I grew up listening to KZSU, a small FM radio station broadcasting from in some basement at Stanford university. Wikipedia says the station was 10 watts at the time, so it reached maybe 30 miles?
The station was all about music. They ran as little news as they could get away with and no ads other than public service announcements. The vibe was strongly anti-commercial and fiercely anti-establishment.
Song sets were a stream of consciousness art form where DJs would share their leaps of inspiration after a run of cuts that would stretch to an hour. Songs progressed one to another for a reason. Or at least, that’s how I remember things - a kid listening to a college radio station.
Fast forward. I moved on and KZSU was in the tail lights. Gone but not forgotten.
Life happened and music ebbed and flowed. Having never developed a taste for commercial radio (and a clear distaste for the Clear Channel effect), I did build up a personal album collection and a solid hi-fi to play things on. And now, of course, the internet.
The latest generation of hi-fi gear, like everything else, connects to the net and that means internet radio. At first, I didn’t find too much. Lots of trance and techno, so OK for atmosphere sometimes, but tough to get all that excited about. Then I came across a station that played Phish 24/7. And something similar for the Dead. Things were looking up.
Digging a little different it seems there’s more. The spirit of KZSU lives on and I’m smiling, listening to tons of great music. Here are a couple of examples, but I figure there must be more. Many more.
Deep Jams Radio Webplayer
I don’t know where they came from, but they play music I like. Blues, rock and jam bands. Tons of live recordings. Things I’ve never heard before. The station has DJs who put on shows of connected music. Definitely my cup of tea. They’re playing The Who right now, with a promise of Moody Blues to come. At 13 I knew all their lyrics (and poetry) by heart.
Radio Paradise Webplayer
Funny name for a radio station, but maybe not. This is the project of a couple who ditched the rat race to do what they loved. They've been going since 2000 so it it appears to be working. The music ranges far and wide but hits so many great artists and songs I catch myself sitting in amazement.
So this is independent, listener supported, commercial free internet radio. It’s a beautiful thing.
The internet makes the world the audience. KZSU writ large. Take that Sinclair.
Sometimes you feel like a duck. Sometimes you don't.