Thanks to the death of dial-up, the rise of cloud computing, and the geniuses behind streaming content, online radio has blossomed into a thing of beauty. Whether it’s label takeovers on the UK bass station RinseFM, rising stars spinning on NTS Radio, or celebrity cameos on Boiler Room, there will never be enough time in the world to listen to it all. Where to start? Here is your expertly curated selection of dance music radio shows that you need to listen to.
Beats in Space with Tim Sweeney
Hosted by DJ and label-head Tim Sweeney, Beats in Space has run every Tuesday from 10PM to 1AM since 1999. Hosted from inside NYU’s WNYU 89.1 FM, the show has become an institution in the dance music world. Tim consistently impresses listeners with his stellar live mixes and extensive electronic music collection, not to mention his weekly guests. Everyone from Four Tet and Jamie XX to James Murphy and Nicolas Jaar have graced the show with an on-air mix.
This strictly bass-focused Internet station is home to DJs spinning dubstep, future garage, 2-step, grime, UKG, future jungle, dub, deep house, techno, juke, trap, and more. Highlights include shows from the Belgian dubstep OG Bunzer0, emerging grime imprint Glacial Sound, and Brighton, UK incubator Donky Pitch.
Mix Up Exclusives on Triple J
Hosted by the Aussie station’s longtime radio personality Nina Las Vegas, the four-hour show presents one exclusive mix per hour. Nina, who I would imagine gets her name from partying like she’s in Vegas on the regular, tracks down all the artists we already love like Cashmere Cat, indie cult faves Awesome Tapes From Africa, and newcomer South London Ordnance to create amazing mixes that include unreleased songs, just for her.
Introducing the world to the emerging beatmaker scene in Japan and vice-versa, this show is your one-stop shop when it comes to discovering new music in the downtempo, ambient and jazzy hip-hop scenes. Bonus points if you speak Japanese and can understand what they’re saying in between songs.
Gold River Show
Host Jerry Jones is one of the staples of East Village Radio in New York, which you can visit in person if you’re ever strolling down First Avenue on the way to the Meat Pie Shop. With a ground-level studio that’s big enough for one DJ and four hype-dudes, they’ve got speakers set up out front so you can bust moves on the sidewalk and wave through the glass wall at the selector. Each week East Village Radio carves out two hours to let Jerry’s Gold River Show drop a mix of underground club music that stretches from oversexed Jersey club jams to synth-heavy disco.
Benji B on BBC Radio 1
BBC Radio 1 isthe be-all-end-all of tastemaking radio stations in the UK, with a mission to introduce the world to the best electronic artists—past, present and future. Benji B’s show is so ahead of the game that he has to go live at 2AM just to ensure it’s still “the future.” Dropping exclusives and premieres with little regard for genre, Benji B—who you may know from the globe-trotting Deviations party—makes everybody jealous with the roster of mega guests artists he lands every week.
Rinse FM launched in 1994 and quickly became the crown jewel of pirate radio stations. In 2010 the station received a proper opertaing license and now acts as a barometer of who’s hot when it comes to the UK’s homegrown talent. Don’t sleep on radio shows from labelsl like Hyperdub, Hessle Audio, Butterz, as well as appearances from artists like Four Tet and SBTRKT, who each have their own bi-weekly shows. No matter what show is on, you know you’re in good hands.
Two of Glasgow’s most prominent labels, which are also behind some of the best parties you’ve never been to, progress the sound of dance music each week with their alternating shows. The labels, which are home to groundbreaking acts like Hudson Mohawke, Rusty, Jacques Greene, Machinedrum and SOPHIE, enlist DJs like Jackmaster and Éclair Fifi to play host. They also make sure there’s plenty of inaudible Scottish banter and special guests.
Horse Meat Disco
Hosted by DJs James Hillard and Jim Stanton, Horse Meat Disco is basically a lesson in the origins of dance music going back to the days of early acid house, Balearic beat, and yes—disco. All that feel-good shit for you Ibiza beach party. If you thought you knew your way around the more ecstatic side of dance music, these guys prove you don’t know shit.
Precious Metals on NTS
If you’re itching to explore the experimental side of heavy bass, NTS Radio goes way beyond the mainstream to satisfy your most off-kilter desires. Founded in 2011, the London-based station has accomodates new music bubbling up from the underground’s darkest corners. Endgame describes his show Precious Metals as “abrasive and beautiful freeform electronic and dance music,“ and he gives listeners just that. Like deciding to stay in on a Friday, then waking up feeling amazing, listening to Precious Metals always leaves you feeling satisfied and refreshed—even if you weren’t sure it was a good idea at first.