What’s your favorite radio station or program?

Jim85IROC

Member
I've been a SiriusXM subscriber for many years because our local Albany NY radio stations are all horrible. On SiriusXM, the only shows that I'll actively seek out are the weekend top 30 countdowns on the 80s and 90s stations, and sometimes Trunk Nation. Eddie is way too much with his self promotion, but he plays some good music.

Years ago there used to be a show on Bluesville that I really liked, but it's long gone. It would feature a specific song, and would play multiple versions of that same song. I used to love hearing different artist renditions back to back of the same blues standards.
 

makeitstop

Member
Radio Paradise - Eclectic, commercial-free, and founded and maintained by Bill Goldsmith (and his wife Rebecca), the man who set up the very first streaming radio station at KPIG in Santa Cruz. 4 different streams, depending upon your mood. Excellent radio.
 
still listen to local station WCMF. it's classic rock and the joke has always been that they just never had to change their play list as they have been a rock station for the past 50 years. yes they play a lot of the same old tired crap you hear on any classic rock station however they do throw in some material that makes you do a double take as well. they did a block (3 songs) of the Grateful Dead the other day and was shocked that it wasn't Casey Jones, Truckin and Touch of Grey. not a fan so not sure what tunes they did play but i know i hadn't heard them before. how many stations still play (or ever did) The Good Rats? they do. worth checking out especially in the evening. they also have a no repeat ploicy so you don't hear Freebird 3 times every day
 

Triocd

Supporting Member
I got the old-time radio bite for the first time back in 1990, when I did my favourite uncle a favour and drove his car from upstate New York to his then-summer home in Fort Myers, Florida. (He eventually made Fort Myers his permanent home, until he and my aunt died within a year of each other in 2015-2016.) He left a couple of cassette tapes of old-time radio shows in the car, one was The Jack Benny Program and the other was Fibber McGee & Molly. I later found a couple of cassette sets of old-time radio and got a little hooked myself. Then came the Internet. And, my discovery that thousands of shows not only survived but were in the public domain and to be downloaded without any hassles.

My recommendations for you to get started---and keep in mind, at the link I provided you could get lost prowling around at all the treasure!---would be these:

Fred Allen---he was considered the comedian's comedian during his old-time radio heyday, especially the years he hosted the original Texaco Star Theater on CBS and, after a year off for his health (he suffered hypertension his entire life), The Fred Allen Show on NBC from 1945-49.

Jack Benny---One of a kind. And damn near everything he did in radio survives.

Easy Aces---A semi-serial comedy (too few survive but what does is remarkable) in which Goodman and Jane Ace fashioned her malaprops and his sense of the absurd (he wrote the show) into a kind of quiet, almost natural comedy (they and their cast didn't "act," and Ace invented a special card table with a microphone embedded in the middle and thus out of the way, so the company could just talk as if they'd talk while playing cards) which hooked around Jane Ace's facility for malaprops (her husband swore she was that way in real life) and Goodman's knack for coming up with malaprops for her that didn't just contort words. (Typical were Congress is back in season; I'll have it ready in a jitney; You could have knocked me over with a fender; This is the land of milk and money; and I've always wanted to see my name in tights.)

[Trivia: Goodman Ace eventually was tapped by CBS to create and run a kind of training school for comedy writers; his students included Neil Simon and Simon's brother Danny. When the network closed the school a couple of years after it began, a network honcho who supported Ace's endeavour told him, "I'll tell you a little secret---this networks doesn't have anyone else who understands comedy." Ace replied, "I'll tell you a little secret---that's no secret."]

Fibber McGee & Molly---What began as a rural traveling series of sketches became the prototype for what became the situation comedy, masterminded by a husband-and-wife acting team (Jim and Marian Jordan) and written by a master comic writer (Don Quinn) and delivered so warmly and affectionately you could make the case that, when they moved from Chicago to Los Angeles and began doing the show out of NBC's Hollywood studios, they showed the city slickers how radio could and should be done. And, just like Jack Benny, almost their entire run from 1934 through 1959---with only the major change of converting from a weekly half-hour show to a five-day-a-week, fifteen-minute, five-part story comedy starting in 1953---has survived. The supporting characters---Mayor La Trivia, Gildersleeve, the Old Time, Teeny the little girl, Horatio Boomer, Dr. Gamble---are almost as memorable (and legendary) as the main attraction.

The Great Gildersleeve---The first successful spin-off show in broadcast history, with Harold Peary taking his pompous Fibber McGee & Molly character to a new town to work as its water commissioner and finish raising his orphaned niece and nephew. His supporting characters (cantankerous Judge Hooker, indifferent druggist Peavey, full-of-herself love interest Leila Ransom, definitively undeferential black housekeeper Birdie, etc.) became almost as fabled as those on the show where he was born.

Lux Radio Theater---The absolute best of the numerous radio shows that adapted hit films and stage productions to broadcast. The entire run just about survives, but the years during which Hollywood legend Cecil B. DeMille hosted the show are considered the classic Lux.

The Burns & Allen Show---Especially the "Gracie for President" stunt in 1940, and after the show format changed as the couple aged but could no longer get away with their original flirt act because they were long married by then.

The Henry Morgan Show---Morgan was sort of the George Carlin of old-time radio, a wit who couldn't have cared less about comedy conventions and wasn't above zapping even his own sponsors. (It began with a fifteen-minute almost entirely improvised exercise, Here's Morgan, sponsored by a regional shoe store chain; Morgan so often made jokes about "Old Man Adler" that when the chain was ready to dump him they discovered customers flocking to their stores asking to meet Old Man Adler! The gag didn't endure and neither did Morgan under Adler's sponsorship, alas, but he had more innings yet to play.) Not much of his shows have survived but what did survive is priceless.

Information, Please---Radio's brainiest quiz show could also be and usually was chock full of wit.

Gunsmoke---If you remember the television hit, be forewarned: the radio original beats it hollow and makes it sound like an exercise in stupid . . . even though the TV version often adapted and remade scripts from the radio original. (Future The Fugitive narrator and Cannon star William Conrad played Marshal Dillon; the radio cast wasn't even a topic for the television version, but they were better actors.) To me it was one of the two most intelligently written and performed Westerns in radio, the other being . . .

The Six Shooter---With James Stewart as a laconic drifter plains drifter who preferred reason to drawing his well-described pistol, this show that lasted a mere single season was probably the most intelligent Western radio ever yielded. A real treat: the show's Western style remake of a Dickens classic, in an episode called "Britt Ponset's Christmas Carol."

Dragnet---Every radio buff starts here when it comes to old-time radio crime dramas, and practically the entire radio run survives. But don't stay there, because as good as it was (and "The .22 Rifle for Christmas" and "The Big Little Jesus" remain classics) there was one better around the same time (early 1950s):

Broadway is My Beat---Maybe the single most realistic crime drama in radio. Even the sound made you think you really were out on the beat with Manhattan detective Danny Clover.

The Whistler---Born in 1942 and stood the crime drama convention on its head: the often snickering title narrator (I am the Whistler, and I know many things for I walk by night, began his once-famous introduction) began by telling you whodunit---or who most likely dunit---and then took you through the series of events that led to the crime. (Jack Benny did a hilarious parody of the show in his episode, "The Fiddler.")

Hear It Now---CBS News legend Edward R. Murrow's originally weekly magazine, which began in radio before becoming television's groundbreaking See It Now.

World War II News---Trainloads of newscasts and clips from World War II and its run-up survive. Pay particular attention to CBS World News Today from those years (and the few that survived from its predecessor program, CBS European News); that program, especially, puts you practically in the American living room of the time tracking the progress of the war right down to the Japanese surrender. And, pay attention to just about the entire first day of the D-Day invasion in 1944. And look for such legendary wartime commentators as Murrow, Elmer Davis, H.V. Kaltenborn, Gabriel Heatter, and Drew Pearson.

Bob & Ray Present the CBS Radio Network---The master comic improvisors were never better than the two years they did this daily fifteen-minute daytime exercise on CBS in 1959-60. Most of the bits for which they're best remembered are present: Smelly Dave the touring dead whale; on-the-edge-of-a-breakdown reporter Arthur Shrank; sci-fi satire "Lawrence Fechtenberger, Interstellar Officer Candidate" (sponsored invariably by "Chocolate cookies with white stuff in the middle"); the soap opera parodies "One Fella's Family" and "Mary Backstage, Noble Wife"; Wally Ballou, the on-the-scene reporter who never quite actually got to the full story; and more.

NBC Words at War---A brilliant half-hour anthology that aired during World War II and dramatised significant books written during and about the war.

Norman Corwin---Perhaps radio's greatest dramatist as a writer and director. Anything under his name should be heard, particularly from his two series Columbia Presents Corwin and Twenty-Six By Corwin, not to mention his wartime masterpieces "We Hold These Truths" (on the anniversary of the Bill of Rights---just after Pearl Harbour) and "On a Note of Triumph." Not to mention his holiday classic, "The Plot to Overthrow Christmas."

Quiet Please---Radio's greatest psychological thriller (though you have to strain to listen to the two-year-old series, since the surviving transcription discs proved in poor condition too often) and, arguably, the father of The Twilight Zone.

You Bet Your Life---The secret word is Groucho. ;)
Thanks those are good descriptions. I might start with the ww2 news. That must be fascinating listening to what people were hearing for the first time pretty much live
 

ZeyerGTR

Member
Live on WUCF (Central Florida), Saturday nights at 8pm: Smokestack Lightnin' - 3-4 hours of new blues. I tune in when I can. They also stream:
http://www.smokestacklightnin.com/

I like that they cover a pretty wide spectrum of blues - from acoustic country blues to modern blues/rock to 'traditional' Chicago Blues purists to classic-rock-artists-doing-a-blues-album to heavily gospel-influenced blues.

I used to listen to Little Steven's Underground Garage on the local classic rock station, but that was probably 15 years ago now. The station converted to talk and I haven't heard the show since, but i really enjoyed it. I just searched... I should give it a listen, I can't believe how long it's been.
http://undergroundgarage.com/
 

mad dog

Silver Supporting Member
I listen to radio often. Favorite stations now: WFMU, upsala college radio in NJ. The college is gone, but the station remains. Too many excellent (and strange) programs to list. And WKCR, from Columbia University in NY. IMO, the best jazz programs on radio, and quite a bit more. Including excellent classical, new music, electronica, a great variety of good stuff.
 

Machew

Member
93.3 HD2 is called Punk Taco. It's been a really good station from Denver. Although I can only tune it in, in my 4 runner not my F150.
 

fuzz_factor

Supporting Member
KMHD, Portland's local jazz station, and All Classical, our local classical station are my favorites. Both are streaming too: kmhd.org and allclassical.org. I love radio, but all the corporate BS has ruined rock radio (hey, let's only play the same 20 songs over and over and over).
 

Fatherflot

Member
I listen to radio often. Favorite stations now: WFMU, upsala college radio in NJ. The college is gone, but the station remains. Too many excellent (and strange) programs to list. And WKCR, from Columbia University in NY. IMO, the best jazz programs on radio, and quite a bit more. Including excellent classical, new music, electronica, a great variety of good stuff.
WFMU began life as the Upsala College radio station. But the school went bankrupt in 1995. The DJs formed a nonprofit corporation and bought the entire station, transmitter, FCC license and all. It's been a completely independent entity since. Though the call signal still mentions East Orange (where Upsala was), the studios have been in Jersey City since 1998. No institutional affiliation, no government support, no commercial underwriting --- just listener support. (OK, they did get a Rockefeller Foundation grant for a specific special project in 2006)

The 2015 documentary film, Sex and Broadcasting: A Film about WFMU, tells the station's story.

 

PorkChop

Member
KXLU 88.9 in Los Angeles. College radio has been my go to for over 30 years. I have XM for when I can’t handle the classical, sound collages, 50s radio jingles or Yoko Ono they happen to be spinning at the time.
 
I guess I'll be the cheesy one but yes I used to listen to Dee Snider's House of Hair when a local station carried it. Haven't heard it in years though, don't even know if it still exists. Alice Cooper had a show as well I listened to occasionally.

Our radio stations are all just boosters for preprogrammed music originating on either coast. They even advertise caller sweepstakes like it's right there in your hometown when it's really not...

My ex wife's father was a DJ in the 80s and early 90s and I'm not sure he was supposed to keep them but he had stacks of albums that were Casey Casem and Rick Dees weekly top 40 show. The whole program including commercials were recorded on vinyl and sent to the radio stations and every station was supposed to drop the needle at approximately the same time across the country.
 
95.3 fm Harvard radio : The Record Hospital. garage, rockabilly, punk, noise. They used to do a Mothers Day Marathon, also known for the Double Doughnut. 12am till dawn.
 

paulbearer

Member
I’m looking into starting to listen to some new stations at work via the web. My favorite local station is wers, Emerson college radio out of Boston. Such a good station. Typical new rock music with all the classic songs but no classic rock. The djs are really down to earth. They do morning news to. Some djs are college kids so it’s funny listening them pronounce local towns when they are obviously from somewhere else.

Wumb is similar out of Umass Boston but isn’t quite as good and the signal isn’t as strong. I love them on the weekend though for highway 61 revisited and folk tales. Both very well done shows about music history.

I started listening to kexp this week at work and I like the music a lot. I’m into rock and indie stuff.

Any other radio programs out there that are good?
WZBC-FM 90.3, BC's station had evening programming called 'No Commercial Potential' (thanks Frank). Not sure if it's still running but it was the best new format for picking up the most creative stuff. *edit - still running:
https://www.wzbc.org/after-hours-ncp
The other part of the day they also coined the term "Modern Rock" back in the early 80s, which became a global commercial format a few years down the road (hello 'pioneer' KITS-FM/SF).
 


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