20 Reasons Why Atlanta is America’s Music Capital

We have radio

Illustration by Miss Lotion

Sure, Atlanta radio is no stranger to the consolidation, cutbacks, and corporate-driven playlists that have homogenized airwaves across the country. Format changes happen in an instant, as listeners discovered in November 2014, when 102.9 FM switched from gospel to old-school hip-hop to compete with another station that had started broadcasting just hours earlier. And a lonely teardrop falls down the cheeks of Gen Xers at the mere mention of the original alt-rock station 99X.

But Atlanta radio remains a snapshot of the city it serves. Stations cater to the predominantly black populace and scrappy communities of creative students, vinyl collectors, and enthusiasts of esoterica. Despite getting bumped off the daytime dial by Georgia Public Broadcasting, Georgia State University students manning WRAS-FM 88.5’s super-powered antenna still broadcast video-game music, Japanese pop, and vaporwave. WMLB-AM 1690 Voice of the Arts spins an eclectic mix that ranges from folk to Afrobeat. Georgia Tech’s WREK-FM 91.1 would make Captain Beefheart smile, mining everything from scratchy field recordings to jug bands. V-103, the Atlanta granddaddy of hip-hop, plays Run DMC, 2Pac, Salt-N-Pepa, and other classic rap. Adult Swim’s Fishcenter Live streams a weekly web show that hopscotches between a radio talkfest and aquarium viewing party (literally), replete with in-studio visits by the likes of Jason Isbell and Post Malone. And God bless Lois Reitzes.