The Indie Radio Stations To Try Now | SLMan
Even before lockdown forced everyone inside and home workers gained the freedom to listen to whatever they wanted all day, radio audiences were on the up. While the Times newspaper is readying itself to launch a new station next week, the real heroes of radio’s resurgence have been the independents. Showcasing new approaches to music, spoken word and news radio, here’s the SLMan pick of the indie stations to lend an ear to…

NTS Radio

London is its home, but NTS Radio also has studios in LA, Shanghai and Manchester. Its roster of resident DJs span disco, reggae, rock and hip hop to chart pop – expect funky mixes and album cuts, as well as power-ballad playlists and takeovers from special guests. A monthly highlight is Sounds On Screen, which celebrates the best soundtracks and scores from the big screen.
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Resonance FM

Resonance FM is an art-first station. Expert-led shows encourage listeners to get creative, combining music with audio-theatre and art discussion shows such as Art Then & Now, in which painter Anna Gammans chats about influential work and art styles from the past through to the present day. Catch it at 3.30pm every Thursday or listen to the previous week’s show via the station’s archive page.
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Monocle 24

This round-the-clock station from the globalists at Monocle magazine dives deep into news, foreign affairs, business, culture, and food and drink. Monocle On Design is a weekly half-hour show that picks out the shiniest new stuff from the worlds of design, architecture and fashion. Look out too for The Stack, which takes the globalist approach to pop culture, exploring anything from South African photography to Japanese magazines.
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Soho Radio

Soho Radio brings together musicians, artists, poets and actors to curate a programme that’s guaranteed to satisfy all your cultural cravings. For example, Timeless Tales is a monthly show hosted by short-story writer Ollie Levy. Each month has a theme, with Ollie performing poems and prose based on that topic. Other regular highlights include Vinyl Sessions, a series of acoustic live performances from well-known and up-and-coming artists.
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JFSR Radio

JFSR Radio broadcasts from 6am to late, with presenters playing everything from soulful house to 80s dance-floor anthems. Tune into The Early Show hosted by ex-Jazz FM presenter Andy Field (6-8am on weekdays) for some iconic Motown and jazz-funk hits. Saturday mornings are reserved for the UK soul chart, bringing listeners the top tracks from the past week. 
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Colourful Radio

Colourful Radio boasts a weighty programme of talk shows, audio-dramas and multi-genre music shows. Head here for your weekly comedy fix: Saturday mornings see Boe The Comedian deliver a rant-style comedy show alongside an eclectic mix of special guests. For a news update with a twist, listen to Five In The Eye every Monday and Friday, when hosts Michael and Phil discuss the stories that have caught their attention that week.
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Reform Radio

Manchester-based Reform Radio is part of a not-for-profit organisation that also runs creative workshops for young people. As well as DJs spinning anything from indie pop to folk rock, Reform streams intelligent and insightful chat shows. Mind For Music is a monthly wellness show that sees special guests join regular presenters to discuss the healing power of music.
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This community-led station brings the best of Edinburgh to the radio waves. Broadcasting 24 hours a day, one of its most popular offerings is the weekly Infinite Sounds show. Presented by DJ Jamie Wightman, it's two hours dedicated to deep jazz, all mixed on vinyl. Tune in Tuesday lunchtimes or catch up on past shows on the station’s archive page.
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Melodic Distraction

Melodic Distraction broadcasts live from the Baltic Triangle, aka Liverpool’s creative quarter. The station streams over 70 monthly shows, with a musical range that runs from Marvin Gaye to Loyle Carner. Chat shows cover everything from social commentary to news and history. On Sundays, Artist Focus celebrates the lives and careers of some of the world’s most influential musicians and composers.
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Reprezent Radio

This youth-led station has streamed daily since 2011, playing both signed and unsigned artists across multiple genres. Filling the late-night slot every Monday is The Big Bang Show, recorded live in New York city. Featuring exclusive interviews with artists and industry big shots, and hosted by resident DJs playing only the freshest new tracks, it’s worth staying up for.
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Not strictly a station, but a need-to-know nonetheless, Radio Garden is the go-to tool for anyone wanting to dive a little deeper into the world of independent radio. Launched in 2016, this Dutch online platform connects people and places through a shared love of culture, music and art. Either tap in your postcode to discover a local station, or search its revolving, interactive global map to tune in live to something completely different from a whole other continent.
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