Recommendations for public radio stations?
August 3, 2015 5:36 PM   Subscribe

I like public radio; I do not like the schedule of my local public radio stations. Which stations do you love?

My planned solution is to get a Wi-Fi Music Player and stream a station more to my taste. Sure, I anticipate sometimes queuing up podcasts but I also want a station that I can just tune in to more or less as background, mostly in the evening and on weekends.

Programs that I like: This American Life; The Moth; Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me; All Things Considered; On the Media; Fresh Air; The Diane Rehm Show; and Weekend Edition.

Programs that I don't like: The Best of Car Talk; Prairie Home Companion; Hot Jazz Saturday Night; The Writer's Almanac; The Big Broadcast; and Bluegrass Country.
posted by Morrigan to Computers & Internet (21 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Definitely try WNYC.
posted by griphus at 5:38 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

i guess this is not exactly what you meant, but the bbc is very good. from what i know of your examples, i think you'd enjoy radio 4.
posted by andrewcooke at 5:46 PM on August 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

KEXP Seattle. The only reason why I miss that place.
posted by omgkinky at 5:50 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Several of the programs you listed liking come out of WBEZ!
posted by spelunkingplato at 6:13 PM on August 3, 2015

I have a lot of love for WBUR for nostalgia reasons but it is news-heavy. My real suggestion is podcast that shit. This is the 21st century, and NPR (along with APM and PRI) has embraced podcasts in a big way. You can tailor hours of content to your tastes. You might also be interested in the NPR One app, which is supposed to learn what you like and suggest content.
posted by Wretch729 at 6:17 PM on August 3, 2015

KCRW for culture news and music.
posted by nologo at 6:28 PM on August 3, 2015

WCBE in Columbus was excellent when I lived there. (15 years ago so YMMV.)
posted by Beti at 6:30 PM on August 3, 2015

Are you familiar with Public Radio Fan? Their program listing is pretty comprehensive.
posted by irisclara at 7:05 PM on August 3, 2015 [3 favorites]

You can listen to anything live, any time you want. Feel like The Moth? ATC? Fresh Air? Check out the amazing — it's like a TV guide for every public radio station, with live links so you can hear a live broadcast RIGHT NOW of whatever you're in the mood for. Best place to start is: "What's On Now: Non-Music." Happy listening!
posted by amoeba at 7:06 PM on August 3, 2015 [5 favorites]

All the shows that you mentioned liking, with the exception of Diane Rehm's show, are on on KQED out of San Francisco. The local morning show on KQED, Forum with Michael Krasny, has some cool topics with a West Coast emphasis. (LGBTQ topics, environmental topics, and maybe too much coverage on gentrification.) He's a skilled interviewer, but it is a call-in show, so it doesn't have quite the same chill flavor as Fresh Air.
posted by puddledork at 7:24 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Also suggest podcasts, but that doesn't so much work for everything. My schedule-shifting goes in order: WAMU, WBUR and WNYC. I also use the NPR One app to catch the news programming when I'm driving long distance.
posted by General Malaise at 7:56 PM on August 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

I liked Boston's schedule a lot. WBUR is the station. Tom Ashbrook and On Point were my favorite, but they don't air it outside of Boston -- at least in the other cities I have lived in. Not sure why. It's in a class with Fresh Air for me, even though the format of the show is different.
posted by AppleTurnover at 10:45 PM on August 3, 2015

I'm not sure what the different timezones would mean for schedules, but if you want to try international stations, try Radio4 from the BBC and RN from the(Australian) ABC.
posted by girlgenius at 11:51 PM on August 3, 2015

WBUR and WHYY would be my recommendations. Both play car talk, but only Saturday mornings as I recall.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 12:34 AM on August 4, 2015

I love KCRW for music and culture. For NPR/APM/PRI content KVCR is quite good. (It carries On Point, among other shows.)

I get KQED forum on podcast. Good topics, though the host can be overly focused on name dropping. The only thing I don't like about KQED is that it streams (iirc) at a low bitrate only.
posted by persona au gratin at 2:22 AM on August 4, 2015

WOSU in Columbus, OH has most of your likes and does not carry most of your dislikes, although evenings may not be great since its local news/talk (weekdays) or a local bluegrass show (weekend). Their schedule is here.
posted by noneuclidean at 7:58 AM on August 4, 2015

On Point with Tom Ashbrook on WBUR Boston, also available on streaming and podcast.
posted by incolorinred at 9:04 AM on August 4, 2015

WELH in Providence, RI doesn't play ANY radio drama shows (no PHC or god forbid the Colin McEnroe or Faith Middleton shows, blech, ptuey!), plays the national news shows and BBC, has a strong local story component and you get The Moth and Snap Judgment and only one pretentious food show.

They do have Car Talk on the weekends but I have the feeling you'd be hard pressed to find any NPR station that doesn't, so you can make a list of stations and toggle between them . Boston's WBUR probably also fits the bill, but I have a soft spot for Lil Rhody.
posted by Queen of Spreadable Fats at 10:38 AM on August 4, 2015

WRVO in Oswego covers all your bases, and of your dislikes I believe only has PHC and Car Talk. Although I usually just go the NPR app, enter the program I feel like listening, and can usually find it on air somewhere.
posted by lyssabee at 2:58 PM on August 4, 2015

A brief writeup of radio station streams I have bookmarked, copied from page I can't easily link:


Some radio streams, ordered by time in my life when they were important:

WNAX is one of the great old mid-American AM stations. It's been oprating since 1922. I remember it for the Five State Trader, the Neighbor Lady, and being the kind of station that carried Paul Harvey. Also a lot of weather and farm market stuff. These days when I hear it (and I'm listening to the stream right now), it's mostly right-wing talk radio in the modern style, though it still sounds like itself during the ad breaks.

KRNU is the UNL college station. I first heard a lot of indie rock and deliberate weirdness there.

KZUM is the community station in Lincoln. It's deeply weird in the way that all community stations seem to be, and idiosyncratic in the way of volunteer-run broadcast media in smallish urban-refuge-from-the-provinces markets. I'm pretty sure it was the first place I heard Democracy Now, but that doesn't really convey the full character of the thing. Like right now it's winding up two hours of Native American drum-and-group-vocals stuff, and I have vivid memories of driving to work and listening to this (daily? weekly? it happened over and over again) U2-only hour.

KGNU is Boulder's equivalent to KZUM. It's both a more professional exercise and perhaps a more predictable one, though it shares a lot of the implicit politics of a KZUM. Both stations, it pretty well goes without saying, get deeply weird late at night.

Radio 1190 is the local take on the low-power college indie radio thing. In keeping with type, it's often aggressively unlistenable in precisely the way that its core demographic is always seeking.


Well, all but the first are public, anyhow.
posted by brennen at 4:44 PM on August 4, 2015

+1 for WHYY!
posted by jshort at 6:05 PM on August 4, 2015

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