and is worth litening too as well.
posted by valis at 9:13 AM on January 3, 2005

here i am in minneapolis listening to: kfai needs to step up to the plate and get the twin cities a local broadcast of
posted by specialk420 at 9:13 AM on January 3, 2005

WPRB most certainly does have a web site. I have a very warm, personal connection to this great station. It is one of the few commercial college stations and they play some great music. Their classical shows are really beyond compare.
posted by caddis at 9:18 AM on January 3, 2005

As a resident of the Twin Cities, myself, I would just like to thank you, crusiera, for not making this post about Drive 105 (which is also not owned by Clear Channel--something they like to remind their listeners of roughly every 5-10 minutes). When I read your first sentence, my heart just dropped...until I hovered over the "radio station" link. For a station that inherited Rev 105s airwaves and lamely tried to continue its legacy in a more mainstream-friendly format, it's remarkable just how thoroughly it sucks. KFAI, however, is good stuff.

On a related note, I'm actually excited to hear more about KCMP - 89.3, MPR's latest offering. Every little bit helps around here.
posted by abiku at 9:21 AM on January 3, 2005

Thanks for the tip! I am always on the lookout for good radio. For some fantastic streaming radio, try There is a free link for both new indie stuff and old classics (indie at the time).
posted by bluesky43 at 9:31 AM on January 3, 2005

When in Ann Arbor, Michigan, check out WCBN at 88.3. Good listening.

Or, heck, access it here.
posted by John of Michigan at 10:08 AM on January 3, 2005

I'm up here in duluth MN, and if you are in the right spot you can pick up six different public radio stations. the best... KAXE, which is an iron range station, and WOJB out of Wisconsin is cool as well.

One of my all time favs though?

88.4 - Out of the Blue FM , in Kaikoura NZ, (a whole 3 watts!!!) when we where passing through they where broadcasting out of a local bar for the evening (or is it their regular broadcast point?). Alas no audio stream for that.

And we even had Random radio a nice pirate station till the late 90's
"Duluth's Random Radio (93.5) received a letter from the FCC on Wednesday (7/1). The unlicensed station has 10 days to respond with information on its "illegal" broadcasts. Random Radio has been on the air for about a year. (7/2/1998)" (which still surfaces here and there, unannounced for special events)
posted by edgeways at 10:10 AM on January 3, 2005

I really like WONC, which is North Central College's (Naperville, IL) radio station. It plays a whole bunch of good stuff, they actually take and play requests, and it is commercial-free!

I checked this out and was instantly turned off by their mode of operation.

"Mixing up the music is more structured than it sounds. Our computerized Selector system provides deejays with the songs they play during their shows.... Songs chosen by the music director are entered into the computer directory. The computer program combines old and new songs, producing a random sampling of music for the specific programs.

Even though disc jockeys have some flexibility in adding songs, such as requests from callers, they are limited by what is in the computer directory -- and this keeps them on track. It also keeps WONC sounding like a "real" radio station."

Ugh. No thanks. Sounds too much like a "real" radio station. e.g. Clear Channel.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 10:22 AM on January 3, 2005

Evoo and rkent noted Boston College's station WZBC and Emerson's WERS; rounding out the number of decent college radio stations in Boston, there's WMBR, MIT's radio station. "Eighty-eight point one FM, first on your FM dial." Actually, there are a few other college stations (apparently Northeastern runs WRBB, Tufts has WMFO, and BU hosts WTBU) but I must admit I haven't listened to them enough to pass any sort of judgement on their quality.
posted by ubersturm at 11:24 AM on January 3, 2005

The station is really good, but, IMHO, the best radio rock show ever is Music For Nimrods.

Radio Rumpus room is good, damn good, close to "MFN good" even, but I think MFN still takes the prize for it's raucus, trashy and odd mix of rock music.
posted by webnrrd2k at 12:18 PM on January 3, 2005

I have my own radio station in my pocket. I call it an iPod. No commericals and only music I like. Brilliant.
posted by terrapin at 12:27 PM on January 3, 2005

But you're never surprised.
posted by euphorb at 1:41 PM on January 3, 2005

If you are into indie hip hop be sure to check out the RSE (Rhyme Sayers Entertainment) Radio show on the web site. Rhyme Sayers are home to MF Doom, Atmosphere and Eyedea and Abilities if those names ring a bell.
posted by infowar at 1:55 PM on January 3, 2005

Progressive Voice of the Mountains, WPVM 103.5, Asheville, NC (streaming). We've also got Free Radio Asheville, a pirate station that I DJ'd on for about a year and a half. Amazingly, they're nearly 8 years old. Great post.
posted by moonbird at 2:32 PM on January 3, 2005

Great post indeed. Any recommendations for jazz stations that broadcast the good new stuff?
posted by languagehat at 3:05 PM on January 3, 2005

[completely pointless reminiscence] Quite a few years ago a friend of mine had a weekly half-hour book-chat radio program on KFAI, where she'd talk about good stuff published recently. One New Year's Eve, they were short on announcers, so they bumped her up to an hour and asked her to do a recap of Best Books of the Year. She invited me to sit in, but unfortunately I went out first for some (ahem) celebrating with friends, and by the time I got to the studio I was beschnockered. I dimly recall exhorting the listening audience to forget all the crap published this year, go read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, best damn book ever written!! Dear, dear.

KFAI is great stuff, though like abiku I'm interested to see what happens with KCMP. (At the same time, I mourn the loss of WCAL, the only classical station in Minnesota [to my knowledge] not under the thumb of the Bill Kling Hegemony.)
posted by Kat Allison at 3:23 PM on January 3, 2005

how about the great WLOL? Anybody remember the original station?
posted by crusiera at 4:11 PM on January 3, 2005

There is a 24/7 All Classical radio station in Portland, Oregon at FM 89.9, with a sister station in Hood River at 90.1. Call letters are KBPS - a group of music lovers purchased it from Benson Polytechnic high School more than 10 years ago when budget cuts threatened its existence. There is streaming audio at
Worried about the kids? Benson still has its AM station.
posted by Cranberry at 4:14 PM on January 3, 2005

oops. I forgot to mention that it is largely listener supported. Membership drives twice a year.
posted by Cranberry at 4:16 PM on January 3, 2005

Wowie. I just found out my Treo can play streaming internet radio with the Pocket Tunes app.

Looking forward to trying a few of these links out. (Anyone with usage tips or advice, comments appreciated.)
posted by diastematic at 8:44 PM on January 3, 2005

I used to work at both KFAI as a news announcer on Roger Purdy's morning show, "Ideal Cafe," and on KUOM (Radio K). I'd say KFAI is the better station but less resourced so if there were ever a station to plegde, it's KFAI. So when the MPR pledge drive comes on, remember to call KFAI with a donation!

For the top of the stack though, have a listen to KCRW if you haven't heard that station before.
posted by AaronO at 9:12 PM on January 3, 2005

Thanks Caddis, PRB didn't come up on my Google search.

Rock over London, Rock on Chicago.
posted by j.p. Hung at 9:50 PM on January 3, 2005

KFAI is great stuff, though like abiku I'm interested to see what happens with KCMP.

Newsflash: if you go to MPR's 89.3 Weblog, you'll see that they just hired the aforementioned Mary Lucia, sister of Westerberg and Twin Cities cool-radio she-institution. Maybe we here in Minneapolis are about to become a great radio community once again. We'll see.

Aside: the MPR-bashing always gets me down. They're a behemoth, sure. But travel around the country, listen to some other public radio, and find out how much they do not suck.

In the meantime, thank you crusiera for your lovely post.
posted by scatman at 10:14 PM on January 3, 2005

As long as we're on the subject of Twin Cities radio, can we have a moment of silence for Cosmic Slop?
posted by MrBadExample at 11:06 PM on January 3, 2005

Great post indeed. Any recommendations for jazz stations that broadcast the good new stuff?

KCSM in San Mateo (Bay Area), CA, is an excellent jazz station, though they tend more to the traditional. Their DJs are well-versed, however, and they are always open to new stuff that's decent. They have a weekly program called "All Out" that's dedicated to "out" jazz, but most of the DJs will intersperse some experimental stuff during the daily shows. It's the station of the College of San Mateo, although it existed previously as an indie with different call letters and frequency, but that was bought out, so they found a new home at CSM. It's the only all-jazz (NOT smooth jazz) station in the Bay, and thankfully they know what they're doing.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:38 AM on January 4, 2005

I used to do a couple of news shows on KFAI, back when they were still upstairs on East Lake Street. Nice to see that they haven't lost their connections to the community. Wish I could find a public access station here in Western Massachusetts......
posted by Framer at 9:52 AM on January 4, 2005

Thanks, krinklyfig -- I'm listening now!
posted by languagehat at 9:48 AM on January 5, 2005

This thread would be eternally bereft without a mention of Free Radio San Diego, 96.9 FM, honest-to-Todd pirate radio. Their programming is haphazard, bizarre and often wholly random, but usually interesting. The about page details their relations with the FCC. Yes, you can stream it live.
posted by gramschmidt at 4:11 PM on January 7, 2005

One of the best stations in Appalachia:

I HIGHLY recommend this station.
posted by UseyurBrain at 9:47 PM on January 9, 2005

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