Recommended Radio

My personal “sound salvation”s, these are the presets and “favorites” I gravitate to most often on the invaluable Squeezebox internet radio device in the kitchen:

AM 1710 Antioch (Old Time Radio, programmed as close to the day and time of year that the shows were originally broadcast as possible.) Everything from Lux Radio Theater and The Whistler (my favorites, for the sheer variety of them) to Green Hornet serials to mainstream classics like Jack Benny and Fibber McGee & Molly.

Ancient FM (Stonehengey mood music)

Audio Noir Radio (Old Time Radio, but only the mystery and detective side—Dragnet, Johnny Dollar, Broadway is My Beat…)

BBC Radio 4: By far the channel I listen to most: The news-based Friday night comedy shows, the morning Today program, and especially The Archers and Afternoon Play. BBC Radio 7, an internet-only network which rotates reruns old entertainment programs from The Goon Show to Dr. Who and beyond (Viv Stanshall!) comes in second place. I really like the contemporary feel of Radio 4—that interesting drama and current-events radio comedy is still being so well produced. David Hare has an outrage, he writes a play for the BBC. I feel more connected to the world through British radio than through anything I’ve ever heard on the American airwaves. (Harry Shearer’s Le Show excepted.)

Beatles A Rama (This one’s started to bug us, with way too much non-Beatles programming, with much of it—Creedence Clearwater Revival, various New Romantics bands—an affont to the Fab spirit.

Dinner Jazz Excursion (I take this title at its word, and listen while cooking and eating)

Disney Radio (I find streams of upbeat studio pop to be exhilarating and comforting while doing housework. This network also restores the thrill of hearing a pop superstar stop by the radio station to plug their new projects—as long as the stars are The Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato or other Disney properties. )

Fresh Air (College indie rock from Edinburgh, Scotland)

FolkAlley (Acceptable in small doses, but after a while it makes you feel like you have to grow a beard)

Fun Kids (Not always fun; due to time differences from the UK, we hear naptime lullabies at breakfast time, and disco/soul in the afternoons)

KALX (California community radio. We listen for the Saturday afternoon disk jockey stylings of Lew Summer, who was a Boston scenester in the ’80s and respects a well-built garage sound.

Krautrock World (Sometimes slips from its slim genre boundaries, throwing on The Doors or Janis Joplin and causing me to swear at the Squeezebox, but otherwise a monument to restless German prog-rock. The most mind-expanding radio music around.)

LuxuriaMusic (Best retro-lounge station I’ve found. Ukulele star—and ‘60s “You Turn Me On” pop sensation—Ian Whitcomb has his own show on Saturday mornings, anchored with British music hall songs and other old-pop fetishes.

Nostalgie 60’s Radio (From France. Most of the playlist is American or British classic rock, which makes it that much cooler when unknown-to-those-shores French-language classics bubble up in the mix.)

Rockabilly Radio (great range of obscure classics and punky revivalists)

Rock3 Radio – Seventies Punk Rock Radio (It’s still a funny concept to hear non-stop punk radio. Until internet radio came along, the ’70s punk era produced zillions of 45 RPM records but virtually no worthwhile longfrom radio shows or formats outside of a few hours here or there on college stations.)

Ska World (There’s more good recorded ska out there than you think. Not just a live club phenomenon)

Technicolor Web of Sound (The type of psychedelia we can stand: discernable melody, not too jammy, not all about the guitar or the superstars.)

WBCN (The powerhouse station of our teen years, influential in breaking everyone from U2 to The Police to The Ramones regionally before their national fame kicked in. A shadowy bandwidth of its former self, “The Rock of Boston” is now internet-only).

WBUR-FM (Boston’s NPR)

World Wide Bluegrass (gave up on many of the internet Country & Western stations for being too dependent on the big names; this one remains delightfully obscure.)


The only talk radio I listen to with any regularity, outside the BBC, is Harry Shearer’s Le Show (accessible through numerous media formats) and Marc Maron’s WTF podcast (easily gotten from iTunes). I tried Dennis Miller for a while—bad politics, good guests—but found I just can’t stomach him the way I could in his TV days,

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