While taking a look at the program schedule for almost every English-speaking radio station in the world with a “variety” format, I quickly began to notice a pattern for the plethora of them located in the United States of America and Canada. For my liking, far too many of these non-commercial outlets seemed to be relying upon syndicated programming in order to fill their schedules — mot notably, the far left-wing news programs Democracy Now! and Free Speech Radio News, both coming from Pacifica Radio. This created a great quandary for me. Many of these stations were indeed good and unique a large portion of the time. Yet, I wanted to try very hard to stick with stations that played their own original programming as much as possible and have them sticking to music as much as possible instead of politics.
My thinking on this was especially true for the many stations that now run Democracy Now! twice a day with the rerun coming so much later in the day that the news reported on it is often already out of date. In addition, it also came along with my own personal bias that has turned against Democracy Now! and much of Pacifica Radio as a whole. Especially since becoming simulcast on television, I have often seen the “reporting” on Democracy Now! become just as one-sided as something one might see on the Fox News Channel. While some would call that “balance,” I see it under the old adage of, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” As for Pacifica as a whole…well, I have become very disenchanted with that organization. This is especially after having closely observed the battles over the programming direction of one of the stations they own directly, KPFK in Los Angeles, where many good show hosts and volunteers left or were ousted because they did not fit the new stance of complete “political correctness.”
Yes, my Radio page already includes several stations that run these programs and even some directly owned by Pacifica. As I said before about my list, exceptions were made for stations with other exemplary programming. Thanks to one of my kind readers, I now see that there should be another one of these exceptions for KFAI, an independent “community/variety” radio station located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
In a sense, KFAI is a very typical station of its type for a large city. It carries the usual assortment of music programs that cover genres not played by commercial stations. What struck me while again giving KFAI an extended listen is how high quality all of these shows seem to be. Yet, aside from that, something that makes KFAI special is its wide variety of specific “world music” shows that run every Sunday. One would be very hard-pressed to find another station — especially a non-commercial FM one — that features entire blocks of programming dedicated to the music of Cambodia, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, the Philippines, and for several other countries and groups.
So…despite my general rule to mostly avoid stations that use syndicated programming, KFAI is highly deserving of a place on my Radio page and I hope those of my readers with eclectic musical tastes will give it a listen. In addition to it now being permanently listed on my Radio page, clicking on the KFAI logo below will open up its website in a new browser tab or window.