As in most other American cities, the radio spectrum in New Orleans is a vast wasteland past 92 FM. Fear not, though ... The Crescent City has four excellent non-commercial radio stations:

WRBH, 88.3 FM. Radio for the Blind and Print-Handicapped
WRBH is a volunteer-operated radio station whose purpose is to provide spoken versions of print media for those who are unable to access these media visually. Twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week, the station broadcasts readings from newspapers, magazines, novels, short stories, children's books, etc. WWOZ volunteer Dave Cash, who passed on some details about the station for this listing, says, "I can't really think of much else to say about them, but it is a pretty great station. They have a very powerful transmitter (50,000 watts), so they will be a juicy target if CPB dries up and a commercial station wants power in the area. But that's sad to think about. Anyway, I often listen to them when I'm driving. Very educational, and somehow the Times-Picayune is more bearable when being read ..."

WWNO, 89.9 FM. University of New Orleans, NPR, PRI
This is the National Public Radio affiliate in New Orleans. Primarily classical music during the day and jazz all night, plus NPR news ("All Things Considered", "Morning Edition", etc.), Garrison Keillor, et al. This is where Andrei Codrescu goes to record his commentaries for NPR.

WWOZ, 90.7 FM. The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation
One of the best non-commercial radio stations in the United States, if not the best. NOW WEBCASTING LIVE!

A true community radio station, "Your Jazz and Heritage Station", as their slogan says, is operated by the same organization that puts on the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. 'OZ is the only station in the city that is devoted to local music. Contemporary and traditional jazz, R&B, "New Orleans music", blues, Cajun & zydeco, gospel; plus African, Caribbean, reggae, Latin, Irish, country & bluegrass, and more. 'OZ also has some of the greatest DJs and on-air personalities anywhere in public radio, like John Sinclair, Billy Delle and Bob French. Have a look at their current weekly schedule. For live music calendar, community news or membership information, call (504) 840-4040. Request line (504) 568-1234. Studio (504) 568-1238. Business line (504) 568-1239. WWOZ, Armstrong Park, P. O. Box 51840, New Orleans, LA 70151.

WTUL, 91.5 FM. Tulane University, student-run
New Orleans' award-winning college station, and 1996's College Station of the Year, according to The Gavin Report. As much as I adore 'TUL and the music it plays, I must confess that sometimes I find some of their student DJs' on-air performance to be execrable (those kids from the Northeast have got to learn to pronounce local place and personal names.) However, there's always great music, and that's what counts. This is one of the best college stations in the country, bar-none. My old high-school classmate Lenny Bertrand is the Cheeze and Blues Music Director and the Technical Director, too!

Alternative, jazz, world music, hardcore, Broadway and more. They run a weekly series of live broadcasts of alternative and local bands called "The 'TULbox", every Wednesday night from the Howlin' Wolf, from about 10:30pm to 2am. And don't forget the venerable, long-running "Cheeze Music" show, which I used to listen to when I was in college (which goes to show you how long it's been running, ack). Another great thing about 'TUL is that they give away tons of free tickets, practically every day. Unlike the big commercial stations, if you listen for an hour or so you will probably pick up a pair of tickets to some local musical event. (504) 865-5TUL.

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Chuck Taggart   (e-mail chuck)