Best Radio Station (2001)

WLRN-FM (91.3)

Fifty years old on May 10, this station would wipe the floor with the competition -- if there were any. As it is WLRN remains a beacon of taste and intelligence in the vast wasteland of corporately controlled South Florida radio. The station's NPR news and public affairs programming is reliably enlightening, but locally produced shows are also first-rate. Standouts include jazz every weekday night from Len Pace (with a voice like Barry White on Quaaludes) and on Sundays from Ted Grossman (whose shtick is pure Noo Yawk). WLRN was the radio station that did the mostest, firstest, to bring reggae to the States, chiefly due to the efforts of the legendary Clint O'Neil. O'Neil still lays down the smooth patter overnight Tuesday through Saturday, handing the reins to protégé Ital-K on the off nights. Also note Michael Stock's Saturday-afternoon folk-music show, which has kept the boho flame alive for 20 years now. The station's strongest South Florida flaa-va comes from its broadcasts of the Miami-Dade School Board's meetings, at which you can occasionally hear expelled students come in to plead their cases. You won't believe the stories they tell. In a gesture that shows the station's commitment to public service, it offers a show en kreyol for the benefit of the local Haitian community, evidence of the station's continued dedication to the ever-changing needs and interests of the South Florida community.


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