What Is The Most Obscure/Bizarre Terrestrial Radio Station You're Aware Of

Excluding radio stations that are mostly some guy operating a low-watt FM transmitter out of his garage, what is the most obscure/bizarre terrestrial radio station you’re aware of (inspired by this thread).

In the mid-late 90s, when I lived in Joplin, Missouri, there was a station that had to have been a labor of love for the guy who ran it. They never played commercials or asked for donations.

Their format was bizarre. Between about noon and around 9:30 p.m., they would play stuff like Guy Lombardo, Tommy Dorsey, and the like. After that came fundamentalist Christian preaching. And there was no warning; a song would be over and then, BAM! preaching.

On the topic of Christian preaching, there’s an FM “classic rock” station around here that takes advertising from some local ministry. So in between bitchin’ riffs by Eddie van Halen and Jimi Hendrix are these two-minute uplifting messages about god or hope or faith or whatever, brought to you by Important Ministry. And they don’t ask for money! I guess they just like spending money on spreading their message.

There’s a station in Florence, AZ (KCDX) that plays all music all the time. No commercials, no DJs, no PSAs no nuttin’. Just deep cut classic rock tunes. And prerecorded announcer giving the callsign.

Give it a listen.

It’s like some rich guy wanted to listen to his extensive album collection wherever he went, so he bought a station as his personal iPod.

The stations that seemingly don’t need money: Could it be a form of money-laundering? If not, what else could explain it? How much would it cost to run a station like KCDX for a year? How much do radio songs tend to cost to air?

that was our rock station for the first 30 years until a new place bought it and hired djs for about a decade then they all left and then it got other competition and now its just a relay station for la’s kiis FM
we had a hobby station like that here for years this guy had a 1945-70s rock and pop collection that filled 6 rooms with some seriously obscure stuff and all you heard was a voice that mentioned what local business was sponsoring the day a time of day and sometimes what song you just heard … his motto was he played what he felt like when he felt like playing it

and every so often hed have a novelty day of funny stuff that probably was never played on a radio before or since

He died fo a heart attack a few years ago and a lot of people miss the station

Best I can figure from my limited Google Fu, ASCAP (whose website is down right now) considers radio a “public performance,” and the fee for a public performance license seems to be about $356 if I’m reading this correctly. That seems impossibly low to me, FWIW, but with ASCAP being down I’m not in a position to say. BMI thinks I’m going to create an account; no, no I’m not.

just the electric to run it and maybe someone to make sure the track kept playing heck these days you can run an internet radio station with your personal play list and and the repeat button if you have enough on it
all radio songs are free to air and you cant buy them normally …. I think there’s a license they have with the royalty place you pay yearly or something (edit" its the one heyhomie listed above)
Now im not to sure about playing music you personally purchased since that could violate copyright …. under the " this is meant for private performances any other use needs permission" type of thing

They’re doing that just to hold onto the license, and intend to eventually sell the station, when they’re ready and get a good offer. It’s like buying property and doing the minimal to maintain it under code, hoping it will appreciate.

There’s an extremely low-powered FM station that can usually only be heard in about a 1-mile radius around downtown Tacoma. Last time I was able to tune into it, they were exclusively playing radio plays from the '50s-'60s - I recall hearing an episode of “Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar”, an adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s “Mars Is Heaven!”, and an adaptation of the Twilight Zone episode “The Midnight Sun”.

This article mentions a few other oddballs as well.


The university I went to had a student run station. I think the DJ shifts were 2 hours long, and the format was set by each DJ. It could be a bit jarring, the sudden switches, but I also heard a lot of music I would never have found any where else.

Those inspirational messages aren’t from Foundation for a Better Life, are they? I don’t see the TV commercials any more, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t out there.

I started a similar thread a while back - and shouldn’t this thread be moved to Cafe Society?


Definitely a local ministry, of that I’m sure, though the name escapes me.

I don’t think that applies to KCDX. They’ve been that way going on 5 or more years.

And I can’t see it’s money laundering, as they take in no money (AFAIK).

Their programming is 100% computer controlled. There was a period of about two weeks a couple years ago, where the same songs played at (almost!) the same time every day. It was like Groundhog day. The odd part was not that the day repeated, but that it almost repeated. Say The Cars would play at 7:01 am today. Tomorrow it would be the Cars at 7:03. But the next day, it would be 7:00. I don’t know how that worked, as you’d think the program days should be absolutely identical. And since the station was 100% automated, there was no one to call or email to get them to fix it.

WMSE (Milwaukee School of Engineering) had a station like that. One hour of punk rock followed by an hour of Native American music followed by an hour of Tuvan throat singing, then back to classic rock. Man, I miss that station.

When I was at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, we had a station (WLHA) which was student-run, and owned by the university’s residence hall (dormitory) department. I DJed at WLHA for two years, and we had a similar, crazy mix of formats, depending on which student DJ was currently on the air (we had three-hour shifts).

When I was a teenager, I had several friends who tried to run their own AM stations. You could buy a transmitter kit from Allied Radio for $10, and add an RF amplifier section to boost it into illegal range, from a few blocks to several miles. I still have some tapes I made of one that I recorded as “evidence” should the FCC ever come snooping.

One was so haphazardly run that sometimes a DJ would bump the table; the needle would jump and the frequency would shift 10 kcs.

Back in the early years here when I commuted I listed to a local college station during the heyday of “college radio”. So you’d get a block of R.E.M.* and Siouxsie and the Banshees and then a block of Peruvian folk music. At odd times would be live coverage of the college teams.

Here’s may favorite odd station of old. A low power, daytime only station. Played what was called “underground music” in those days. It was owned by a Catholic woman. So between Zappa and Hendrix late in the afternoon they’d play a recording of the Holy Rosary.

  • Before they got famous and “sold out”, of course. :wink:

I’d assume that, for an actual radio station, you’d need someone to take the FCC required transmitter readings and stuff. You could do it yourself but, unless you plan to be responsible for all of them, you’d want some help. Plus any maintenance, etc. Doesn’t mean you need to pay the help but it’s not entirely fire-and-forget either.

Are numbers stations germane to this conversation? They seem pretty weird.

There’s a low power, Chinese language, Christian station in Columbia MO. I know the university there brings in people from all over the world, but I was still always surprised that there were enough Chinese speaking Christians there to justify running a radio station for them.

In UW-Platteville (WSUP), they fancied themselves a real station. They even subscribed to a format service! You played the playlist, or you didn’t work there. They gave the DJ like 10 minutes per hour to play what they wanted. *

While the rigid format was good training for the real world, it certainly missed the spirit of what college radio was supposed to be. The station was identical to every other AOR station on the air at the time.
*My buddy, who was on the staff, went and made his own underground station, and figured out how to broadcast it over the campus cable TV system. That didn’t fly with the department head! He threatened to call the FCC. Whatta square, maaan.