New Orleans

Sounds of New Orleans

What you hear in New Orleans is like no other city’s sounds. Thanks to the Internet, you can listen to life in New Orleans wherever you happen to be.

According to the latest Census Bureau estimate, the current population of New Orleans is just under 379,000, yet we have three public stations.

The city’s love affair with the spoken word, music and musicians, the written word, and visual arts has been rewarded with three very distinctive public radio stations, each covering local life and art in their own way.

All three can be heard live over the internet. If you’re thinking of visiting New Orleans or if you know what it means to miss New Orleans, follow the links to these stations and hear the city that care forgot.


Public radio, not NPR. The best radio station for traditional music, anywhere, period, in my humble opinion. The work “eclectic” was invented for WWOZ. I can guarantee that there are one or more shows that will cause you a “why haven’t I heard this before?” moment. (Of course you may also run across a show that is not a flavor you like on your musical ice cream sundae.)

As a service to both musicians and bar owners (and owners of other venues) they cover exhaustively what bands and performers are playing in which bar or music venue, with details.

The daily schedule is peppered with live interviews of musicians and singers, and live in-studio performances.

But mostly WWOZ is music… incredible music.

The web site will allow you to launch a small WWOZ Player widget that can sit on your desktop and make New Orleans feel close, all day.


New Orleans’ National Public Radio station (NPR). Yes, they have the national features you want, but they cover the arts, Louisiana cooking, and local culture really well, too.

Check out Susan Larson’s The Reading Life, and Nick Spitzer’s American Routes.


The station’s motto is “Reading fine print for the blind, the literary and the visionary.” They cover literature, news, mysteries, drama, sci-fi, health information, travel, grocery shopping (!), business, magazines — anything of interest.

It’ll add some powerful spices to whatever else is on your radio menu.

(Updated:) WTUL

Several New Orleans friends have contacted me to say I should include WTUL in this list. WTUL is associated with Tulane University and is operated by Tulane students, staff, and alumni. It’s also the “oldest continually operating FM station” in New Orleans. Like WWOZ it features great play lists of traditional music with a focus on blues, jazz, and traditional New Orleans genres and culture. Like the others on this list it’s a non-commercial station supported by contributions from individuals and organizations. Excellent!