If you want a real musical treat, tune into WKCR-FM, the radio station from Columbia University in New York City. If you live in the NYC area, you can hear it at 88.9 FM. Worldwide, you can find it on the internet here.
Simply put, WKCR is a musician’s treasure. I’ve been listening to it for 35 years and have learned more about jazz history from the DJ Phil Schaap than from any other single source.
It’s difficult to summarize how important this station is, but here are a few features:
1. They have a Charlie Parker show EVERY weekday morning!!!
2. They have informative shows about various eras of jazz on a weekly basis.
3. Several times per year, they play 24 hours, or sometimes a full week, of a single jazz artist. Their Billie Holiday broadcast is coming up on April 7th.
3. Extensive classical music programming, including a week-long Bach festival each December.
4. World music, reggae, gospel, old-time country, bluegrass, and both acoustic and electric blues are regularly featured.
5. No commercials; just music and commentary.
6. Lots of interviews with musicians.
I remember hearing a week-long Count Basie special when I was in high school. Not only did they play all of Basie’s recordings, in chronological order, but they played lots of rare radio broadcasts from the 1940s. Many of these have probably never been heard on the radio since then.
If you want to treat yourself to some authentic, great music from a variety of sources, check out WKCR. You’ll hear some sounds that you might not hear anywhere else these days, and learn something new while you’re at it!
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