Offbeat Radio in Greater Boston

College, independent, low power and public stations

As Clear Channel takes over our airwaves, I thought I'd make up a list of who on the Boston, Cambridge, et environs radio dial still plays REAL music for real people with real djs -- not corporate, computer-driven crapola.

Nerdy College Stations

Fairly low-power, so a good antenna or good location is key, but all the exciting stuff gets played on these stations, mark my words.

88.9 WERS Emerson College Radio - Location: Boston; Transmitter: unknown; Website. This arts college station has a very eclectic playlist; you'll never be bored.

100.1 WBRS Brandeis University Radio - Location: Waltham; Transmitter: unknown; Website. Plays a lot of undistinguished jazz/blues and crummy local bands, but notable for Yiddish programming and a few other good hours.

95.3 WHRB Harvard University Radio - Location: Cambridge; Transmitter: unknown; Website. Nice classical station -- if only they had better range.

Other Boston college radio stations include: MIT 88.1 FM WMBR Cambridge, BC 90.3 FM WZBC Chestnut Hill (Newton), Northeastern 104.9 FM WRBB Roxbury (Boston), and sharing the same 91.5 FM, Wellesley College in Wellesley and Tufts University in Davis Square, Somerville.

Public Radio

Not all public radio is created equal. Here's what I recommend:

89.7 WGBH - Location: Allston (Boston); Website. Sister station to TV station WGBH 2 (PBS). Still plays Morning Pro Musica, as well as some really neat jazz, and a few hours of NPR and BBC news programming.

90.0 WUMB - Location: Boston; Worcester; (see website for full list). Website Boston Folk Radio. Sadly, they don't play folk and old-time music all the time--their evening line-up is their frankly rather boring "World Cafe." However, when they are playing folk (check the schedule on the website) they are a welcome respite from the soulless uniformity across the dial.

WBUR, of course, is the NPR News/BBC Channel, or rather that's what they choose to be. On Sunday mornings, however, they go back to their roots and broadcast the mass from the BU Chapel. The music, provided by students, with organ, is quite lovely; the usual deacon's sermons suck, though.

Stations That Suck

102.5 WCRB Classical Radio Boston - Charles River Broadcasting proudly plays classical top 40 mood music for doctor's offices across the near-Boston end of MetroWest. Oh, years and years ago they introduced me to joys of classical, but bit by bit they replaced original, engaging programming with the classical equivalent of smooth jazz. Sure, they have every oriental rug dealer in the state advertizing with them, but what good is that when you have lost your listeners?

"Jam'n" 94.5 and "KISS" 108 - No, I'm not out to dis anyone's music. Wake up, people! These stations are owned by Clear Channel. They are identical to other "Jam'n" and "KISS" stations across the country. They are vehicles to make money for the big content distributors. As a listener, you are being ripped off.

Nerdcore info on your Boston radio dial:

The Boston Radio Dial - Frequency Modulation - Amplitude Modulation

Document created 6.21.2003. Last modified Friday, 02-Nov-2007 22:02:26 EDT.