Stories » In the stream of Internet Radio, Terrestrial Radio is holding it's own / New York Times

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In the stream of Internet Radio, Terrestrial Radio is holding it's own / New York Times

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Internet radio was supposed to squash small FM music stations like KEXP. Someone forget to tell that to KEXP. Music fans live in a time of plenty, when nearly every song for any musical taste can be listened to in an instant over the Internet, from Spotify, Pandora and dozens of other sources. Satellite and commercial radio crowd the airwaves with further options for discovering new music and listening to the old. And yet a handful of nonprofit music stations like KEXP with roots in college radio have never been doing better. They are using the Internet to reach bigger audiences around the globe, adding to their video programming and seeking to become in-person destinations for fans. Most of all, they are trying to stand out with their music programming, with genre-hopping mixes selected by D.J.s rather than software or dictated by program directors at commercial radio chains.

"There's so much music out there, so many places to go," said Roger LaMay, general manager of WXPN, a public music station in Philadelphia, and chairman of the board of National Public Radio. "But finding curation from a trusted source is a lifeline for most music lovers who don't have the time or wherewithal to sift through it all on their own."

KCRW, a public radio station in Southern California, is another tastemaker. At the end of next year, the station plans to move out of its basement studio beneath the cafeteria of Santa Monica College to a $48 million facility with a public performance space. "The thing that has helped KEXP and KCRW is we're not traditional radio," said Jennifer Ferro, the president of KCRW. "We're really building this tribe of people that are interested in music discovery and curious about the world."