As an artist, music is an essential part of my creative process. I can't work in silence, and radio DJs have become my most trusted companions during my art-making. Unlike algorithmic music recommendations, radio DJs offer a unique and intimate experience that exposes me to new genres, artists, and songs from different eras. Their personal insights and stories take me on a journey through music, and I feel like I'm having a deep and meaningful conversation with a friend. It's the human element that makes radio so special and has kept me hooked for years.
Here are three of my favorite radio stations that showcase the power of live DJs:
This station is known for its exceptional rock programming, with a special emphasis on noise and experimental music. The DJs here are not afraid to take risks and play music that might be considered too unconventional for other stations. After years of listening, I really do have a deep love of noise music now. They also feature engaging talk shows that cover a wide range of topics, mostly young kids talking about shows they went to. These same young kids will call songs I grew up with “vintage”, so nostalgic and fun! They also showcase local musicians I love like Matt Duncan and Rainbow Star. This has been my favorite radio station for a million years.
KEXP's "You're Not Alone" campaign is a testament to the power of music to bring people together. The station is dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusivity, and their DJs are passionate about sharing music that speaks to a wide range of listeners. Larry Mizell Jr. is one of my favorite DJs, with deep dives into music history including the history of songs sampled for current songs. Almost all the DJs only play the full-length versions of songs- no radio edits.
Known for their epic DJs like Sex 14’s, Cherry Pie, Tumbleweed, Mixtress 9, Excuse my French and Little Citrus, KALX is a must-listen for anyone who appreciates the art of DJing. The station features a diverse range of programming, from indie rock to hip hop to world music. Their DJs have a deep knowledge of music and are skilled at creating playlists that take listeners on a journey. KALX is a true gem in the world of college radio.
We can now access local radio stations from around the world, allowing us to discover new music and connect with local communities. Radio stations like WRFL Lexington, KEXP Seattle, KALX Berkeley, and many others provide us with a unique opportunity to broaden our musical horizons and gain a deeper understanding of different cultures through their music. This connectivity through radio stations is a privilege that we should take advantage of, regardless of our location. What are some of your local and favorite radio stations?! Leave it in the comments.