Radio is underrated. I know we’re all streaming stuff on our phones these days, but what an isolating way to listen to music!
Radio lets you listen as part of a community. It forces you to take a step outside your musical bubble. If you listen to the right stations, it helps you comprehend the zeitgeist of the times. And all we really want from life is true love and comprehension of the zeitgeist, right?
With all this in mind, here’s a list of five niche Minnesota radio stations that are all worth a listen for very different reasons.
What they play: Hip hop
What makes 95.3 great? MR. PETER PARKER, full stop. He’s the driving force behind this year-old start-up station, serving as its music director, informal marketer and headline DJ.
He plays everything good, no exaggeration. You’re going to hear Kendrick and Kanye and J Cole and Rae Sremmurd, but you’re also going to hear local greats and upcoming local talent (interviews, news AND music). And his mixes are lit. Plus, 95.3 is the only station in town that played anything off Lemonade and for that, he earns twenty million Beypoints.
Literally my only criticism is that they play too much Drake, but then again, I’m the only person in the world who’s meh about Drake (fight me), so I can’t complain too much.
If you like hip hop and you live in the Twin Cities, stay tuned to 95.3. And follow it on social media. Let’s support to keep it on the air!
What they play: Dance pop
They call themselves the pulse of LGBT Twin Cities, and they ain’t lyin’. They are super gay and totally fabulous. If you do not drink coffee and prefer instead to wake yourself up with full-volume Ke$ha at eight in the morning, this is the station for you.
96.7 was MADE for car dancing when you’re stuck in traffic and have nothing else to do. They play dance tracks and remixes you won’t hear on any other station in the Twin Cities (this is one of my favorites) and the commercial breaks are pretty limited.
The playlist can get a little repetitive if you listen a lot, but if you put the Pulse on rotation with the other four stations on this list, you’ll have as much variety as you could wish for.
What they play: Trash pop
I can’t be the only one who heard Closer at least 57 times before I really started hating it. If you, like me, have a not-so-secret predilection for absolute garbage music, KCLD is the station for you. Here’s where you get your Shawn Mendes, your G-Eazy, your Hailee Stienfeld, your Maroon 5, your Iggy Azalea/Britney Spears collaborations.
And the wonder of KCLD is not limited to the pleasure of indulging your basest musical instincts. If you ever wondered what KDWB would be like if they didn’t have to worry about lawsuits, KCLD is your answer. Here you will find white radio hosts making prank calls in broad Hispanic accents, little girls named Aryan calling in to make song requests and DJs casually telling young female callers that they should learn to cook, like all good little girls do.
It’s a veritable cornucopia of fuckery and an implicit sociological explanation for our next president. You could read a New Yorker piece about why Trump won or you could stream KCLD for a couple hours. You know which option is more fun.
What they play: Old-school-ish country
Let’s pour one out for country music and the violent death wrought on it by douchecaps like Florida Georgia Line and Dylan Scott. I grew up on crappy country music and love it without irony (if you don’t get down to Redneck Woman, you’re not having enough fun), but you have to draw the line somewhere, and for me, that line was drawn when Luke Bryan admitted he does not, in fact, know what a drip of honey on the moneymaker is.
Anyway, I miss the country music of my youth and the two big-name country stations in the Twin Cities (102.1 and 102.9) sure aren’t playing it. But 98.1 still is. Tune in and you’ll hear a lot of the new ish that you don’t care about, but also some older gems you forgot you loved (like this one, or this one, or this one, or this one or this one). Country music is dead, long live country music.
What they play: Classic rock
You could go to KQRS for your classic rock needs, but that would mean you helped pay Tom Barnard’s salary and, if you’re not racist, sexist and scary-Republican, that idea probably makes you queasy.
Instead, tune in to the Loon, which is probably just as racist and sexist but quieter about it.
The really good thing about the Loon is that they actually play classic rock, and lots of it. (I swear KQRS is nothing but commercials and talk show anymore.) Sometimes you just need to hear the Doors or the Stones or the Cars or The Police or The [insert classic rock band name here], and the Loon comes through erry time.
Done Writing Now