Miami's Six Best Local Radio Stations

Radio ain't dead yet.
Radio ain't dead yet.
Photo by curtis.kennington via Flickr cc

As old-school as it may sound, radios are still key to discovering new music. While blogs and streaming services soak up most of the spotlight nowadays, radio, though not the giant it once was, remains relevant.

Especially when it comes to local music, radio exceeds where websites like Spotify cannot. There is a world of music made in Miami that moves through alternative channels. Luckily, there are still a few radio stations that look after the locals and give us the chance to enjoy and discover fresh sounds that are being baked right here in our backyard. What makes these stations even more valuable is that most of their music is curated by DJs and music directors’ personal tastes, not by advertising efforts or corporate pressure.

Jolt's studio.
Jolt's studio.
Photo by Mark Diamond

6. Jolt Radio, joltradio.org

With a new studio on NW Seventh Avenue — equipped for hosting live bands and events — Jolt Radio is an online station founded by New Times’ MasterMind finalist John Caignet. When tuning into Jolt, you’re just as likely to hear vintage disco as headbanging sludge metal. Jolt’s music programming includes tons of new local music and also features interviews and live shows with local bands and DJs. “Ever since I started Jolt, that’s been one of the main priorities,” Caignet says. “I remember thinking, how cool would it be to be listening to a local radio station playing a song from an artist you like, followed by a local you know and love? Now we’re talking.”

Klangbox is mainly dedicated to electronic sounds.
Klangbox is mainly dedicated to electronic sounds.

5. Klangbox, klangbox.fm

Klangbox, another station that broadcasts online, is mainly dedicated to electronic sounds, focusing on — but not limited to — underground electronic, house, dub techno, deep disco, and indie dance. It was founded by local radio and nightlife personalities Laura Sutnick and Patrick Walsh. “We’ve always supported live musicians,” Walsh says. “We do have two shows dedicated to local music, which are Yo Amo 305, which airs Mondays and is hosted by the Telekinetic Walrus guys. They bring guests that are active in the local art scene, mostly musicians. Also, Ricardo Guererro is doing a Death to the Sun show that will feature a lot of local artists.”

SunGhosts perform live in-studio.
SunGhosts perform live in-studio.
Photo courtesy of WVUM

4. WVUM-FM (90.5)

WVUM is “The Voice of the University of Miami.” Run and coordinated by students, the station concentrates mainly on indie rock, although it also has specialty shows about metal, electronic music, climate change, and others. According to the station’s management, the DJs are expected to play at least one or two local songs per hour. Every Friday at 6 p.m., WVUM airs Locals Only, a show that features local bands playing live in the studio. And Thursdays from 7 to 9 p.m., you can listen to Electric Kingdom, a show that specializes in electronic sounds and often has local DJs as guests. Kunal Kohan, WVUM’s general manager and the host of Electric Kingdom, sees nothing but potential in the local scene. “I think Miami is a very young city compared to New York... But its music scene is growing fast — there are many boutique venues that are giving, once again, a place to local bands and DJs. There are also bigger events and festivals that feature many local artists such as III Points. It’s only going to get better from here.”

 

Wynwood Radio broadcasts out of the Wynwood Building.
Wynwood Radio broadcasts out of the Wynwood Building.

3. Wynwood Radio, wynwoodradio.com

As the name indicates, Wynwood Radio is located in the heart of Miami’s arts district and streams live from the Junior & Hatter barbershop. It was founded in 2010 by a group of art, radio, and music aficionados who weren’t happy with the options available. They decided to go with a community radio format, giving local organizations, artists, and musicians the chance to have their voices heard. The station’s original programs — Rhythm Radio (Tuesdays at 11 a.m.) and Underneath the Bunker (Wednesdays at 11 a.m.) are great places to hear the newest Miami bands. “Local music and local arts in general are very important for our programming,” cofounder Adrian Olivares says. “We feature songs by local musicians throughout the day, but we are also focused on visual arts and interviews with different kinds of local artists and artists visiting Miami.”

Evelyne Zapata hosts her feminist punk show, Riot Grrl, in the WRGP on-air studio.
Evelyne Zapata hosts her feminist punk show, Riot Grrl, in the WRGP on-air studio.
Photo by Amanda Rabines / FIU Student Media

2. WRGP-FM (95.3)

WRGP is another college station, brought to you by the whippersnappers at Florida International University. Its main number on the dial is 95.3 FM, but listeners in Homestead can tune in at 88.1 FM, and listeners in North Miami Beach can tune in to 96.9 FM. It also streams online 24/7 via fiusm.com/wrgp. The station is a throwback to what college radio used to be like in the ’90s: a tad grimy, run by students, for students, and tinged with a youthful rebellion. WRGP’s music leans toward progressive and psychedelic rock, grunge, and garage, although it also has a dose of indie and electronic music. WRGP has a talk show in the mornings and specialty programs covering a variety of genres. You can listen exclusively to Miami-made songs on The Pipeline, a show that airs Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m. “We receive a lot of local music constantly,” says WRGP’s general manager, Erica Santiago. “It is so important to us that we have a special music director dedicated only to local music... As a college radio station, we focus on our demographic, and the students want to listen to local music.” 

Shake 108 host Aimee Beah Moore and station founder Peter Stebbins.
Shake 108 host Aimee Beah Moore and station founder Peter Stebbins.
Photo Courtesy of Shake 108

Upcoming Events

1. Shake 108 (107.9 FM)

Though our beloved little Shake 108 is facing an FCC shutdown after a failed inspection, we’re hopeful that 107.9 FM can find the funding necessary to stay on the air for good. With a hectic playlist spanning the musical spectrum, Shake 108 always has you not knowing what to expect when you flip it on, but whatever the song is, chances are it’ll have you singing along. The station recently announced a lineup of original programming that features local hosts such as DJ Bill Kelly and Lance O. Shake is heavily involved in the local music scene and will throw its inaugural music and comedy festival at the Wynwood Yard this Saturday, which Shake founder Peter Stebbins hopes will raise the necessary funds his station needs to remain up to FCC code.  


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