Carolina, & DC
Live Gig Reviews
STATIONS & INTERNET RADIO
WNRN Charlottesville, VA - A non-commercial/public station based in a college
town. WNRN gets all of its cash from pledgers and local underwriters, so
it is not bound by advertisers to play a certain type of music; its
primary obligation is to its listeners. Thus, the station's format
includes quite a mix of musical genres, including time slots for acoustic,
folk, and bluegrass; modern rock and classic alternative; and urban and
hip-hop. The station also features weekly specialty shows for
electronic, industrial, ska/punk, dance, goth, gospel, local, and world music,
as well as a Grateful Dead show. Basically, you can get everything you
need from this station, and you can listen to it online.
WTJU Charlottesville, VA - This is yet another public, listener-supported
radio station in a college town with a downright eclectic format. There
is really no genre of music that I have not heard on WTJU, which is actually
affiliated with the University of Virginia. The format includes indie
rock, classical, orchestral and chamber music, jazz, folk, reggae,
blues, hip-hop, world, country, disco, Americana, blues, and more!
It's really what college radio was meant to be. And weekdays at 4 pm,
WTJU broadcasts the BBC news hour.
3WV Charlottesville, VA - This station is decent. It's
the only commercial station worth listening to at all in Charlottesville. I
used to call it "the Van Halen station" because it seemed like they
played them at least once an hour, but the repetition has dropped off a bit
lately. This is a commercial station, so you hear a much more typical
format, which for the most part is a mix of classic and modern rock.
Hampton Roads, VA:
WKOC The Coast Norfolk, VA
The Coast is no more, but this is what it used to be:
Hampton Roads has no public radio stations
devoted to any sort of underground music, so The Coast is
pretty much the best alternative (no pun intended). The format actually
used to be much better until about 1996 when the company that owned 96X
(see below) bought it out. After the "takeover," the
format began including some classic rock, whereas before, the roots of
alternative music were the starting point. I discovered many great 80's
post-punk bands and 90's gems from listening to Kristi Michael's
"After-hours All-request" show. (I was too young to
discover them in the 80's.) She spun tunes from great bands like The
Tom, and Pavement*.
WROX 96X Norfolk, VA - This station started around 1993, and played some
of the important bands in modern rock over the previous 5 years or so,
including Jane's Addiction, Pearl Jam, and the like. 96X always had a
harder edge than The Coast. But when the company owning 96X bought The
Coast, someone made the decision that the two stations needed to cater to even
more differing audiences. So 96X turned top forty for a about a year to
the chagrin of many. Then in June 1999, the station made a "sort of
turn-around" and began to play modern rock again, but the format included
even harder stuff, and as the popularity of that annoying rap-metal has
increased lately, so has its presence on this previously great station.
Now the airwaves are polluted with bands like Korn, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park,
and Papa Roach. Lately, however, 96X has somewhat come full-circle by
playing some pretty good up and coming punk bands on its Sunday night punk
show. But long gone are the days when the station sponsored cool concerts, and even longer gone is the program directorship of Al Mitchell!
WPTE The Point Portsmouth, VA - I thought about not including this
corporate-whipped station on my site, but I do listen to it when I am in
Hampton Roads. Playing more generic tunes than the previous two
stations, this is what I like to call the resident yuppy's station.
You'll hear your Dave
Matthews, 10,000 Maniacs, Peter Gabriel, Sarah McLaughlin, etc.
What's amusing is that during the summer, this station sponsors "The
Point Concert Series," and I think whoever books the concerts has much
better taste than the Program Director of the station. The Point has
brought great bands like Cowboy Mouth, The
Pietasters, and The Connells to
Hampton Roads, but they never, ever play these bands on the radio!
I don't remember exact details, but a program director at the Point once told Nine
Volt Magazine that the real purpose of The Point is to make money from
advertisers, not to play the music that people want to hear. Come on,
while we all know that's true, you don't have to be quoted saying that in a
popular local music magazine!
|89.3 WXYC Chapel Hill, NC - I don't live and North Carolina, and I never have so I haven't had much exposure to any radio stations there except for recently via the internet. I believe this public station is affiliated with the University of North Carolina. WXYC has been on the air for nearly 25 years playing a broad range of music. This station was one of the first to broadcast over the internet, beginning in 1994, and its listening audience has grown globally ever since. WXYC's format includes pretty much everything, as a college station should. I will refrain from details because the station posts extensive
play-lists on its website.
88.1 Raleigh, NC - WKNC is a student run, non-commercial, educational radio station
located on the campus of North Carolina State University. The
station has had varying formats since its inception around 1966.
WKNC's current format includes Loud Rock, Alternative, Electronica, and
Hip-Hop. Specialty shows include a Grateful Dead show, Local Music,
Jazz, International Music, and Reggae. WKNC lets you listen via the
internet as well.
88.7 Spindale, NC - WNCW is a public, non-commercial station with a
diverse programming schedule. Daytime, weekday programming mainly
consists of a unique mix of Americana, blues, roots, jazz, Celtic,
alt-country and world music, including NPR news headlines. The
station features specialty shows on the Grateful Dead, Frank Zappa,
alternative radio, country, classic rock, ska and dancehall, emerging
music, and more. The station gets its money from pledging members
and regional underwriters. WNCW broadcasts on different
frequencies throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee,
and you can listen online with Windows Media or Real Player.
Washington DC Metro Area:
88.1 College Park, MD - This public radio station is affiliated with
the University of Maryland and is the only place you can hear college
radio programming in the DC Metro area. WMUC is very much like
your typical college radio station with many different shows, featuring
various genres of music. Some of these include jazz, blues, brit-pop,
indie rock & pop, house, techno, trip-hop, trance, electronica,
punk, emo, metal, progressive, reggae, dancehall, and pretty much
everything. The only drawback is that the station has some off-air
time scheduled during certain late-night and early-morning time slots.
You can listen online with Real Player.
99.1 Lanham, MD - WHFS has been around since the early 1960's
originally serving as one of the country's premier free-form progressive
radio stations. Around 1983, WHFS was sold and the frequency was
moved down the dial to 99.1 and continued with a modern rock format that
has worsened only as the definition of modern rock itself has
worsened. The station is currently owned by CBS which owns many
other DC area stations. Each year, the station puts on the
widely-attended (usually 60,000+) HFStival, usually Memorial Day
weekend, where there are three stages - one for big bands, one for
"lesser-knowns", and one for local bands. WHFS airs a
show called "Now Hear This" on Sunday nights that has featured
some good bands and artists including Old 97's, J Mascis, Mike Watt,
Evan Dando, Remy Zero, Beta Band, Joe
Strummer, and The Damned.
Rockville, MD - This station has kept its modern rock format over the
last 25 years. With one of the best signals and largest coverage
zone in the DC area, DC101 seems to also currently define modern rock as
rap metal. However, you'll find the occasional local band or emo
outfit on the station's playlist. The station also presents over
100 live shows a year, some of them regional acts. You can also
listen online with Windows Media Player.
Arlington, VA - More corporate, commercial modern rock here, very
similar if not identical to the aforementioned DC stations. This
station originally had an oldies format until 1996 when it took on a
dance-oriented contemporary format. Then in 2001, it turned modern
rock. You can also listen online with Windows Media or Real
- Y99.3 Fredericksburg, VA - More commercial modern rock, see above
three descriptions. However, the Y 99.3 website is pretty nice
with lots of music and movie reviews as well of tour date listings for
North Carolina and DC Stations coming soon!
- Rating: *** Lets you listen to one of their 100
professionally programmed channels. You can also view a
piece from the programmer letting you know if you'd be interested in his/her
channel. Channels of Interest include: Under Rock
category: Indie Rock, Today in Rock, Adult Alternative, Industrial, Punk, Ska,
Reggae, Adult Alternative, Hard Rock, The X; Under Pop category: New
Wave, Trip-Hop. Two downloads of small files required for listening.
Can listen on Real Player or Windows Media.
- Rating: **** Can search for channels by artists, song titles, and
keywords, and also by location or broadcaster. Channels are ranked and
you are told what type connection you need to listen to each. The
channel list is extremely extensive. You'll find everything from
a channel that plays all punk love songs to a channel that plays just
underground music from Minneapolis. You can listen to some channels with
as low as a 28K connection speed. Very user-friendly set-up process.
Can listen with an mp3 player like Winamp, a Live365 original player, Real
Tuner - Rating: ***** Wow, modern technology continues to amaze me!
The Bitbop Tuner searches thousands of Internet radio stations and
automatically picks the best stations based on your favorite artists. For
example, I typed in The Connells, The
Replacements, & Face to Face,
and Bitbop returned four stations: Early Alternative, Slowcore, Hot
Alternative, and Europop. On these stations I heard artists like Camper
Van Beethoven, Luscious Jackson, The Smiths, New Order, and Iggy Pop.
It's as if the software knows you! You can even use the auto record
function to download any song you hear while it's playing. Two minor
downsides: 1) You have to download the exclusive Bitbop Tuner player which is
just over 1 MB 2) Still a couple of bugs in their software. My computer
has frozen a couple of times.
Net - Rating: ** This site is a bit more commercial and has
fewer channels, but some of them are really good, including Altern80s,
Anti (Punk), Axis (Adult Alternative), Indie, MTV2 Radio, Rocks (Active Rock).
Less descriptions about each station than the other sites, but setting up is
much easier. You can use an mp3 player or Real Player.
Free Radio - Rating: *** This radio site is run by the punk label, Fat
Wreck Chords. It plays (of course) all punk, all the time, so this
site can't be compared to the others. You can listen with an mp3 player
at any speed connection.
- Rating: *** This is probably the most popular Internet radio service.
While Spinner features quite a few channels, not all are running at all times.
However, when they are running, some of Spinner's channels play really great
music--80's Alternative and 90's Indie are two of the best.
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