Are you, like us, a fan of discovering great music on the radio?
Join us for a round up of more than 50 jazz radio shows around the world, from the biggest stations in Europe and North America, so independent, online platforms broadcasting cutting edge jazz and classic recordings.
We may well be in ‘the streaming age’ where pretty much any music ever recorded is readily available online, but jazz radio stations – and particularly the people that host them – still provide a valuable and entertaining source of discovery for jazz fans and musician alike.
It’s a bit like visiting the worlds biggest all-you-can eat restaurant and having a talented chef sit next to your and give their best recommendations…
For jazz musicians, being aware of the great jazz radio stations and shows around the world is an important gap to fill when promoting a new album.
And, for music fans, getting to know which programmes match your tastes is a great way to make sure you’re not missing any killer new releases!
For this article, we originally picked a handful of the most well-established jazz radio stations around the world to give you a brief overview to what’s out there.
We’ve recently upgraded it, though, to include a whole host of other great shows around the world which might just be a perfect match for your listening requirements..!
There’s a long history of jazz being played and talked about on the radio.
There are recordings available by Charlie Parker, Nat King Cole and Miles Davis that were originally made especially for broadcast, and in fact a previously unheard interview with Parker, from New York radio show The 1280 Club in the mid 1950s, recently surfaced…
(We’ve included a video of it at the bottom of this article!)
Now many major public broadcasters (like the BBC in the United Kingdom, NPR in the USA and France Musique in France) include some jazz coverage amongst their scheduling.
Digital radio has allowed for an increase in specialist stations that focus only on jazz, or even specific sub-genres like smooth jazz, Latin or avant garde jazz, while the internet and social media allow fans to discover new shows and stations, and to listen from around the world.
Jazz radio shows can expose artists to whole new audiences, making them an in important area to consider when thinking about promoting that new album release. There are even businesses, particularly in the USA, that offer specialised PR services just for jazz radio playlisting.
So, here’s our list of some of today’s best jazz radio stations and programmes from around the world…
Jazz FM (UK)
With “Listen in colour” as a slogan, Jazz FM has been a fixture of the UK’s radio landscape since 1990, although it has taken on various forms through the change in the radio landscape from analogue to digital.
Somethin’ Else with Jez Nelson
Jez Nelson is one of the UK’s best known jazz broadcasters. He has had high profile presenting stints on the BBC, and is CEO of the UK’s largest independent radio production company in the UK, Somethin’ Else, which is also the name of his long-running show on Jazz FM.
Nelson’s Sunday night slot is highly eclectic, playing mostly new music, with the odd classic, from the UK and elsewhere: a given show might stretch from Moses Boyd, to Ambrose Akinmusire, to Nina Simone.
The Blueprint with Chris Phillips
Chris Phillips is another Jazz FM stalwart, and a former Head of Music at the Station. His Saturday night show focuses on “new jazz heat, grooves and free sounds.”
Other Jazz FM shows include The Ronnie Scott’s Radio Show with Ian Shaw, and YolanDa Brown’s soul and blues-focused programme.
France Musique – Open Jazz (FR)
Alex Dutilh is a highly respected French journalist, music critic and radio producer, most notably of the show Open Jazz, which he has presented since 2008.
Each episode takes an in-depth look at a particular musician from the international jazz scene, generally prompted by a new record release.
This includes reissues, so it has a broad historical range: recent subjects have ranged from French gypsy jazz icon Stéphane Grappelli, to rising New York piano star Micah Thomas, to Avant garde legend Anthony Braxton.
Dutilh’s output is prolific: he puts out five episodes of Open Jazz per week on France Musique, a publicly owned station that is part of the Radio France group. He also pops up at various European jazz festivals where he interviews musicians backstage and the show is also available as a podcast.
NPO – Radio 2 Soul & Jazz (NL)
Radio 2 Soul & Jazz is one of the major stations belonging to NPO, the Netherlands’ public broadcasting company. There are programmes seven evenings per week, many of which are available as podcasts, and you can listen through a dedicated app, as well as online.
The Co! Live show broadcasts performances from North Sea Jazz and other festivals, while Makkinga Meets sees host Andrew Makkinga interviewing guests from across the cultural sector, taking their favourite tracks as a starting point.
Alto saxophonist Benjamin Hermann is one of the finest jazz musicians in the Netherlands, but his Tuesday evening show reveals him to be a charismatic and extremely knowledgeable radio presenter as well.
DR – P8 JAZZ (DK)
The flagship jazz station from DR, Denmark’s major public radio company, P8’s stated aim is to inspire and educate its listeners with music covering the entire history of jazz.
The station broadcasts audio from recent editions of the Copenhagen Jazz Festival, as well as high quality archive audio: one programme featured a recording of the Miles Davis Quintet from 1967!
The station has also done a recent series on the use of jazz in film soundtracks, while a number of P8’s evening programmes spotlight the music, with no presenter between tracks.
Danish Radio is one of the few stations in Europe which still have an in-house big band who perform with international guests throughout the year.
CBC – Saturday Night Jazz with Laila Biali (CA)
In addition to her presenting role with Canadian national broadcasters CBC, Laila Biali is a Juno Award-winning pianist and singer.
Her show spotlights new releases from the Canadian and international jazz scenes as well as old favourites, with a focus on slightly more mainstream jazz and singers.
A recent show featured modern vocalists Jamie Cullum and Melody Gardot, classic straight ahead jazz in the form of Ray Brown and Cannonball Adderley, and new instrumental releases from Immanuel Wilkins and Cory Weeds.
As the show’s website says: “Saturday night and Jazz go together like Ella & Louis”.
This Canadian radio institution has existed in various formats since 1949, but has been a 24-hour jazz station since 2001.
With a strong community ethos, it has an active team of 90 volunteers, and a particular focus on promoting and showcasing the development of Canadian talent.
Flagship shows include Afternoon Drive with Brad Barker, who also acts as the station’s music director, and David Basskin’s The Nightfly, which highlights lesser-known artists.
JAZZ.FM91 also broadcasts a number of shows originally recorded for other stations, including Jamie Cullum’s BBC Radio Show and the Ronnie Scott’s Radio Show from the UK, and John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey’s Radio Deluxe show from the USA.
Jazz Night in America – NPR/WGBO (USA)
Jazz Night in America is a weekly radio show and a multimedia collaboration between WGBO (New York’s premier jazz radio station), NPR (the USA’s non-profit National Public Radio) and the Lincoln Center (a performing arts complex in Manhattan, the Jazz portion of which is directed by Wynton Marsalis).
The show is presented by Christian McBride (interviewed here by Jazzfuel), who is best known as a Grammy Award-winning winning double bassist and bandleader, and who has collaborated with the likes of Freddie Hubbard, Joshua Redman and Diana Krall.
Jazz Night in America has featured interviews with major artists including Wynton Marsalis, Stefon Harris and Camille Thurman, as well as archive audio material from live concerts. The show’s website also contains a series of specially recorded video performances.
WGBO’s director of editorial content and celebrated jazz author Nate Chinen also works on the show.
Radio Swiss Jazz (CH)
Based in Basel, Switzerland, Radio Swiss Jazz plays jazz, soul and blues 24 hours a day, with many listeners opting to enjoy the station via a well designed app.
At least 30% of the music played is by Swiss artists, but you’ll also hear classic numbers and new releases from the international scene. There are no presenters, so this station is a good option for those who just like to hear good music with no chat between tunes.
As the radio station’s website states, the styles covered lean more towards Jazz Standards, Swing, Bebop, Soul and Blues.
“No shows, only pure music 24 hours, without publicity, news etc.”
ABC Jazz (AU)
Formerly known as Dig Jazz, ABC Jazz is part of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation network, and showcases the best of Australian and international jazz and improvised music.
The Dinner Set with Monica Trapaga has looked at new and old jazz stars, including Veronica Swift, Joao Gilberto and Abbey Lincoln, while James Valentine’s Upbeat has had episodes focused on Nat King Cole and Cassandra Wilson.
The station’s Artist in Residence series allows musicians from the Australian jazz scene to talk about their own influences and the stories behind their work.
BBC Radio 3 (UK)
Jazz Record Requests
Hosted by knowledgeable presenter, author and bassist Alyn Shipton, Jazz Record Requests is a long running fixture of BBC Radio 3’s jazz programming. The Sunday afternoon show features records from across the history of jazz, all of which have been specifically requested by listeners.
You can check the programming of this radio how here.
Freeness & The Swing & Big Band Show
Other BBC jazz programmes include Corey Mwamba’s Freeness, which focuses on more Avant garde material, and The Swing & Big Band Show with Clare Teal on Radio 2.
Musical Musings on Movement Radio (Greece)
Hosted by Christina Hazboun, Musical Musings features a range of styles covering indigenous, jazz, folk and experimental music.
“Ride the sonic waves and dive into the depths of the Mediterranean to bring back dissonant, forgotten and formidable sounds as we muse over the socio-historical climate surrounding musical findings through interviews, thoughtful wanderings and musical recommendations by an eclectic array of guests.”
La Machine à Remonter le Tympan on CFOU FM 89,1 (Canada)
This show is hosted by Eric and Jess, and places its emphasis on American roots genres with a selection of hot jazz to fusion jazz, or in other words – jazz that came about any time from the 1890s to the 1980s.
Here is how Eric, one of the hosts, puts it in his own words: “A discovery of American Roots music through historical and social themes.”
Club de Jazz (Spain)
Stationed in Barcelona, Spain, Club de Jazz podcast is hosted by Carlos Perez Cruz, and puts its focus on contemporary jazz, free jazz, and free improvisation styles.
“A weekly podcast focused on a wide-range spectrum of contemporary jazz specialized in in-depth interviews with jazz players from all over the world.”
Hot Biscuits (UK)
Hot Biscuits is hosted by Steve Bewick, who features any and all promising jazz music ranging from New Orleans, to swing, be-bop, to modern and contemporary.
“I like to undertake mini reviews of gigs, CD,s and Singles etc. Half our broadcasts are based upon live recorded sessions from new and established bands. Mainly the former. We display a weekly jazz show freely available on the Mix-Cloud platform. We also periodically add older broadcasts prior to establishing the current platform!”
Taberna de JAZZ (Candil Radio, Almeria, Spain)
This 100%-Spanish show is hosted by Ramon Garcia and based in Almeria, Spain. While their focus is on promoting young and hopeful Spanish jazz musicians, they don’t limit themselves to a particular genre, but rather opt for a wide exploration of the jazz universe.
“A program that tries to show, in a didactic way, all kinds of jazz. One of the strong points of the program is to promote Spanish jazz artists and bands, but also analyzes of new or old albums, or monographs on bands and artists of any time or style of jazz.”
Smooth Soul Radio (USA)
As the name concisely suggests, Smooth Soul Radio focuses on the best of smooth jazz and Soul R&B. They explore various styles ranging from contemporary and smooth jazz, to fusion, mainstream, classic and contemporary soul.
This is how they describe themselves in one sentence: “The world’s greatest blend of jazz and soul!”
Impronta de Jazz (Argentina)
Impronta de Jazz hails from Argentina and is hosted by seasoned jazz aficionado Micky Almanda. The show features avant-garde jazz, European jazz, and Hard Bop, but perhaps the biggest emphasis is on Argentinian jazz.
“Radio show with 19 years on air dedicated to the diffusion of jazz in all of its expressions, looking at the genre from its beginnings to the European vanguard of today, specializing on Argentinian Jazz and its evolution over time.”
Jazz Variations (USA)
Jazz Variations is Tonia King’s creation. She explores through the genres and delivers quality music spanning from jazz & blues, to soul, funk, and R&B.
“A cornucopia of accessible world jazz, blues, funk and more.”
Jazz & World Music Show at Riviera FM (UK)
This show on Riviera FM is the perfect blend of modern jazz and world music. The show is split into two parts, the first featuring contemporary jazz and the second – exciting world music from various spots on the globe.
Here is how David Walden, the show’s host, puts it in his own words: “I am a music promoter in Torbay and run a jazz club (Fougou Jazz) in the bay. The show reflects my choice of jazz, which is very wide, as well as world music that mostly has a jazz influence. I also try to promote local jazz artists.”
ByteFM has three shows devoted to covering jazz music: “Die Runde Stunde” (translating to the Round Hours), “Orbit”, and “Standard”.
“Die Runde Stunde” is hosted by music journalist Götz Bühler, who presents rare and beautiful vinyl music from his extensive collection.
“Orbit” is broadcasted every two weeks. Host Clarissa Lorenz takes listeners to far away planets of spiritual jazz, broken beats and nu-disco.
“Standard”: Those who connect the title of the show with the Cole Porter song are on the right track. Niklas Holle is the host of the show, and his concept is to present hits and classics from the beginnings of popular music.
Jazz Around the World (South Africa)
This weekly two hour show hosted by Wolfgang König deals with jazz, blues, world music, as well as any and all fusions in between said styles.
Wolfgang explores the entire globe in quest for exciting discoveries, and as part of the show he includes a series by the name of “Jazz behind the Iron Curtain” in which he presents vintage jazz recordings from Eastern Europe’s era of communist regimes, starting from the 50s up until the late 80s.
The show is broadcasted on the All Jazz Radio in Cape Town, South Africa.
Jazz auf NDR Kultur (Germany)
This show is broadcasted five times a week, Monday to Friday. The hosts of the show focus on exploring new and exciting jazz music from around the world, as well as provide info on the local, regional and international jazz scene.
Quite an intriguing concept, as they equally present us with the new, young, hopeful, and undiscovered jazz artists, while keeping a balance by including memorable pieces from a rich 100-year jazz legacy.
Excellence in Jazz
Jazz is not enough for Gary Vercelli. He seeks the outstanding pieces, and shares them diligently with his audience.
He diligently sifts through the mainstream jazz and picks out only the highest quality pieces to share with his audience.
He uses the following motto to describe his show: “Not just jazz, Excellence in Jazz…”
All That Jazz with George Graham on WVIA Radio (USA)
All That Jazz is a one-hour show focusing on acoustic jazz, broadcasted 5 days a week, Monday to Friday.
Host George Graham is constantly on the quest of finding promising new musicians to present to his audience.
The style they’re after is mainstream acoustic jazz with a little fusion.
Some of the show’s regular features are the Tuesday night Venerable Jazz segment, as well as the new releases on Thursday, and requests on Friday.
Regular features include the Tuesday night Venerable Jazz segment, the Thursday new releases edition, and requests on Friday.
Note: Due to rights issues, there is no on-demand stream.
“All That Jazz is a show mainly focused on the newest jazz recordings in mainstream acoustic style, with some fusion. We pay special attention to the regional jazz scene, broadcasting extensive coverage of regional jazz festivals in Northeastern Pennsylvania. We also present occasional live performances from our studio theater.
Also WVIA owns and operates Chiaroscuro Jazz records, a 50-year-old jazz label with over 100 active titles in our catalog. We have a 24-hour streaming service, the Chiaroscuro Channel, with continuous music from Chiaroscuro releases (http://chiaroscurojazz.org).”
Jazz & Dintorni and Jazz Pulse on AMDR Rock Web Radio (Italy)
Jazz & Dintorni
Jazz & Dintorni is a show that is hosted by Rosario Puma, who accepted the challenge of running a jazz show within the scope of AMDR Rock Web Radio’s work. They feature all types of inspiring jazz music, from past decades as well as from young promising jazz musicians.
Host of the Jazz Pulse is Francesco Saiu, who takes charge over the radio waves at AMDR Rock Web Radio every Thursday evening from 8:00 p.m., regularly featuring extraordinary guests from the world of jazz, sharing their artistic experiences through sounds and words.
JazzBites Radio (USA)
JazzBites Radio is the home of the new talent and/or unsigned artists who deserve to be given a chance, but do not yet possess a recording contract.
At its heart, JazzBites radio attempts to serve as a platform for young jazz musicians and enables them to play their music alongside their more famous peers.
JazzBites Radio also incorporates the Jazz Repository.
JazzBites Radio has four channels that play smooth jazz, modern jazz, vintage/rare jazz recordings from 1911, and blues & soul.
“WBGO 88.3 FM / Newark Public Radio is a non-profit, publicly funded arts and cultural institution, dedicated to the curation, presentation and preservation of music created out of the African American experience. We are committed to providing our community with independently produced music programming and journalism for the purpose of public enrichment, entertainment, and insight.”
Czech Radio Jazz
Czech Radio Jazz is a public radio station owned by the Czech Radio, broadcasting jazz 24/7. They broadcast jazz from around the world, including the most exciting contemporary artists. They touch upon the local scene and the jazz classics occasionally, as well.
JazzContempo Radio (Peru)
Hailing from Peru we have JazzContempo – the online radio streaming smooth jazz from dawn, till dusk, and vice versa. Beautiful, energetic, sophisticated smooth jazz is the order of the day with JazzContempo.
“Música con estilo propio.” (Music with distinctive style)
Dutch Jazz on Sublime (Netherlands)
Bart Wirtz teams up with Rolf Delfos to present the show “Dutch Jazz” every Sunday evening from 23:00 on Sublime.
The focus of the show is Dutch jazz. Genres played include Dutch jazz, soul, funk and other genre variations related to jazz.
If you’re looking to learn more about upcoming concerts on Dutch venues and festivals, tune in to this show.
The Dutch Jazz show can be found on Spotify as well.
KUVO Jazz (USA)
KUVO Jazz has become something of a Denver cultural legacy, with almost 4 decades of broadcasting as a full-time music station, predominantly focusing on jazz. They feature local artists, exciting talent from around the world, as well as classics from the past.
The styles that you can hear on KUVO Jazz are somewhere between jazz, latino, and blues. A truly tasteful blend of genres.
“A minority founded and managed non-profit, community-public radio station since 1985. Community! Culture! Music!”
The Diamond show takes place Mondays through Fridays from noon until 1 p.m. on WICR-HD1. The focus is on smooth jazz, and the concept is to blend new releases combined with legends, fusion artists and a cold category.
On weekday nights, WICR-FM host a variety of specialty shows. Those shows are: Grand Big Bands, Jazz Rendezvous and the Great American Songbook, Cool Jazz Countdown and Cafe Jazz from the African American Public Radio Consortium.
Other local programs hosted by local jazz musicians include Matt Althizer and Rich Dole’s Have You Heard?, Talking Jazz with Monika Herzig from the University of Indiana, and The Owl Music Group owner Kenny Phelps who hosts the Owl Music Group Radio Hour.
The Line-Up and Evolve on 91.7 FM KRTU San Antonio (USA)
The station overall runs the entire spectrum of jazz genres from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., combining indie rock in the overnight hours.
Music director Anthony Dean-Harris hosts the two shows – “The Line Up” and “Evolve”. The style of the shows is modern jazz, and the aim is exploring new releases from the entire gamut of contemporary jazz.
Jazz24.org and KNKX 88.5 FM (USA)
Jazz24.org is a service of KNKX Streaming world-class jazz. They broadcast worldwide a variety of styles from the 50s to today.
KNKX 88.5 FM
KNKX-FM 88.5 FM combines jazz, blues, and music of the American northwest. It is broadcasted throughout western Washington and southwest British Columbia on 88.5 FM.
90.9 FM WRCJ (USA)
90.9 FM WRCJ is a listener supported, non-profit radio station broadcasting to the Detroit Metro area, Michigan. Their program is classical music played during the day (5 a.m. – 7 p.m.) combined with jazz at night (7 p.m. – 5 a.m.).
SmoothJazz.com Online Radio (USA)
SmoothJazz.com is the radio station you need if you’re looking for some authentic California Coast based smooth jazz.
“Global Home for the Hippest Jazz from the California Coast!”
Smoothlounge is a SmoothJazz variation stream offering a “Delicious Fusion of Organic Chilled Beats!”.
ArtSound FM, Community Radio Canberra (Australia)
This volunteer run community radio has several jazz programs and covers various styles, covering a broader jazz spectrum. The show Jazz Experience broadcasts on Sundays.
Down in the Basement goes on weeknights.
Friday Night Live features recordings of local jazz concerts. All in all, a satisfying concept sure to please a lusting jazz soul!
“ArtSound FM broadcasts jazz from its earliest years to its cutting edge forms of today.”
OFR.FM Old Fashioned Radio (Ukraine)
Old Fashioned Radio is a digital jazz radio station with 4 channels of different music genres (Jazz & Blues, Funk & Soul, Rock, Zemlya – Ukrainian music).
Based in Ukraine, it promotes modern Ukrainian music, but also aims at sharing notable jazz music from around the world.
“Author’s programs, quality sound and boundless love for jazz.”
SoundTraxx With Mark Stanley (UK)
SoundTraxx with Mark Stanley is a weekly 2-hour Jazz-Variety radio programme where episodes are devoted to exploring a vast number of jazz subgenres. It is broadcast on several stations.
“We focus on the best music available from established and independent artists, without the grinding repetition of ‘hot singles’, talk, and personalities found elsewhere.”
Best Smooth Jazz Radio – BSJ (UK)
Host of Best Smooth Jazz Radio takes us on a musical journey without words.
“Best Smooth Jazz from London England plays all instrumental Smooth Jazz with host Rod Lucas. All commercial free for work, rest & play. 24/7 on the stream, shortwave and DAB HD Radio.”
Latin Jazz Cruise hosted by Bobby Sanabria (USA)
Bobby Sanabria is the host of this show, and he takes us on an exciting journey of Latin jazz. This show is part of WBGO’s “Rhythm & Song Weekend” program.
“Airing on Saturday’s from 4-6pm ET, the Latin Jazz Cruise is hosted by noted musician Bobby Sanabria who takes you on a journey that covers a wide spectrum of jazz influenced by Latin America.”
A World In London (UK)
DJ Ritu is at the helm of A World in London, a show that takes us literally on every continent, introducing us to world music including jazz, folk, and the “occasional soul wildcard”!
“(A world in London is) DJ Ritu’s weekly, independent, and definitive culture-connecting global music show, broadcasting on Wednesdays from resonance 104.4 FM…”
CoffeeTalk Jazz Radio (USA)
This global internet radio offers an invigorating repertoire of exciting new artists from just about every corner of the world.
Iowa’s Jazz Station – KCCK-FM (USA)
Jazz 88.3 KCCK is a non-commercial, educational FM radio station operated by Kirkwood Community College.
“KCCK is Iowa’s only jazz radio station. In addition to award-winning jazz shows hosted by some of the Midwest’s best jazz radio personalities, KCCK serves thousands of students each year through innovative jazz education programs and brings jazz to the community with unique concerts and events.”
Jen’s Jazz Mix Up on MeridianFMJazz (UK)
Jen’s focus is on jazz, soul, blues & big band.
“Jenny Green’s experience as a jazz singer and jazz club curator and host puts her in the heart of the jazz community. Jenny has been broadcasting jazz for more than eight years on community radio, she currently broadcasts her weekly Jazz Mix Up show for Meridian FM based in East Grinstead Sussex, Wednesdays from 8-10 p.m. Jenny often invites guests into the studio and always supports new music by playing and promoting gigs.”
Cool Jazz Countdown (USA)
Hosts Marcellus “The Bassman” Shepard and Kyle LaRue conceptualized the Cool Jazz Countdown as a weekly survey presenting the top jazz albums, based on national jazz chart movement, listener feedback and local radio airtime.
“A countdown of the top 10 jazz albums of the week, featuring traditional and smooth jazz.”
Thanks for reading! I hope you’ll check out some of these great jazz radio stations over the coming weeks and let us know in the comments section your favourite.
Here’s that recently resurfaced Charlie Parker radio interview from 1954…
If you’d like to discover more great jazz media outlets, including websites, blogs and magazines from around the world, you can find our directory of the jazz press here.
And, if you’re a jazz musician with an upcoming release, find all the Jazzfuel content on this topic here.
The label ‘Discover Jazz’ is attached to articles which have been edited and published by Jazzfuel host Matt Fripp, but have been written in collaboration with various different jazz musicians and industry contributors. When appropriate, these musicians are quoted and name-checked inside the article itself!