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Independent bay area radio guide

Discover the magical world of commercial-free, community radio!

Stations

KPOO

89.5 FM San Francisco

KPOO station image

Unapologetically Black, KPOO has become a SF institution since its founding in the 1970s as “Poor People’s Radio.” Before KPOO put rap, salsa, and reggae on the airwaves, they'd never been heard on Bay Area radio. DJs are happy to interview local artists or play their mixtapes. And there's labor and abolitionist talk shows, where you’ll hear analysis that really can’t be heard anywhere else. Everything’s joyfully held together by KPOO's station manager JJ.

KPFA

94.1 FM Berkeley

KPFA station image

After dark, KPFA's leftist and liberal daytime talk radio gives way to an eclectic mix of music shows we've featured in our guide.

KPFA, the flagship of Pacifica Radio Network, proved democratically-run, listener-funded radio can work. Unfortunately, financial/legal crises (and spineless management?) have put the jobs of Black and Brown hosts in Houston and LA on the line. We need KPFA and the other Pacifica stations to be a better voice for the supposedly "impossible" futures we urgently need.

Lower Grand Radio

Oakland (Online)

Lower Grand Radio station image

Lower Grand is like the cool skater gang at your high school. Late bloomers and early stoners unite! LGR plays hostess to delightfully intimate conversations, new DJs, and polished sets that could be live from the club. It’s uncompromisingly queer, and home to more BIPOC Djs than most of the college stations. Now if only the rest of us could be this cool...

KALX

90.7 FM Berkeley

KALX station image

Humble and curious, UC Berkeley's student radio has moments of excellence, and is a good place to get your first bearings the world of local radio. There's music playing almost 24/7. Give KALX a try, we think you’ll like it.

KFJC

89.7 FM Los Altos

KALX station image

KFJC is the free-form station of Foothill College, associated with the Foothill-De Anza community colleges. KFJC doesn’t shy away from playing weird music, hyper-local or international. Sometimes it’s a miss, but when it hits, it hits. If your Spotify playlists are feeling worn out, see what KFJC is spinning.

KALW

91.7 FM San Francisco

KALW station image

The only NPR station to make our list, KALW sets itself apart with a new program, KALW@25thStreet, broadcasting talented local Djs live from Oakland. They really know how to get a groove going and make our weeknights brighter.

KCSM

91.1 FM San Mateo

KALX station image

KCSM, or “Jazz 91,” is a public jazz radio station from the San Mateo Community College District. Most hosts are deeply experienced and connected to current jazz artists, from straight-ahead to latin.

KZSC

88.1 FM Santa Cruz

KZSC station image

KZSC is the station of UC Santa Cruz, broadcast out of a treehouse-looking building in a corner of the campus. They manage to keep the jams turning consistently, and it’s well worth getting to know their lineup of shows. KZSC also has a phone number where you text the DJs live, and they're delightfully amenable to requests!

Radio Bilingüe

1010 AM (KIQI) San Francisco

Radio Bilingüe station image

Radio Bilingüe is a national latin@ radio network, spanning dozens of FM and AM stations which cover major cities and rural areas. A vehicle of expression and information sharing, essential for farmworkers and migrant workers, Radio Bilingüe has a news bureau in Oakland, and national call-in advice shows. Programming is mostly in Spanish, but also English, Mixteco, and other languages.

BFF

San Francisco (online)

Radio Bilingüe station image

BFF stands for Best Frequencies Forever, an online station based in SF's Mission District. They have a really complete lineup of shows, with many gems. It definitely seems more Valencia Street than 24th & Mission; hopefully the neighborhood doesn't follow! Mas en español!

KKUP

91.5 FM Cupertino

KKUP station image

KKUP is an eclectic station out of Cupertino. Their lineup looks really cool. We haven't had a chance to check it out yet, but you should!

KGPC

96.9 FM Oakland

KGPC station image

KGPC was once called “9th Floor Radio,” when was broadcast from the 9th for of the Laney College Library. It’s still part of the Peralta community college district we all know, but now operates under somewhat more formal auspices. KGPC’s lineup includes seasoned DJs and local personalities who host podcast-format shows.

KGPC uses a newfangled streaming technology we can't tap into. To listen, visit their website:

KXSF

102.5 FM San Francisco

KXSF station image

KXSF is a new kid on the airwaves, trying to stake out a place for community radio on the right end of the dial. (Typically non-commercial radio lives towards the bottom of the FM band.) KXSF feels like it’s still trying to find its place. Maybe that’s not surprising; an entire generation of artists are struggling to find their place in gentrified San Francisco.

You can suggest a station or show! Submit your faves

Other stations

  • SPAZ Oakland & elsewhere
  • Mutiny Radio San Francisco
  • HydeFM San Francisco
  • KQED (NPR) San Francisco
  • KDFC (Classical) San Francisco
  • KRCB (NPR) Sonoma County
  • ...and many more!

Why Radio?

Our optimized, algorithm-ified lives can be lonely. Where's the connection and sharing? Has it always been this way?

For generations, people have turned on the radio to feel less alone, break out into unexpected dance, or hear a song that's never been heard before.

This website will help you find some favorite shows and tune in weekly to see what’s new. Just turn on your set (or our O'Matic streams) to tap into the rhythm.

You’ll be sharing the experience with hundreds of people across the city.


About these Stations

These stations are all local, fiercely independent of corporate control, and totally ad-free.


“Put your radio on your windowsill now!” Jean Shepherd, late-night WOR DJ, commanded his listeners one night in 1957.

“Do it now! Now! The loudspeaker pointed out—toward the neighborhood… And when I give you the cue, turn that radio up as loudly as it will go.”

Listeners were astonished to hear other voices in their own apartment building, or across the street, or down the alley, echoing with the same insane shout.

from Something in the Air


A project of K.A.T.

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