Good Music on the Radio. Finally.

For all of my car-less “adult” life, my radio listening has been limited strictly to talk radio. My alarm clock has been permanently set to CBC Radio 1 at 99.1 on the dial. On weekdays I wake up to Matt Galloway’s voice on Metro Morning and try to tune into Jian Ghomeshi on Q later on in the day. The weekends vary between This is That, Definitely Not the Opera and Vinyl Cafe, depending on what time I rise. I have big love for CBC, but let it be known that the constant playing of Julie Black, Maestro Fresh Wes and K-OS isn’t what draws me in.

Until lately, what have been my radio station choices in this city? Certainly not 102.1 The Edge, which seems to play a recycled playlist from the 90’s consisting solely of Weezer, Nirvana, Oasis, Sublime and Our Lady Peace.


The great news is that we now have a great (not just decent!) radio station in Toronto: Indie88 at 88.1 on your FM dial. The station is playing a variety of music and is letting listeners dictate the tunes on rotation. I’ve been listening to the station online in anticipation, and since its launch on September 3rd, it has not disappointed me. The commercial breaks are minimal, idle chit chat from DJs is slight and when it does exist, it is relevant and interesting (read: music news you care about). Remember way back when MuchMusic played actual music videos and it was exciting for music fans? That’s what Indie88 is to radio today. No terrible programming.

Of course it’s awesome, music guru Alan Cross is on the programming team. The station also has Dave Bookman (head of my favorite Nu-Music Night every Tuesday at the Horseshoe Tavern), Matt Hart (of the Russian Futurists, an awesome Canadian indie band) and Raina Douris (know-all in Toronto’s music scene and a Twitter fave of mine) all on board.

Indie88 has found a delicate balance of playing older tunes that you miss hearing and make you go “Awww!”, not “Ugh.” Case and point: we don’t need to hear Radiohead’s “Creep” anymore, but “Reckoner” has yet to be overplayed and is most welcome! The station has an ear for great new Canadian tunes (Austra, Hey Rosetta!, Library Voices), other hot indie darlings (Said the Whale, Atlas Genius, HAIM, Local Natives) and bands I previously thought were pretty obscure and get downright excited to hear over the airwaves (particularly, Louis XIV).

This post may not be news to most of you, but I’d hate to know that even a few of you are still listening to Nickelback-friendly radio stations when you don’t have to be!