BEST REGGAE RADIO PROGRAM 96 Mixx (MIXX-FM 96.1) Most of the major urban FM stations have one: a reggae program stashed away late at night or on a Sunday evening. The mainstream DJs all do fine work in the few hours the programming gods grant them, but they are all pawns in what Bob Marley referred to as a "Babylon system" -- radio reduced to a rigidly planned schedule of songs that hardly spares room for music from Caribbean islands. Reggae fanatics could never be satisfied with such meager provisions, which is what makes 96 Mixx so necessary. It's unfortunately underground, so depending on where you go, the quality of transmission waxes and wanes, sometimes blurring into another pirate station's stolen airwaves. The DJs delight in taking controversial phone calls and making shout-outs over almost every song. That's no price to pay for the chance to hear the sweet strains of Dennis Brown, Beres Hammond, Jacob "Killer" Miller, and Barrington Levy, or to get crunk to Elephant Man, Bounty Killer, Buju Banton, or Beenie Man. It is the stubborn, erratic, static-plagued heart of the expatriate Caribbean community, and just when you think The Man has finally killed it for good, it rises like a Rasta phoenix.


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