New Oleanians have a love affair with music. Music is our blood, our backbone, our breath, and our heart. In short, we are music. It is fitting then that we have a number of local radio stations that celebrate our music. WWOZ is a popular one, but there are others, including some outstanding talk radio stations. With the magic of the Internet, you can hear all of these stations on your computer or mobile device. If you are truly a lover of local culture and want to eat it up like you would a plate of boiled crawfish, then read on and tune in. Stations are listed in alphabetical order.
AM 690 WIST: This is a talk radio station for moderates. One of its programs, Inside New Orleans with host Eric Asher, is one of the most important talk radio shows in the city. It offers a fair and balanced view of New Orleans politics, culture, and sports. Asher is a true independent; he is neither a Democrat nor a Republican. His loyalty is to the city that he has called home his entire life. Asher is an advocate for the region but is also a celebrant of its culture. His program regularly features celebrity guests, live musical performances, and information about local events and how to make classic cocktails. Smart, savvy, friendly, and entertaining, Asher is New Orleans at its best. Listen to him before your next visit to the Crescent City.
Johnette Downing Radio: Johnette Downing is a New Orleans-based multi-award winning musician and author presenting concerts and author visits for children, and keynotes and workshops for educators globally. She has a radio program on her website for kids. Check it out!
NOLA Radio: Nola.com is the online presence of the daily newspaper called The Times-Picayune. It offers so much to both locals and visitors. One of its little-known offerings is Internet radio. Different channels feature jazz, swamp pop, a Fats Domino tribute, Mardi Gras music, all commercial free. Enjoy!
Radio Margaritaville: Parrot Heads know that Jimmy (as he is known to his fans) has one of his famous Margaritaville restaurants in the New Orleans French Quarter. The laid-back attitude and tropical flare that characterize Buffet’s world are akin to the Caribbean live-life-to-the-fullest state-of-mind that New Orleans is known for. Tune into Radio Margaritaville anytime online to transport yourself to a land as colorful as New Orleans itself.
WTUL: College radio New Orleans-style can be found on the campus of Tulane University. 40 years plus in the making, WTUL features shows with names such as Boppin’ in the Big Easy, Meter Beater, and Community Gumbo. Sometimes eclectic, sometimes smashing, the programing at WTUL is never boring. Check it out on FM 91.5 or online.
WWL: News. Talk. Sports. That is what the legendary WWL radio station is all about. Broadcast on both 870 AM and FM 105.3, the station has been part of the New Orleans community for 88 years. First operated by Jesuit priests, WWL is believed to have broadcast the first radio program on the Gulf Coast. Today, the station is owned by Entercom New Orleans and focuses on sports as well as on the rebuilding of the New Orleans region. You can hear the Super Bowl Champs the New Orleans Saints (Who dat!) play on WWL during football season. For lagniappe, WWL offers half-price discounts to many local establishments, including restaurants. Visit the station’s website to read what it is all about, and then stream its programs and join us locals in meaningful talk radio.
WWNO: WWNO is the local NPR affiliate and produces many local shows, including the Farmer’s Market Minutes, All Things New Orleans, and Where Y’eat?, a guide to local eateries. During the day, the station is all talk, but every Saturday night it switches gears and plays Jazz. On its sister station WWNO2, Jazz is always on the menu. On Sunday nights, the national program American Routes (which is produced in New Orleans) airs. For those not in the know, American Routes “is a weekly two-hour public radio program presenting a broad range of American music — blues and jazz, gospel and soul, old-time country and rockabilly, Cajun and zydeco, Tejano and Latin, roots rock and pop, avant-garde and classical” (according to the show’s website). WWNO’s website is just as interesting. It features a local events calender, concert ticket give-aways, and local news and weather. Want to know what us locals know? Listen to WWNO on FM 89.9 or online to find out.
WWOZ: 30 years old, this community-run radio station is the most famous local radio station in New Orleans (if not the world). Services of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation (the same folks who bring you Jazz Fest), WWOZ’s station and website constitute a virtual encyclopedia of New Orleans music and culture. According to its website, “WWOZ broadcasts all forms of jazz, blues, rhythm and blues, brass band, gospel, Cajun, zydeco, Caribbean, Latin, Brazilian, African, bluegrass, and Irish, among others”—in other words, all the different types of music found in this region. The station also broadcasts live shows and benefits. To find out more about this Crescent City institution, listen to the station locally on 90.7 FM or visit its website to stream the show through your computer or mobile device.