Where are you? Do you know what your FM is doing?

Wondering if folks would do the favor of checking in with their general location and tell whether or not the FM stations in their area make it worth investing in a truly fine tuner. Seems most market suffer from "compression-depression" these days.
Atlanta... one good Jazz and one good classical station. The Pop, Rock, Country, 80s, Oldies and Rap stations provide a clean and powerful signal but they are definitely compressed. There is also an Alternative station that plays stuff that sounds like intergalactic space noise mixed with test tones late at night, some of the most bizarre things I have ever heard. If I still lived half way between Philly and NYC I would absolutely have a tuner. I am currently contemplating one anyway, perhaps a used Accuphase T-101.
The college radio station near my home kicks out a lot of 'alternative' music and I listen all the time for the constant refreshing and new songs they play. The sound quality is quite a bit better than the commercial stations and with my little Rotel tuner sounds amazingly good. I would not be without it, it is my first choice when listening to music and I plan on getting a better tuner someday. When I borrowed my riends Fanfare tuner the sound quality got much better so they are putting out a good signal.
Upstate New York Albany area, the only thing I listen to is a public radio station that plays classical- worth investing in a tuner?? that's a tough call, I listen all day at work with a grin but prefer higher fidelity during the evenings.
Seattle: If I were being really generous, I'd say there is one jazz station (KPLU) and one classical station (KING-FM) in the greater Seattle area with decent to good FM reception. Both stations, however, program middle-of-the-road material.

There are a few FM stations that do somewhat more adventurous programming (the college radio stations mostly), but they are all low-power, fairly low fidelity broadcasters. The remainder of the stations are crap.

I could not, in good conscience, recommend to anyone in Seattle that they invest in a high-quality FM tuner.
Boston is incredibly blessed with a great, crowded non-commercial dial end. My faves are WGBH (especially for its live feeds!), WBUR (although it's become too talky), WUMB (U Mass Boston, for its fine folk programming), and of course WHRB (Harvard, for their days-long all-classical orgies!). My wife loves WERS (Emerson College) for its all-a capella and Broadway shows programming on the weekends.
An old NAD Monitor Series receiver has their greatest-tuner-ever in it (better than the new one in their HT receiver), but the non-compressed programming is considerably more transparent with my new Magnum Dynalab MD100.
I DO feel sorry for those who have little access to great radio. It's allowed me to have to read less, though, which is a dear compromise....
Sdcampbell - are you on a hill or in a valley? I used to live in Port Townsend, and there was quite a good array of radio stations available there by the water, including CBC (Canadian) and Bellingham. Any chance of receiving these in Seattle?
Hey Blueswan,
I live in Atlanta also. The Jazz station you are talking about is WCLK, right? It is a great station, I would say one of the best in the country. I bought a Creek T43 almost entirely for this station. It sounds great, sometimes a little hard to get a perfectly clear signal. I live inside of 285, but in a valley.
On the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge, an hour east of Portland OR, on top of a 2000' mountain so I can get a lot of stations pretty cleanly. I have my MD Etude on virtually all day every day, for background music while working. Stations are mostly acceptable quality-wise, but you don't listen to FM as a reference-quality source, but rather for the content. We have an excellent private listener-supported classical station, KBPS (www.allclassical.org, can get it off the web with RealPlayer, although I haven't tried it and have no great desire to). This is the first time in my life I've actually contributed to a listener-supported station, as I find the political slant of NPR and OPB to be insufferable. So I would heartily recommend a good tuner if you have any stations nearby that you would enjoy listening to. But "good" doesn't have to mean "expensive"; I previously had a Yamaha TX-950 (which can be had on the used market for around $200) which was surprisingly good in both reception and sound quality. There are many others out there in this price range that will extract most of the quality most FM stations have to offer. As far as going for bleeding-edge quality, if you live outside the major metropolitan areas in most cases it isn't going to be worth it. Maybe you should post your location and see if anyone pops up and offers to loan you their Day-Sequerra for a few days just to see.
I'm in the Washington DC area and have 4 great FM tuners (Mac MR-67; Magnum MD-102; Meridian 204; and Myryad MT-100). Unfortunately, there are hardly any great stations. I listen to WPFW for jazz and blues, WETA for NPR programs, and occasionally, when it comes in, WRNR near Annapolis MD for alternative and eclectic modern rock. I can rarely get WRNR though. Lots of multipath where I live. The rock stations are crap, I never tune them in. I wish I had more choices to feed my stable of tuners.
In Princeton, New Jersey. Between NYC and Phili. Tons of great choices. Especially WXPN the Univ. of Penn. Home of the World Cafe'.
Oh, I live in the South Bay Area of California, Silicon Valley. Multipath heaven (hell?). Would be worth sifting through if 99% of it weren't compressed rock, oldies, and classic rock. There is only one classical music FM station that I know of but that really isn't my bag and they play mostly standard Mozart and Bach stuff, over and over again.

The lone jazz station that I can find (hard to believe in an area like this) is KCSM. It is, though, a great commercial free station. I understand there is another fine jazz station in the North Bay, but I can't pull it in.
Eastern Long Island New York, Two good NPRs and a couple of college stations. Reception is sometimes tricky but worth it when I hit it right.
Richmond, VA. The same stuff they were playing ten years ago. OK, maybe not quite that bad but bad enough. That plus it's heavily commercialized. No tuner on the main rig. Receiver in the garage for background noise. I have a steering wheel tuner in the car & am constantly clicking through it. Turn it off a lot too.
Los Angeles has the best public station in the nation IMHO. KCRW has a great morning show till noon of mostly new rock with live in stuido guest 3-4 times a week. I'v heard neil young, elvis costello, coldplay and many others. Weekends also have many music shows too. Check it out @ kcrw.org Jon
Coastal Oregon-- are you kidding? Although.......a college NPR station occasionally has some good blues programming, but not worth getting a good tuner for. We're more into salmon here: ). I do keep an old Adcom around for PAC 10 football games though. A high quality antenna is necessary for this, and I use an MD ST-82-- works great. Cheers. Craig
I live in Lafayette Indiana and I hate our radio stations. I swear they downloaded everything from Napster. Anyway, I sold my Mac MR71 knowing that it would never achieve it's full potential.

Like Mr Campbell I live in the Pacific NW in the town of Marysville I have been listening to a station where they play smooth jazz. Im not a wanderer when it comes to changing stations, I beleive we have a fair selection, I own a MD ETUDE and it has a dedicated yagi antenna 30 ft high I can pull in stations from BC and Vancouver island without any problem I feel you can have the best equ. 10b/ mr-78/ day sequerra and not have a GOOD antenna is like racing a Indy car on passenger tires. David
Hey, Seattle has KEXP. This publicly-supported station is worth getting a tuner for all by itself. See www.kexp.org
It's nice to see a station with such a broad range of non-commercial music that posts its playlists on the web so if you hear something good you can look it up. I've found all kinds of great new music this way.
Berkeley, CA and there are some great stations here like the college station (90.7 KALX), jazz station (91.1 KCSM) or classical (102.1 KDFC). I have a Marantz 2110 tuner (which I love) but I had the luxury of having a Magnum Dynalab MD108 here for a night and it made my jaw drop. Absolutely amazing. If I win the lottery it's definately on the top of my list. And the college station still spins vinyl. What more do you need?
Orlando has absolutely nothing worth listening to. The difference between Orlando and yogurt is that yogurt has an active culture. The good news is that I'm moving to the Boston area in a few months.
I live near Kalamazoo, MI. We do have a few Classical stations, a College station that plays NPR, the rest, as far as know, are your typical music we all have, yes, compressed. One station that I like, they play Easy Listening music, plays Smooth Jazz after 8 pm every night and all day Sunday until 6 pm.

I purchased a Fanfare FT-1A in 2000; I hadn't used a tuner in a decade or so. I never regretted that purchase as I found I used my system much more and enjoy using a tuner a lot more than I expected.

Early last year I sold the Fanfare and purchased a Yamaha T2 and feel this has been one of my better purchases. I believe the Yamaha outperforms the Fanfare and I don't have nearly as much invested into it.

I enjoy using a tuner a lot.
I live in the Washington DC/Baltimore area and I'll just add to Sarah's good list.... WGMS (commercial classical); and WJHU and WBJC, the two public stations in Baltimore.
I agree the rock stations suck, but the Jazz, Classical and lots of PBS/NPR stations in the area make it worth having a good tuner.

I have a modified Kenwood KT-8300 and a stock Kenwood KT-6500 at home; and an Onkyo Integra T-4087 in my office.
Response to PeterS and Cylinderking:

I live at the south end of Lake Washington, on a hill overlooking Renton, so I have a fairly clean reception path. I use a decent Proton tuner with outside antenna which is capable of good performance within this broadcast area.

I did not include Canadian stations in my comments, since they are not, strictly speaking, in the Seattle market. Also, Canadian stations threaten our way of life because they feature too much culture (grin).

My assessment of the quality of FM broadcasting is obviously just my personal opinion, but on the whole I find the FM stations here are pretty dismal -- particularly compared to what they were when I moved to Seattle nearly 40 years ago.

I grew up listening to jazz on WMAL radio in Washington DC, which had one of the finest evening jazz programs in the country from 7PM-midnight, Monday thru Friday. The MC was Felix Grant, a near-legend over the years among jazz radio hosts. WMAL had a strong, uncompressed signal, and Felix Grant set the bar very high for superb jazz programming. The only person I have heard on jazz or classical radio stations that comes close to Grant is Jim Wilke, who does a jazz program and jazz calendar feature for KPLU, the NPR station located at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma.

Sadly, there are very few really good FM stations still in business -- and the operative term here is "business". Many of the stations have gone to canned formats with very formulaic music, and I find that after listening to most local stations for more than a few days at a time, you hear the same music being recycled. KPLU-FM and KING-FM do feature well-informed radio hosts who select good music and have intelligent commentary about the selections. A few of the small campus radio stations, such as KCBS (Bellevue Community College), offer very eclectic and sometimes challenging music, but the transmitter signal is weak and the audio signal of marginal quality.

Over the past 15 years, many of the local AM and FM stations that featured good programming and decent-to-good, relatively uncompressed signal quality have been purchased by large radio and media chains. I realize that others in the Seattle area may not agree with my opinion about the quality of FM broadcasting here, but the trend has been downhill for the past two decades.
I live in Tualatin, Oregon - which is a suburb just south of Portland. And I might add, that I deffinately agree with many of Karls remarks above.
Uncompressed FM stations in the Portland/Vancouver,WA market are few and far between. As mentioned, KBPS-FM - our local classical station is quite good - and I'm pleased to have a nice McIntosh MR-73 tuner that picks up the station with great clarity. I've also maintained a membership with this fine public supported station for several years.
Though the local PBS station KOPB-FM does not compress their broadcast signal - they stopped broadcasting classical music in favor of a "talk" format - and their views are just way too P.C. for me to listen to for any length of time.
For jazz lovers - there is KMHD-FM which is a nice change of pace at times; as well as a couple of college radio stations. But most of the kids are into hip-hop and other types of music I really don't much care for - so I
rarely listen to the college stations.
As for the rest of the FM stations in Portland - the vast majority are run by outfits like Infinity and Clear Channel. And not only are all the play lists totally predictable - they are quite boring.
If it were not for the KBPS and KMHD, I suspect I would listen to little radio other than talk programs which are mostly on AM.
BTW the station I listen to is WIDR, the Western Michigan University college station and the sound quality is good on my Rotel tuner but still down a notch from my Sony 9000 DVD player.

radio is hard to beat for new music and WIDR is supposed to be one of the best in the nation.
East Bay, No. CA.

Am I only one to think that they notice that the Oldies (especially) and Classic Rock stations are playing the tunes just a wee bit speeded up (sharp)? Over a 24 hour period, of course, more room for commercials.

IMHO, I'd have problems going much over the mid 3-figures price wise for a new tuner. For me, the radio is for background music and auditioning; I rarely sit and listen to the radio. Also, I really, really doubt you'll ever find a station without a ton of limiting and compression. Simply use a cassette recorder in the pause position and watch the meters to check this out.

I'm also considering the Attic InTenna to replace the indoor 1/4 wavelength whip I use. Any user experience appreciated. At:

Station recc's:
KXJZ Sacramento The *best jazz programming I've ever heard. Public radio, listener supported. Saturday has the 4-hour Mick Martin Blues Party.

KVMR Nevada City. Volunteer DJ's, listener supported. Total DJ freedom within theme blocks.

KPFA Berkeley 'Nuff said.

The rest is all corporate owned, playlist formatted dreck.
Using a Parasound T3.