The radio has been around for so long that it’s blended into the background a bit, which is a travesty. Some of the best radio shows are actually on college radio stations. Not only can you discover obscure music, but you won’t be bombarded with ads—just PSAs and the occasional hiccup in airspace. Radio stations are also great for finding community—I’ve made good friends through my local radio station before—and experimenting with different forms of media.
See below for some of my favorite independent, curated radio shows that have grown to be vocal hugs throughout the years.
10. Yonic Boom on Hollow Earth Radio
Yonic Boom is a radio show that’s focused on skill sharing for self-identifying women who are interested in learning to spin or work with digital equipment. A rotating cast of DJs have regular spots on Mondays evenings from 6 PM-8 PM Pacific Time, playing mostly electronic, some hip hop, and some ambient (true to the PNW). Tune in anytime and discover a totally different sound from hour to hour. Hollow Earth has been around for years as an online radio station, and they recently received FM frequency in the Seattle area. This is an exciting time for the HER crew as they figure out the right move to maximize their business potential yet still retain their DIY aesthetic.
9. It is What it Is on radio meuh with Laurent Garnier
Laurent Garnier is famous now, but he used to be a radio DJ in Paris in the pre-Crispy Bacon era. Radio Nova is the famed Parisian electronic radio station, and his show there was on/off while he built up his name. Now, Garnier has a show on an online radio station based in La Clusaz called radio meuh. For reference, La Clusaz is in the Alps, right on the border of Switzerland and France. It’s cool to see how Garnier’s sound has evolved throughout the years. Listening can be difficult with the 7 hour time difference, but his archives are here.
8. etc. radio on WNUR with m50
m50 is a masterful selector, prolific producer, and all around cool guy. He’s been doing this show for over 15 years and started it up around the same time as Tim Sweeney started Beats in Space. I still think this show is better. Why? There’s less talk and more room for experimentation—one night he had Yohei Hibiki, a Japanese guest DJ and professional story teller, recount a ghost story live at midnight. Most of the music is techno and house, but there’s always room for jazz and ambient. Tune in on Friday nights at 11 PM Central Time, or listen to the archive here.
7. Greenhaus on rwd.fm with Jenn Green
Jenn Green does a show every Wednesday from 4-6 PST, showcasing electronic music from all over the world. Hailing from Detroit, making a pitstop for school in Chicago, and now based in Seattle, Jenn assisted DJ Alex Ruder for over a year at his overnight show on KEXP in 2014. She started the Greenhaus show in 2013, which is now three years old. Jenn was a nominee for the 2016 Best Online Radio Personality in the Mixcloud Online Radio Awards. Greenhaus is a chill interlude in the middle of the week.
6. Wo’ Pop on KEXP with Darek Mazzone
Every Tuesday from 6-9 PM PST, Darek takes listeners on a journey. True to the title of the show, you’ll mostly hear “world music”. I actually don’t like this genre name, because it was invented by the music industry in the 50s to carve out a market, and it’s not really accurate. Most of the music isn’t poppy, so don’t be put off by that word. Besides the music, my favorite part about this show is the intros from the artists in different languages saying “You’re listening to Wo’ Pop on KEXP”.
5. Destination Unknown with Kat O’Rly on WLUW
Kat’s show has been a mainstay on WLUW (Loyola University’s radio station) for a while. She has a great radio voice and showcases a bunch of well-known, new, and even classic music of the disco, techno, and house varieties. Tune in on Monday nights from 8 PM-10 PM PST. If you can’t listen in, the online archives are here.
4. Breakfast with Space Jam and Kroba on The Lot Radio
Mondays can be the worst, but not anymore. Space Jam opens up a new set every Monday from 8-9 AM EST (which is really early for us here on the West Coast) and Kroba goes from 9-10 AM. They archive the show every week online for anyone that can’t wake up that early; the goal is to lighten listeners’ loads and showcase eclectic sound combos—think Japanese ambient, Steely Dan, and chirping birds with flowing water, all in a timespan of two hours. Their mixing styles are totally different, but there’s no lag or disengagement in between sets. Broadcasting live from NYC, this show is a gem.
3. Wax N’ Cats with DJ Lgcc in Oakland
DJ Lgcc streams live from Maindrain Studios (also his label’s name) every Sunday afternoon at 2 PM Pacific Time with his cat in the background hopping all over everything except the turntables. Lgcc aka Justin does a tour almost every year, playing in venues, basements, living rooms, and DIY spots. Check him out if he’s in your area.
2. Destination Africa with DJ Edu on BBC
Disregarding my personal soft spot for African music, this BBC show is special because DJ Edu considers the culture of each country he visits. For example, he did a show about Zimbabwean club culture and discussed the geopolitical factors that make it necessary for young people to go to raves in fields and parking lots rather than clubs in urban centers. Even if you don’t plan on going to Africa, it’s important to know about the mother beat and recognize that Africa is where music originated. There’s so much wonderful art coming out of different parts of this continent, so props to BBC for letting listeners couch travel with them.
1. Positive Vibrations with Kid Hops on KEXP
There are few things better than waking up on Saturdays before noon and getting shit done while listening to reggae. Kid Hops knows this genre really well. Every time something happens in the real world, he ties in the power of resistance and struggle that’s so prevalent in reggae/dub to our ability as citizens to make a difference, no matter how small. Positive Vibrations is Seattle’s best weekend radio show.