International radio stations
September 25, 2007 5:45 PM   Subscribe

What are the best (eclectic, not so commercial) radio stations in the world?

I've become a pretty big fan of the giant online-streams-of-terrestrial-radio link repository, but am finding it hard to sift through the scads and scads of radio stations it lists. Given that I like radio stations along the lines of my city's KDHX (i.e. independently-owned, not cheesy or commercial, eclectic, good mix of nationally-specific music like blues, with new, interesting, and obscure rock/hip-hop/electronic/etc.), does anyone know of some particularly good, similar radio stations abroad (or in the U.S., for that matter)? Thanks!
posted by stleric to Media & Arts (62 answers total) 63 users marked this as a favorite
WFMU is consistently excellent.
posted by nixxon at 5:47 PM on September 25, 2007

Damn, I was about to suggest KDHX, but you've got that one covered...
posted by notsnot at 5:50 PM on September 25, 2007

Response by poster: (I love WFMU's blog! I've found so many wonderfully bizarre things on there.)
posted by stleric at 5:52 PM on September 25, 2007

WHRB has introduced me to some great stuff over the years.
posted by ryanshepard at 5:56 PM on September 25, 2007

Resonance FM. Epically odd. Music, spoken word, ambient noise, people making banging noises with little apparent provocation. Great.
posted by flashboy at 5:57 PM on September 25, 2007

Best answer: If you haven't seen it before, check out Some of my favorites are WWOZ, WNCW, KCRW, WYEP, WEMU, all of which have great blues and eclectic programing in general.
posted by Pressed Rat at 6:01 PM on September 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

i love wfuv, out of fordham university in new york.
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:01 PM on September 25, 2007

WYEP here in Pittsburgh isn't perfect but 100X better than any commercial station here.
posted by octothorpe at 6:02 PM on September 25, 2007

Oh, and thanks for asking this. I'll be checking out the other responses.
posted by octothorpe at 6:05 PM on September 25, 2007

Response by poster: Ooh, looks like a pickier version of Thanks, Pressed Rat!
posted by stleric at 6:05 PM on September 25, 2007

KFAI here in Minneapolis is another great independent commununity station, and also a previous thread that may help.
posted by wheelieman at 6:07 PM on September 25, 2007

Depending on your tolerance for college DJs, Radio K is usually good. The weekends provide more specialty shows (and more experienced hosts).

KFAI has more scheduled programming, some of which may interest you, some of which may not. For a while they had the slogan, "Music so diverse even we don't like half of it." Accurate.
posted by iwhitney at 6:07 PM on September 25, 2007

Home of World Cafe Live, WXPN.
posted by edverb at 6:08 PM on September 25, 2007

WNCW, a public radio station out of North Carolina, is my favorite. Great eclectic mix of music including folk, blues, bluegrass, jazz, and rock.
posted by Daily Alice at 6:08 PM on September 25, 2007

Chicago's WLUW is an excellent college community station.
posted by rabbitsnake at 6:10 PM on September 25, 2007

I find Radio Paradise to be reliably great. Very wide mix of genres, lots of world music, the occasional classical piece. Also, it's listener supported.

Great question!
posted by Calibandage at 6:12 PM on September 25, 2007

The Berklee Internet Radio Network BIRN
posted by hortense at 6:16 PM on September 25, 2007

It's a college radio station, but its a broadcasting and arts college, so the broadcasting and production is much more professional than other college stations. May I humbly suggest WERS. There's a great reggae show in the evenings, and followed up afterwards with one of the best underground hip-hop shows I've ever heard.
posted by diggerroo at 6:21 PM on September 25, 2007

I'll throw in a vote for Seattle's listener-supported KEXP.
posted by Roach at 6:23 PM on September 25, 2007

WMNF is an outstanding little radio station, and I'm not just saying that because I grew up in the record library. (I grew up in the pledge room.)
posted by cmyk at 6:24 PM on September 25, 2007

Seconding both WXPN and Radio Paradise.
posted by shallowcenter at 6:28 PM on September 25, 2007

Going to second WNCW in Western Carolina and add Atlanta's WRAS, 88.5, Georgia State University's take on the non-commercial...With much love for "hush-hush", "soul kitchen" and "cow-tipper's delight".
posted by priested at 7:13 PM on September 25, 2007

Best answer: fBi radio in Sydney, Australia. Community radio station that plays underground, alternative music. Their policy is 50% australian music, and half of that from Sydney. Plus they stream online too.
posted by robotot at 7:16 PM on September 25, 2007

KHEN in Salida, Colorado.
posted by itstheclamsname at 7:17 PM on September 25, 2007

I'll throw in a 2nd for KEXP.
Minnesota Public Radio's The Current is pretty good too.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 7:29 PM on September 25, 2007

WPKN/WPKM Bridgeport (CT)/Mantauk (LI). TOTALLY listener-sponsored. They run the whole shmear for $200k/year. Very eclectic programming.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:30 PM on September 25, 2007

I like KGNU out of Boulder, CO
posted by LakesideOrion at 7:42 PM on September 25, 2007

I'm representing for the Cincinnati indie rock legend: woxy. It was a real deal tune into it radio station for awhile, then online only, and now will be back on the airwaves AND online. It's awesome.
posted by banannafish at 7:42 PM on September 25, 2007

Oh... and of course, let's not forget the once proud "Future of Rock and Roll"
posted by LakesideOrion at 7:44 PM on September 25, 2007

RRR, in Melbourne Australia. It's subscriber (ie listener) funded. Excellent general alternative music, Australian music, special interest (ie science, medicine, architecture, sports science, arts etc) shows.
posted by tim_in_oz at 7:44 PM on September 25, 2007

Nobody's said BBC Radio1 yet? Are you kidding me?
posted by forallmankind at 7:44 PM on September 25, 2007

Beat me to it!
posted by LakesideOrion at 7:44 PM on September 25, 2007

KXCI is an eclectic radio station in Tucson, AZ that has some interesting shows like Onda Suave.
posted by calumet43 at 7:47 PM on September 25, 2007

KGSR in Austin.
posted by ColdChef at 8:10 PM on September 25, 2007

seconding fBi Sydney.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:24 PM on September 25, 2007

Wow, great question, I am excited to check some of these out.

I'll throw out a vote for KZMU in Moab, Utah. You can find several other similar community radio stations via the GrassRoots Radio Coalition, many of which have online streams.
posted by wick47 at 8:36 PM on September 25, 2007

PBS in Melbourne, and second RRR there too.
posted by strawberryviagra at 8:38 PM on September 25, 2007, Freeform Ann Arbor.
posted by klangklangston at 8:39 PM on September 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

Seconding KXCI in Tucson. It pretty much rules, especially for Native American music.
posted by arianell at 8:41 PM on September 25, 2007

WWOZ in New Orleans is a great public radio station.
posted by wsg at 8:42 PM on September 25, 2007

Boston has great radio. Sigh.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 8:50 PM on September 25, 2007

Seconding Radio Paradise.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:04 PM on September 25, 2007

8-milionth'ing WFMU. Nothing really comes close. They aren't annoyingly "eclectic" for eclectic's sake (i.e. Radio Paradise) or pseudo-"eclectic"--read BORING--and self-consciously hip (i.e., KCRW), and with a few rare exceptions, you can really tell that the music that each respective DJ plays is truly played out of a love and appreciation for the song or band.

But you'll often even hear DJs second guessing some of their song selections, right on the air. The first time I heard an FMU DJ basically admit that one of the tracks they just played kinda sucked, I was an instant fan.

There is a 100% chance that you won't like everything that a particular DJ spins at any given fact, there's a good chance that there will be times when you'll hate what you're hearing so much that you'll need to turn down the volume. But in not trying to cater to the lowest common denominator of listenership, you end up discovering some of the most wonderful, exciting music that you'll never hear on most other stations.

And if reading WFMU's Wikipedia entry doesn't convince you that WFMU is truly something very, very special, then please don't tell me...because it will sadden me greatly.
posted by melorama at 9:41 PM on September 25, 2007 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I love 95bfm, Auckland's university radio station. It is rather eclectic, intelligent and (I think) brilliant.
posted by teststrip at 9:44 PM on September 25, 2007

KDVS is UC Davis' famously indie "you heard it here first-or-possibly-ever-at-all" station. If that sounds super-annoying it can be, but bear in mind that former DJs include Blacklacious, Lyrics Born, DJ Shadow, one-of-the-guys-from-Cake et al.

If they ever dredge up the "Not So Siskel and Ebert Radio Hour" from the vaults and digitize it? It'll make my year.
posted by fshgrl at 10:34 PM on September 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

I can't believe only bananafish has mentioned WOXY so far. Definitely my favorite. Eclectic but not annoying. Great mix.
posted by radioamy at 10:51 PM on September 25, 2007

You might like BBC 6music.
posted by Luddite at 2:42 AM on September 26, 2007

France's Radio Nova is my current internet radio station of choice
posted by ascullion at 2:58 AM on September 26, 2007

WVFS, Tallahassee
posted by methylsalicylate at 3:04 AM on September 26, 2007

KSPC, Claremont, CA. It's mostly college rock-ish on weekdays, but there's also some different stuff nights and weekends--reggae, underground hip-hop, jazz, polka, video game music.
posted by equalpants at 4:45 AM on September 26, 2007

Seconding PBS and RRR for music; ABC Radio National for thought-provoking talk.
posted by flabdablet at 4:58 AM on September 26, 2007

WERU in Blue Hill, Maine.
posted by JanetLand at 5:32 AM on September 26, 2007

A big second vote for WXPN out of Philly.
posted by lpsguy at 5:36 AM on September 26, 2007

Thirding WWOZ - once I found it, I stopped listening to anything else. Great blues, jazz, funk and general New Orleans awesomeness. I listen all day at work and even send them dough because they make me so happy. I've bought all sorts of obscure CDs because I heard a song on that station and even ended up in email conversations with some of the musicians.

The only drawback is that every two hours, they do a rundown of all the shows playing that night in town and it's really best to mute the radio then because otherwise you might start checking last minute airfares.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:51 AM on September 26, 2007

Seconding WPKN. Thursday morning's "Radio Nothing" show is excellent and eclectic to boot, and Wednesday morning's African music/Reggae show is also quite good and not something you hear every day.
posted by reptile at 6:56 AM on September 26, 2007

WPRB out of Princeton New Jersey keeps me reasonably satisfied on the long hard Jersey turnpike and delivers you safely into the hands of WFMU.
posted by modernpoverty at 12:14 PM on September 26, 2007

WREK, Georgia Tech's station, is pretty decent - but I only tune in to their overnight programming (which is wonderfully diverse and bizarre).

Much, much love for WFMU too!
posted by Neilopolis at 3:34 PM on September 26, 2007

Minnesota Public Radio's The Current.
posted by yogurtisgenocide at 12:03 PM on September 27, 2007

What? No love yet for CBC Radio 3's Canadian rock?
posted by papafrita at 7:34 PM on September 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

Getting in late, but I want to mention my favorite WDVX, a grass roots station based in Knoxville, TN playing (from its website) "Bluegrass, Americana, Classic Country, Alternative Country, Western Swing, Blues, Old Time and Traditional Mountain Music, Bluegrass Gospel, Celtic, and Folk... a little roots music from other parts of the world as well as some good old rock and roll ..." They also have live performances by local groups nearly every day at noon, eastern standard time.
posted by frobozz at 4:53 PM on September 30, 2007

Los Angeles: KCRW KPCC
posted by dhammond at 5:17 PM on September 30, 2007

WMUB has an eclectic show, "Almost Monday," that they play 6-9 pm EST Sunday evenings. I haven't tuned in since I moved away, but it was my favorite music show ever. When I tuned in, they played a mix of stuff from Nickel Creek (newgrass) to Lizz Wright (jazz/neosoul).
posted by Tehanu at 12:29 PM on October 1, 2007

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