New York radio is an integral part of the city’s cultural life. The city’s AM and FM stations offer residents a diverse selection of music genres, as well as interesting interviews with famous celebrities. There are even a few pirate radio channels to choose from. Despite the proliferation of other audio entertainment options, AM and FM radio is still a popular choice among New Yorkers. In fact, it’s estimated that New York adults listen to around 104 minutes of radio per day, or 12.2 hours per week.
The first city-owned and operated radio station, WNYC, began broadcasting in 1924. It was the first of the Big Three national radio networks, and its shows included everything from dramas and literary readings to news and sports. One of the most memorable broadcasts was Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds, which led many people to believe that Martians had invaded the Earth. The city’s other major network, CBS, also traces its origins to NYC.
In the 1960s, radio became a major source of music. While the earliest free-form rock stations were mostly experimental, WNEW was a huge booster of The Beatles and the British Invasion. The station’s million dollar survey slots – once held by the likes of Jay and the Americans, The Drifters, and The Shirelles – were soon overflowing with groups such as Manfred Mann, The Zombies, and a gruff group of hooligans called The Rolling Stones.
By the end of the decade, WOR-FM was number one in the market, with a massively successful format that became known as Easy Listening. The station was the first to play Led Zeppelin, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and The Grateful Dead, who made their art stretch far beyond the limits of a three-minute song.
Currently, WNYE 91.5 FM is one of the best radio stations in NYC. Its schedule is curated to reflect the diversity of the city’s interests, and its hosts explore complex issues in-depth and with thoughtful guests. This is a rare combination of mainstream adult contemporary and community engagement, which makes the station a popular destination for many types of listeners.
Another top-rated NYC radio station is WBCS, which specializes in classical music. This station is a favorite among music lovers and has garnered numerous awards over the years. Unlike the commercially-driven AM and FM stations, WBCS is a listener-supported nonprofit. Listeners can support the station with a donation online or by phone. They can also become members of the WNYC Membership Club, which gives them access to exclusive events and benefits. In addition, the station also offers a variety of streaming services. new york radio