Here are a few of my faves, which, thanks be to the internet gods, I can listen to by the magic of streaming.
Enjoy, and please share your favorites as well-
CD 101.1 Columbus, OH- "The Alternative Station"
Playing artists like Gomez and Silversun Pickups, you can bet you'll be constantly surprised and always discovering new artists. CD101 also features programs like The Independent Playground- a spot for new music by indie artists. Imagine that. Good new music. On the radio. Hm. What a concept.
KSWD 100.3 The Sound LA
A station who's tagline is "All About The Music" is off to a good start, with great gigs like Album Sides Wednesdays, where DJ's play ENTIRE album sides on vinyl- it's like putting on a record in your living room, holding the album cover in your hands and listening to it for the first time. They truly are "all about the music"- if it's good, they'll play it. They tend to skew a little more on the classic rock side, but offer up a good mix of various genres and decades, including current tunes.
RTE 2FM (Ireland)
The downside is the time change, as there is quite a bit of talk in the evening hours, which is during the workday in the US. But the music they play is a great glimpse into what's popular in Ireland and the UK, which always seems to be a step ahead of the US. For example, they played all the songs from the last U2 album before it was even released in the US. I also credit them with introducing me to bands like Elbow and Bell X1.
Indie 103.1 Los Angeles, CA
It used to be a great place for indie rock, on the dial in LA at 103.1. Not anymore. At least, not over the air. But thankfully, you can still get Indie 103.1 streaming online.
104.1 WBCN Boston
For 40+ years, The Rock of Boston was one of the most iconic radio stations in the US. It has now been reduced to HD or online only. There are two stations: WBCN Free Form, which plays "From The Clash to Coldplay, Bob Dylan to Bob Marley"; and WBCN The Rock of Boston, which is similar to what the linear station was- "From Nine Inch Nails to Nirvana, Green Day to Gund 'N Roses."
Not only was 'BCN responsible for breaking bands like U2 and The Police in the US, but was also home to program director Oedipus, who helped bring Punk to US airwaves. 'BCN was also the home of a DJ named Peter Wolf (later of J Geils Band), and countless others who have contributed to music in one ground-breaking way or another. In the 90's, WBCN released "WBCN Naked Disc: A Collection of Unreleased Performances" which had in-studio and other Boston-local live performances of songs such as "Staring at the Sun" by U2, "Glycerine" by Bush and "Losing my Religion" by Tori Amos.
Some 'BCN is better than no 'BCN though, as Bono once said on the "Naked Disc": "without 'BCN....let's face it....we'd all be fucked."