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Non-Commercial Radio Stations In Dallas / Fort Worth (DFW)

Updated on July 17, 2014

Dallas / Fort Worth has dozens of radio stations, and some of the best are non-commercial, student or community stations. Here is a brief look at some of the more prominent ones...

KNTU 88.1 FM

KNTU is the campus radio station of the University of North Texas, located in Denton. It has primarily a jazz format, but also airs shows covering other musical genres, such as tejano, classical and electronic music. They also feature news programming, which is student-produced at the local level. KNTU has actually received an award from the Broadcasting Education Association for having the best student-produced radio newscast and sportscast in the U.S. As of summer 2014, it is the only jazz station covering the DFW metro area. Coverage is good in most of the Metroplex, although not as strong in the southern portions. Their website is www.kntu.com/.

KEOM 88.5 FM

KEOM 88.5 FM is a high school radio station run by the Mesquite Independent School District. It broadcasts Mesquite ISD sporting events, usually commentated by students and/or faculty, as well as other student produced programming, community announcements and syndicated segments. However, it is also well known for its playing of classic rock and 70s music, with song choices that are as good -- and often better -- than what you would hear on a similar commercial station. The students DJs do an excellent job, and the station sounds professional and well-run. Its 61,000 watt transmitter gives KEOM excellent coverage over a wide area across DFW. You can listen live at their website, www.keom.fm.

KNON 89.3 FM

This Dallas-based community radio station started broadcasting in 1983, and has been filling the local airwaves with earnest, quirky, interesting radio ever since. Funded almost entirely by listener and business donations, KNON is the station you tune into when you want music you will not hear anywhere else on the DFW radio dial: stuff like zydeco, death metal, reggae, Jewish music, polka and other genres. A daily morning show (The Blend), a labor-oriented talk show, Sunday morning religious programming and LGBT programming round out the offerings. KNON is also seems to be the most Blues-focused station in the area, with a good deal of airtime (and fund-raising shows) devoted to that genre. Compared to commercial radio, the main appeal of this station's volunteer DJs is simply that they sound like real people. Their coverage of the metro area is also very good at 55,000 watts. Check out their website at www.knon.org.

KERA 90.1 FM

Dallas/Fort Worth's National Public Radio affiliate, KERA is the go-to station for substantive analysis of not just national news, but local issues and politics as well. The local reporting team is excellent, giving time to North Texas news and issues that commercial news radio doesn't seem to have the time for. KERA's local and statewide election night coverage is also the best on local radio. 90.1 carries most of the national shows you would expect to find on any NPR station: All Things Considered, Diane Rheems, Fresh Air, Car Talk (ugh), This American Life, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, and BBC World Service in the overnights. Their locally produced shows Think and Everything You Ever Wanted To Know provide for pleasant mid-day listening. KERA's only major weak spot is real-time weather and traffic info, so when there's a weather emergency, my radio dial has to immediately leave KERA. All in all, though, this is probably the best overall radio station in this market, and their muscular 100,000 watt signal reaches far beyond the core of the DFW area. Their website is www.kera.org/radio.

KKXT 91.7 FM

KERA's sister music station, KXT (formerly Christian station KVTT) began broadcasting under its current ownership and format in 2009, when KERA purchased it. It plays an Adult Alternative format, with a mix of mostly pop and rock ranging from the 70s to the present. You probably won't hear much gangsta rap or death metal on KXT, as the station's target demographic seems to be urban/suburban adults in their 20s to 40s, but you do sometimes get to hear something new or different that might not get airplay on commercial radio. You can also sometimes sample local artists, as well as hear about local shows and events. The station also often gives away tickets to local shows, mostly by independent or alternative artists. KXT relies mostly on listener donations. Their coverage and signal quality are excellent. Check out their website at www.kxt.org.

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