By Danielle Haberly
There are six radio preset buttons on the dash of my Jeep Wrangler. These buttons reserve a spot for six, best-of-the-best radio stations. Having just moved to Austin from Dallas for school, I was at a bit of a standstill at first when it came to re-setting my reliable presets. When I lived in Dallas, my buttons were set tentatively one to four. Options were slim. Most of the time, the music selection on any given day consisted of mainstream, overplayed songs. You’d end up moving from button to button until frustrated fingers pushed in an aux cord or turned it off altogether.
When I moved here, I knew good and well that I was cruising around the live music capital of the world, so the radio stations had to be good, right? It took me a few weeks to commit to setting my buttons (it’s a big deal, seriously.) However, from the moment I arrived, all I had to do was press seek a few times and another great song would jam through my subwoofers. For those of you who are like me– new to the area and therefore blind to Austin’s vast musical outlets, I’ll throw you a bone. Here are my top six Austin radio stations.
1. 103.1 iHeart Austin
Born in April, 103.1 iHeart Austin is programmed at my #1. Every time I step up into my Jeep and turn the key in the ignition, a song tailored to my specific taste satisfies my eager ears. There’s no need to check where the dial has settled, because I already know iHeart Austin is broadcasting this musical snack. I first discovered this station when they played Bloodshake by Peace. Released last year, this song got my attention because I’d never heard it before. “Walking on the line” by Pony Pony Run Run rang through next, and I turned the volume UP. But what made me stay was “Gotta Get It Right Now” by Telekinesis. This song instantly got my upper body dancing ridiculously in my seat. With the windows already down and my curls flying about my head, “Your life is a lie” by MGMT was played next. None of these artist would have airtime on any DFW stations. Songs by The Strokes and Arctic Monkeys can also be heard through this portal.
2. 98.9 KUTX
Owned by the University of Texas, KUTX brings creative musical delight to many Austin music lovers. Their mission is to connect people through authentic music and unique experiences. I first noticed this station when Breezeblocks by Alt-J came streaming through. I first heard this band through a Pandora station last year. I immediately loved the song, so I researched the band and found numerous other songs that were of the same excellent jam-ability. Ain’t That The Way by Divine Fits was on next. That’s when I knew that this station had to be dubbed #2.
3. 101.5 KROX-FM / 101X
I tend to groove along with indie rock and all the subgenres that tag along with it. However, my heart truly resides in alternative rock. KROX-FM or 101X is where I can go to escape the superficial sounds of Flo Rida and Maroon 5. It’s a Nirvana state of mind, rather. It’s like Sublime is hosting a ’90s party and The White Stripes, Blink-182 and Red Hot Chili Peppers are all in attendance. I think Out of My League by Fitz & The Tantrums is the song that actually caught my ear when I wandered upon this station. Although it is “Austin’s New Rock Alternative,” the people’s love of indie stank remains. Supply and demand my friends. Regardless, set this station to your #3.
4. 93.3 KGSR
Not only does 93.3 KGSR play ACL worthy artists, but they also tend to broadcast the mainstream songs you love– the stuff you are dying to hear again but may be too embarrassed to admit it. We’ve all belted out Lorde’s Royals until we were blue in the face, and you have to admit the infamous Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus is definitely a guilty pleasure. Tunes by Jack Johnson and Mumford & Sons can also be found here. Hearing San Francisco by The Mowgli’s was what did it for me. This station is definitely a good choice and deserves a slot at #4.
5. 102.3 The Beat
Dallas also broadcasts The Beat, so I am no stranger to this station. However, I didn’t know that’s what I stumbled upon one day when Suga Suga by Bash featuring Frankie J came on 102.3. That song was my middle school jam, and I had flashbacks that gave this station a revival of respect. Artist such as Rihanna, Drake and Justin Timberlake can also be heard here.
6. 96.7 KISS FM
KISS FM is also a station highly recognizable in the DFW. However monotonous the songs on this station become, you are still going to catch one here and there that doesn’t make you want to vomit. You might end up switching to another button every other song, but solid tracks like Safe and Sound by Capital Cities and Summertime Sadness by Lana Del Rey make this station still worth checking out.
So, before you throw your iPod on shuffle, remember to explore the jams provided by your beloved Austin broadcasters first.