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04th Apr 2016

With TXFM closing, here are 6 alternative radio stations that are definitely worth listening to

Paul Moore

Some different choices for radio heads.

With the very sad news that TXFM is set to close, any Irish fan of alternative music will find their options limited when it comes to finding new music on the radio.

Sites like Spotify, iTunes, Soundcloud and YouTube have revolutionised the way that people listen to music, bands have more platforms than ever before to find an audience, but there’s no denying the connection and knowledge that a good DJ can provide to their listeners.

While TXFM/Phantom was arguably the most widely known indie station in Ireland, there are other places that can help fill the void for fans of alternative music. Here are some of our favourites.

BBC Radio 6

It’s testament to the vision of the BBC Trust that they reject a proposal to close the station in 2010 because BBC Radio 6 has since become the first digital-only radio station to hit two million weekly listeners and their reach is spreading beyond the airwaves, they launched a series of live gigs and festivals also.

Radcliffe & Maconie’s show consistently one of the best radio shows that you’ll hear. Their passion for music shines through on every link while any distracting ‘banter’ is kept to a minimum. Here’s a sample of their most recent playlist.



Simon Maher is a man that’s well known in Irish radio circles, he created Phantom before leaving in 2011, but his new venture has captured much of the energy, edginess and pure love of music that was synonymous with his first foray into the medium.

The 8Radio philosophy is simple – they play the music they like. Everything from ’80s synth pop to brand new Irish and international artists get played.

Maher has been instrumental in developing some of the best Irish talent to sit behind a microphone and 8Radio is a must for any fans of alternative music.


KEXP 90.3 FM

Simply put, this is the best hidden gem of a radio station that you’ll find on the web. Their mandate is mainly focused on playing alternative rock but there’s so much more to KEPX because their tunes incorporate rockabilly, blues, hip hop, electronica, punk and much more.

The main selling point of the station is their live sessions though and they’ve manage to book some of the best and most exciting acts around. Metric, Parquet Courts, Super Furry Animals and our own Girl Band have featured in recent months.


By its nature, alternative music is niche but anyone that’s looking for a homegrown antithesis to the barrage of tunes from the likes Little Mix and Justin Bieber should consider RTE’s digital station.

DJ Dan Hegarty is one of the most informed and articulate broadcasters and his show The Alternative is a must listen for music fans of all genres (see playlist below). The recent addition of Ray McGowan is a treat for fans of heavy metal – a genre of music that’s underplayed on the radio.



Radio Nova

While you’re more likely to hear Queen over Queens of the Stoneage on Nova, it’s going to be interesting to see what happens with the vacated alternative music licence. Kevin Brannigan, Chief Executive Officer & Programme Director of Radio Nova, has frequently spoken about expanding their reach and this could be the prime moment to do so.

Nova is growing in strength and the recent additions Gavin Glass and Jack Hyland to an already talented roster is a strong boost to their indie credentials.

Radio Free Brooklyn

On RFB there’s a strict no playlisting policy as their DJ’s are given complete control. Hosts are not restricted by traditional formats or commercial concerns when they’re developing their content and playlists, meaning that they’ve a freedom that’s rarely heard on other stations.

The mantra of RFB is their belief that the media is too often used as a means to constrain and restrict new talent from being heard. This eclectic playlist speaks for itself.


Thanks to DJ Mark Matanes for his insight when creating this list.

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