A lot of people, especially many of my middle-aged peers, complain that there is no good music on the radio. Often this is the excuse provided by people who no longer let music into their lives in a meaningful way. Wrong! There is still exciting new music being made and there is still good music on the radio, you just need to search around a bit. The trick is to not waste your time with the commercial stations.
KECG, World One Radio 88.1 FM El Cerrito and 97.7 San Pablo (accessible in much of the East Bay)
World One Radio is a non-commercial radio station that "...presents a broad cultural palette of eclectic and earthnic musics, dance, ideation, and dialogue..,We seek to artfully create and present information, art, and technology in edutaining ways to promote creative and constructive musiculture, spirit, social engagement, ecology, economy, use of technology, and ultimately, mind..." World One Radio
The station features an eclectic mix of music from around the world, with plenty of reggae, Soul/R&B and much more. They emphasize "positivity" and so-called "conscious" music on this station, so you will not find much abrasive or hard music such as the harder styles of rap, rock, jazz, electronic or experimental music. The DJs often interject their "positive" messages of peace and unity, which can be a bit much at times. The station works with a small palette, but most of the music is pleasant without being too saccharine or commercial.
The people behind the station also produce the annual free World One Festival and concert in El Cerrito around the Fourth of July.
You can find more information or listen to the station on-line at World One Radio.
Behind the News features journalist and economic analyst Doug Henwood discussing current political and economic events from a highly informed and compassionate lefty perspective. Knowledge of economics is not required since Henwood is adept at clearly providing background information on his topics so they can be easily understood.
Per Wikipedia "..Behind the News features interviews with activists, intellectuals and academics, preceded by a summary of recent economic headlines. Notable former guests include Noam Chomsky, James K. Galbraith, Christopher Hitchens, Lewis H. Lapham, George McGovern, Joseph Stiglitz, Gore Vidal, Yanis Varoufakis, and Slavoj Žižek...Doug Henwood is an American journalist, economic analyst, and financial trader who writes frequently about economic affairs. He publishes a newsletter, Left Business Observer, that analyzes economics and politics from a left-wing perspective, is co-owner and co-editor, along with Phillipa Dunne, of The Liscio Report, an independent newsletter focusing on macroeconomic analysis, and is a contributing editor at The Nation...His writing has also appeared in The Nation, Harper's Magazine, Grand Street, Village Voice, Newsday, the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, and Extra!.." Wikipedia
You can find more information or listen to the station on-line at KPFA.
Here's a list of the San Francisco Bay Area's best radio stations and a weekly schedule of the best music shows. Note: there may be some good stations that I can't receive in my area and there are probably some good shows that I don't know about. By the way, many of these stations are available in streaming form on the internet. If you like my tastes and know of something good, let me know.
KECG, World One Radio, 88.1 FM El Cerrito and 97.7 San Pablo World One Radio
The station features an eclectic mix of music from around the world, with plenty of reggae, Soul/R&B and much more. They emphasise "positivity" and so-called "conscious" music on this station, so you will not find much abrasive or hard music such as the harder styles of rap, rock, jazz, electronic or experimental music. The station works with a small palette, but most of the music is pleasant without being too saccharine or commercial.
KPOO- 89.5 FM, www.kpoo.com
This is one of the few truly independent community stations left in the U.S. They tend towards African American music forms including rap, R&B, jazz and blues, but the station can be quite eclectic. Sometimes they ramble on way too much, but you can often catch some good music here.
KALX-90.7 FM, http://kalx.berkeley.edu
The U.C. Berkeley station may have the most hours of good music of any local station, fortunately they keep their mostly not-so-hot talk and news shows to a minimum. Being a college station they play mostly recent rock, electronica and rap but they can be surprisingly eclectic and often pretty tasty.
KALW-91.7 FM, www.kalw.org
This station is operated by the San Francisco Unified school District, but the only evidence of that is live coverage of Board of Education meetings. They mostly feature NPR-type programming but at night (mostly) they break out of the mold with some good local music and discussion shows.
KCSM-91.0 FM http://kcsm.org/jazz91/index.php
The college of San Mateo's station sticks to straight ahead jazz. They are usually pleasant and tasteful, but often stuffy and bland. However, they do have some good specialty shows at night and on weekends. At least they stay away from that crappy "smooth" or 'lite' style fake-jazz muzak which can cause serious brain damage. If you didn't know much about jazz, listening to KCSM on weekday daytimes would probably convince you that its a pretty drab genre. Catch the Saturday afternoon jazz shows on KPFA and you'll hear that jazz is still moving forward into innovative and exciting new directions.
KPFA-94.1 FM, www.kpfa.org
Part of the leftist Pacifica network, this station emphasizes news and public affairs programming. The quality of the news and public affairs shows ranges from excellent to pathetic. Don't expect unbiased presentations, they wear their convictions on their sleeves, which can be refreshingly honest. Music is mostly relegated to the evenings and weekends, but the programmers tend to be very knowledgeable and selective. There is a good variety of music, much of it quite avant, although they generally don't get into more youth-oriented styles.
9:30pm-10pm, KPFA, 94.1 FM
Joe Frank-Not exactly music, but definitely art, this strange shows features stories and other literature, found voice recordings and music.
10am-Midnight, KALW, 91.7 FM
Music from the Hearts of Space-The name says it all. The host features spacey-ambient music that is interesting and avoids the syrupy new age crap.
Monday through Friday
11am-Noon, KPFA, 94.1 FM
Music of the World
10pm-Midnight, KPFA, 94.1 FM
Off the Beaten Path-Breaks, Beats and Frequencies-This is one of my favorite shows, featuring ambient electonica, dub and more.
Tuesdays (actually Wednesday early AM)
Midnight-1:30 am, KPFA, 94.1 FM
No Other Radio-experimental, industrial etc.
9pm-11am, KALW, 91.7 FM
Africa Mix-Vintage and contemporary sounds from Abidjan to Zimbabwe, the Caribbean, Latin America, and beyond.
Noon-1pm KPFA 94.1
Behind the News-Journalist and economic analyst Doug Henwood discusses current political and economic events from a highly informed and compassionate lefty perspective
Midnight-2am (actually early Friday AM) (except on the first week of the month), KPFA, 94.1 FM
Over the Edge-Receptable programming. Often featuring members of Negativland, this show blends multiple layers of sounds with listeners participating by phone. Very weird.
7:30pm-8pm, KALW, 91.7 FM
Counterspin-A critical examination of the major stories of the week, exposing what the mainstream media might have missed. Produced by FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting.)
10am-2pm, KPFA, 94.1FM
The History of Funk
11pm-Midnight, KALW, 91.7 FM
Music from Other Minds-New and unusual music by innovative composers and performers around the world.
11am-2pm, KPFA, 94.1FM
Blues by the Bay
2-4pm, KPFA, 94.1 FM
Point of Departure: Timeless music "sometimes conveniently described as jazz." Miles, Mingus, Monk, Duke, Sun Ra, Coltra...
4-6pm, KPFA, 94.1 FM
In your Ear: A cool fusion of jazz and Latin music,
6:30pm-7pm, KPFA, 94.1 FM
Indie Landscapes: Current rock and electronic from arond the world,
8pm-Midnight, KALW, 91.7 FM
Tangents-genre bending radio-Another of my favorite shows
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