Best Streaming Internet Radio
February 1, 2009 1:05 PM   Subscribe

Best streaming internet radio stations with good quality sound?

I recently purchased a Grace internet wifi radio and love it. I am looking for some great stations to program into memory. We tend to listen to jazz, americana/alt country, college rock, and I guess "world beat" stuff.

A few limiters:

--Streams need to be at 64kbs or better or they don't sound so great.
--Public or community supported (or otherwise not a lot of commercials) only, please.
--Any good international stations would be great - I think I've surveyed most US stations.
--I know about Pandora,, slacker, etc. So far I've only been able to get Pandora to work on the Grace player -- not sure the other ones will work.
--Stations that have very different formats throughout the day are less good than single-format or similar-format stations - i.e., we're looking for stations you can tune in at any point during the day and find pretty reliably great (most college stations probably disqualified here).
--Regular-old NPR/PRI stations less good as we already have those.
--"Robotic" stations without a DJ (like Soma, Dig, 123, etc.) are less good than real live stations because of the personality factor - we like a DJ talking about the music.

To start the list (hopefully), here are are some current presets:

KKJZ - L.A.-based jazz station, good all around jazz

KPLU/Jazz 24 - Seattle-based jazz, tends to be on the mellow side

WDVX - Tennessee-based bluegrass/country/folk

KEXP - Seattle-based mostly alt rock.

I also know about these good ones (but don't listen as much): KCRW (eclectic) , Swiss Jazz (like it sounds), WWOZ (New Orleans music), WFMU (free form, rock, not really my thing).

Finally -- some prior discussions of online streams: thread 1 (mostly about Pandora-type services but some stations listed); thread 2 (2005 discussion, some stations listed)
posted by Mid to Media & Arts (22 answers total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I study by Soma FM which is, "14 unique channels featuring underground electronica, chillout, ambient, downtempo, lounge, space music, indie rock and" But is "robotic."

My absolute favorite radio show is WeFunk which is hosted on Montreal's CKUT which has a ton of amazing shows.

Because I live in Chicago, I listen WBEZ home to another favorite show, Sound Opinions where, Jim DeRogatis of the Chicago Sun-Times and Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune talk music and pop.

Because I grew up down south I still tune into WNCW for bluegrass and the like. The station is really a hidden gem.
posted by wfrgms at 1:15 PM on February 1, 2009

Best answer: WWOZ - Commercial free New Orleans jazz, blues and cajun. The best radio station in the world.
posted by CunningLinguist at 1:32 PM on February 1, 2009

I'm a big fan of the RadioIO stations.
posted by mikeand1 at 1:57 PM on February 1, 2009

Radio Paradise fits many of your criteria: real dj, multi-format, etc.
posted by jeremias at 2:05 PM on February 1, 2009

Triple J.
posted by ads at 2:36 PM on February 1, 2009

Best answer: The best radio station in the world: WFMU. I'm lucky enough to be able to pick it up from my apartment, and I never touch the dial. The Internet streams are robust and high quality, with Web-only programming and extensive archives as well.

For "world beat," check out Transpacific Sound Paradise on Saturday nights (playlists and archives), but you'll hear it peppered through many of the DJs' sets. DJ Franc O has a great Monday show dedicated solely to West African pop music of the 1970s (playlists and archives), but apparently he's moving away soon. Station management is trying to get him to agree to do a podcast.

For "Americana/alt country" try Laura Cantrell every-other-Tuesday mornings (playlists and archives). A terrific country singer herself, and a great DJ.
posted by Joey Bagels at 3:04 PM on February 1, 2009

Seconding SomaFM. I also like some of the Groovera stations. You can take a look at some stations by checking out the shoutcast website. I listen to sleepbot at night.
posted by arimathea at 3:33 PM on February 1, 2009

Best answer: OE1 Österreich Eins/Austria One has great classical and jazz programming. Dradio Deutschland Radio has excellent programming, as well.
posted by vkxmai at 4:48 PM on February 1, 2009

Best answer: Indie. Has AAACplus stream. Likely better sounding than the system you are playing it on. On this machine, the quicksilver trigger is simply "W" and music magically begins moments later. Like KEXP, but better taste. Note: relentlessly focused on relatively new releases, which is great and only infrequently bad. Has small crew of DJ's with identifiable differences in taste, and actually get enthusiastic about a particular band. From Cincinnati, which helps prevent an overdose of bad music attitude. The only radio station I rarely turn off because of crap! And the only station I can recommend without reservation.
posted by zenon at 5:31 PM on February 1, 2009

I now see the grace thing only accepts a limited number of formats: Woxy still has you covered. (no! AACPLUS! Of course, I don't actually expect a internet radio thing to be able to do AACPLUS)
posted by zenon at 5:35 PM on February 1, 2009

Best answer: The 1920's Radio Network
posted by Confess, Fletch at 6:00 PM on February 1, 2009 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Atlanta Blues Society
posted by Confess, Fletch at 6:01 PM on February 1, 2009

Best answer: CBC Radio 3, all kinds of new Canadian music on this internet-based radio. The radio seems to usually stream indie rock music, but you can find indie jazz and country music on there too.

It's quite a well-rounded site. Besides streaming radio and podcasts, you can also build your own playlists (either by browsing through artists' pages or by saving the songs as they're played on the radio).
posted by lizbunny at 6:46 PM on February 1, 2009

Best answer: Seconding WNCW and Radio Paradise as mentioned above. Also, DIG out of Australia is another good one.
posted by ourroute at 6:55 PM on February 1, 2009

Best answer: CKUA is Canada's oldest public broadcaster and sounds very much like what you're looking for.
posted by Jaybo at 7:01 PM on February 1, 2009

I used to listen to Swedish radio stations that played US alternative music. I couldn't understand the advertisements and they played a much better song rotation than what their US counterparts do. win-win. Point being, start listening to languages that you don't understand, and you may be happy with what you do.
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:16 PM on February 1, 2009

Best answer: WKNC - student run radio that plays indie rock pretty consistently during the (US east coast) weekday hours. Weekends and late night get more eclectic.

Whole Wheat Radio - community run radio that plays folk/jazz/blues music.
posted by hoppytoad at 8:50 PM on February 1, 2009

Best answer: Radio 1190, out of Boulder.

+1 on WNCW, in Western NC. SomaFM, from SF and Radio Paradise, from Freedom, CA.

Still desperately missing a decent feed from KPIG

KFJC, from the SF Bay Area.

WFMU. New York

Triple J and RadioActive from down under.

KSVY. Outside of Napa Valley, CA

WUNC, Chapel Hill, NC -- when it's not rebroadcasting NPR.
posted by toxic at 9:53 PM on February 1, 2009

Best answer: Check out the Current from Minnesota Public Radio. Good music, no commercials, knowledgeable DJs. Pretty similar to KEXP as you listed above. They have a couple of different streams, both above 64k.

If you need more eclectic (which I know you didn't ask for), KFAI is wonderful too, and streams at 96k. It's usually good because the DJs are very passionate about their particular genre of music (though it does change formats frequently).
posted by antonymous at 9:22 AM on February 2, 2009

KEXP during the work week. John in the morning, Cheryl Waters in the mid-day and Kevin Cole in the afternoon (Seattle time). You'd be hard pressed to find a single better DJ anywhere else in America than any one of them, and they all run back to back, 5 days a week. High quality streaming, too.
posted by skechada at 5:55 PM on February 2, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks, all. I have a lot to listen to.
posted by Mid at 6:54 AM on February 5, 2009

Response by poster: Since this is about to close, I would add one more that I have been enjoying recently: Radio Heartland, from Minnesota Public Radio (KNOW). It's a low-key mix of Americana, Jazz Standards, and World stuff.
posted by Mid at 9:33 AM on January 7, 2010

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