Whenever someone makes a reference to the radio it’s usually with a negative connotation. You’ll hear things like “I don’t listen to the radio” or “I only listen to my own Cd’s”. I’m afraid I’ve caught myself saying these things before. Luckily I’ve learned the error of my ways and have discovered that there is a lot of cool progressive jazz music being played all over the country. So today I’d  like to share a few of them with you. Keep in mind this is not a “top ten” or “best of” list. This is merely a collection of hip jazz radio stations to start you off with. So I hope you like my list and any suggestions on radio stations that should have been mentioned are encouraged.

I’ll begin at home, first we have WDCB 90.9 in Chicago. This station is always playing great mainstream jazz and is active in the Chicagoland area with live concerts. They have great programs like McPartland’s Piano Jazz program, Bossa nova music on Sundays, and Blues music as well. My only gripe with WDCB is their mobile app. I believe you can only listen to it on a mobile by using Tunein or the Public Radio Player app. Which I personally am not crazy about. Other than that this is a great station from my hometown. You can essentially turn it on at anytime and not be disappointed at what you hear.

Denver has more than just Hall of Fame Quarterbacks and high altitude. They have one of my favorite jazz stations KUVO 89.3. KUVO has a great combination of classic jazz music and new artists. If I listen to KUVO for 30 min to a hour I will almost always hear songs or artists I’ve never listened to before. They also have their own app which is a huge plus for me. I wish they would have the title of the song you are listening to on the screen, but perhaps that’s getting a bit greedy. They always mention the tunes recently played on air and they have the list of songs played online so it’s not very hard to find out what you were just listening to.

Moving further West we have KCSM 91.1 out of the San Francisco Bay Area. Like the others they play a wide array of jazz music and have different programs throughout the week so the station never gets boring. They have their own app which is simple and clean. They even have an alarm clock option so you can wake up to the music from the station playing which I thought was kind of cool. Again, easy to find the songs that have just been played. The app shows all the songs played and all the program information is easily available.

Probably my favorite station is KJazz 81.1 out of Long Beach California. They are similar to the other stations mentioned, but they consistently play music thats high energy and that I’ve never listened to before. Whether it’s mainstream, big band or fusion, they are always surprising me and reminding me that I’ve only scratched the surface of what Jazz music can provide me.

My last station is Jazz 88.3 out of San Diego. Man I love this station. Mainly because it is just so “out” there. It plays more free jazz and fusion compared to the other stations I’ve mentioned. So if you ever want to really delve into that world Jazz 88.3 is great. The music can at times be too out there for my taste but I think that’s the point. It tests how open minded I am and challenges what Jazz means to me. Since I’m not as into free jazz music listening to this station is almost always a unique and interesting experience.

We live in a different era now, the digital age. We can talk and interact with people from all over the world easier than ever before. Why not use this to our advantage in the jazz world? I love having all these stations on my mobile phone. With the click of a button I’m instantly listening to what’s happening in LA, San Fransicso, Denver, and in my own backyard. Different cities have their own personalities and scenes and with these stations I have access to those different perspectives without actually being there. So let’s not be so dismissive to the radio. It can be used to our advantage if we allow it to. It’s our responsibility to spread our music and make it accessible to as many as possible and being that all these stations are free and so are their apps, it benefits us to use the radio. So, until next time, Thank you for staying in The Jazz Loop.


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