Best R&B radio stations: Finding the right R&B station for you
The best R&B radio stations are ideal for anyone who loves listening to hip hop grooves when they’re driving to work or relaxing at home. So, which R&B stations should you be checking out?
Currently, R&B stands as one of the most popular music genres in the US, accounting for a significant portion of the country’s listening habits. According to this survey, around 38.9% of Americans say soul and R&B are their favorite music options.
In the radio world, R&B also commonly falls into the hip-hop genre, which became the most popular musical choice for US listeners in 2020 and 2021. Nearly a third of all streams in 2020 were in the “hip-hop” space.
Unfortunately, despite its popularity, R&B music isn’t always easy to find on the radio.
If you’ve been struggling to tune into the music you love on your radio, the following stations could point you in the right direction…
Available: Online or 103.9 FM (Rochester, New York)
An independently black-owned radio station following the urban contemporary format, WDKX broadcasts from Rochester in New York. The WDKX specifically selected its call letters to celebrate black heroes, with D for Frederick Douglas, K for Martin Luther King Jr, and X for Malcolm X.
The WDKX station is currently number one in the Nielsen ratings of 18 to 34-year-old and 25 to 54-year-old listeners in urban and suburban markets.
This station has also won a range of awards over the years, including the “Pioneer” award, given to Andrew A Langston, the founder and former owner of the WDKX broadcasting company.
Currently, WDKX is home to a wide-ranging playlist, ranging from modern R&B to old school R&B and classic hip hop. There’s also some jazz, dance, and pop music on the channel from time to time too.
Owned by the iHeartMedia company, KMEL is one of the top-rated stations in the world for R&B, and hip hop in the San Francisco Bay. The station follows the urban contemporary format, and has studios located in the SoMa district.
This leading radio station has some of the best music around for hip hop lovers, as well as a series of great shows.
Perhaps what makes KMEL most appealing to today’s R&B lovers, is its history of helping big names in the musical industry make their debut. Tupac Shakur, Digital Underground, Queen Latifah, Mariah Cary, and MC Hammer all got their start here.
Many national media personalities also spent some time working at the KMEL radio station, including names like Alex Bennett, Rick Chase, Rene Brooks-Moon, and so on.
A station otherwise known as V101.5, WSOL FM is owned and operated by the iHeartMedia company. Best-known for its urban adult contemporary radio format, the WSOL FM channel features a host of great musical and talk shows.
Weekday mornings on V101.5 begin with the Morning Show from Steve Harvey, while overnights include the Sweat Hotel, a syndicated show hosted by Keith Sweat, the R&B singer. Local DJs keep the station running smoothly for the rest of the day.
Throughout the years, WSOL has experimented with a wide range of different musical styles. In 2019, it played a lot of classic hip hop, embracing the slogan “throwback hip hop and R&B.”
However, the station eventually reverted back to the urban adult contemporary format.
Accessible through the Online Radio Box app, the Cadillacc Music station is 100% digital radio station, delivered through Dash Radio. If you’re looking for a wide range of musical styles, and lots of great hosts, there are plenty of options available through Dash Radio.
The Cadillacc Music channel is home to a wide selection of R&B songs, funk, hip hop and soul music. Perhaps most impressively, it’s hosted by the iconic Snoop Dogg, who presents the station under the pseudonym of DJ Snoopadelic.
There’s a lot of R&B here, as well as a significant number of rhythm tracks. If you like what you hear, we’d definitely recommend some of the other partner stations curated by Snoop Dogg, Lil Wayne, Kylie Jenner, and many others.
Available: Online or 101.9 FM (Gastonia, North Carolina)
Another urban adult contemporary radio station serving the Northern Carolina market (Charlotte), WBAV belongs to the Beasley Broadcast Group. The group has changed its call signal and its style of music several times over the years, only officially becoming an Urban AC radio station during 1994.
Interestingly, WBAV-FM is one of only a handful (3) urban contemporary stations previously owned by the CBS radio company. The other two are KTWV in LA, and the defunct WJBW from West Palm beach.
In 2014, CBS radio announced it was trading all of its Charlotte and Tampa stations, including WBAV, to the Beasley Broadcasting Group, in exchange for 5 stations in Philadelphia and Miami.
The trade delivered the 101.9 radio frequency back to the original owners for the first time since 1993.
Described as the world’s top internet radio station for R&B, the RnB Channel is a live radio station exclusively focused on playing R&B music. This channel is a nice alternative to waiting for a hip hop or urban contemporary radio channel to find an R&B song, provided you have access to the internet.
It’s common for the modern contemporary radio stations playing R&B today to focus heavily on other genres like hip hop and rap too, so you might not always get the music you like.
The channel broadcasts constantly, with no commercial breaks or pauses to worry about. The music selection combines a host of well-known songs from top singers throughout the ages, with the latest gems to hit the scene.
KRNB is an urban contemporary-formatted radio station located in the Dallas Fort Worth area and owned by the Service Broadcasting Corporation.
The channel is popular not just for its amazing R&B music collections, but its host of on-air personalities too, including Keith Solis, Claudia Jordan, Rudy Rush, and Sean Andre.
Otherwise known as Smooth R&B 105.7, this local station is highly focused on R&B musical classics as well as various new hits, so you’re sure to find something you like. The lineup comprises various music shows combined with entertainment shows.
You can also listen to the syndicated Steve Harvey Morning Show on the KRNB channel. Unlike most of the sister stations in the area, which transmit via Cedar Hill, KRNB transmits from an unincorporated area in Wise County.
WVKL, better known as 95.7 R&B is an adult contemporary radio station in the Virginia area. Owned by the larger Intercom Company, WVKL is the market affiliate for the Steve Harvey Morning Show. WVKL also broadcasts over a set of two HD radio sub-channels.
The WVKL channel officially switched to the Urban AC format in 2001. Since, then, Entercom has guided the WVKL group to becoming one of the top stations in the Virginia radio market.
Today, WVKL is best-known for its wide selection of entertaining talk shows, and its commitment to playing a range of hip hop music genres.
The channel plays a large amount of R&B, including modern hits from the current industry, and traditional, or “classic” songs.
Widely regarded one of the most popular stations for both hip hop and R&B music, WBLS broadcasts throughout the New York City area. The transmitter is located in the Empire State Building, and the station was previously owned by Magic Johnson, and Ronald Burkle.
Emmis Communications purchased the WBLS brand from YMF media in 2014, for a total cost of $131 million. Emmis announced it was then selling to the public company of Mediaco Holding for $91.5 million in 2019.
WBLS’ online broadcast is excellent for a variety of taste, with access to a range of slow jams, hip-hop, and classic R&B music. You can also find on-demand access to music videos and concerts on the web too.
Another excellent choice if you’re looking for a highly flexible online radio station, Smack Urban Radio plays plenty of unique playlists throughout the day. The internet radio station broadcasts the Miss Mack show, which features a huge range of hip hop, dancehall reggae, and R&B songs.
Unlike many online R&B radio music stations, Smack also has access to a variety of ever-changing DJs, so you can hear some genuine personality alongside your music. This is rare with a station broadcasting throughout the entire day.
The station has gained a lot of popularity online for its combination of old and new music for the hip hop genre, as well as plenty of fun talk sessions too.
Otherwise known as Majic 102, the KMJQ radio station is located in Houston Texas, and owned by Urban One. Following the urban contemporary radio format, this station is one of the highest-ranking stations in Greater Houston, often reaching the number one spot.
Another fun thing to note about KMJQ is it’s one of the stations with the most honors in the US, thanks to plenty of positive accolades from radio trade publications. More than just a destination for R&B, KMJQ is home to all kinds of hip hop music, dance, and the occasional pop title too.
There’s also the Tom Joyner Morning show to look forward to.
With a huge range of musical programs and talk shows to listen to, you won’t get bored of the KMJQ station too quickly. It’s definitely worth checking out the official radio station website for extra insights and podcasts too.
When WRNB first began, it was “KYW-FM”, a station dedicated to Christian broadcasting. In 1981, the radio station changed to “Kiss 100”, becoming a soft adult-contemporary format station. The channel became the number one Arbitron-ranked station between women aged 25 to 54.
By 1993, the station was struggling, and it decided to change format again, gradually playing jazz, rhythmic oldies and other tunes. It wasn’t until 2005 WRNB became an urban contemporary station.
Now it’s once again one of the more popular stations in Philly.
An online station in Atlanta dedicated to hip hop, Atlanta Blaze is legendary among R&B, rap, and hip hop lovers. One of the top R&B radio stations on the market today, the station features many of the latest hip hop songs and jams throughout the course of the day.
Aside from playing songs from up and coming artists, and trending musicians, ATL Blaze is also well-known for playing a wide range of more classic throwback tunes too.
There’s a number of programs on this channel to enjoy, including the 8am morning rush hour, and the lunch box show at 12pm each day.
There’s also Blazin’ 8 at 8, and the 5pm traffic jam.
Available: Online and (99.1 FM Whiteville, North Carolina)
Another extremely popular choice for the best R&B music radio stations, WZFX is a mainstream urban channel broadcasting radio throughout the Whiteville area in North Carolina. This station follows the Foxy 99 branding and is owned by the Beasley Media Group.
The station first signed on as WENC FM during 1978, and gradually evolved over the years to “The Fox”, with a Rhythmic Top-40 format, and then Foxy, with the urban format.
Today, the station is most popular among R&B radio and hip hop fans. WZFX previously had a rule for refusing to play rap until 5pm in the afternoon, but this is no longer the case today.
The WSRB 106.3 FM R&B radio station is an adult contemporary station serving the area of Chicago and Northwest Indiana. The station first began broadcasting in 1961, with a program dedicated to easy listening and pop.
During the 1970s, it became a heavily talk-show oriented station.
Over the years, WSRB experimented with a wide range of different sounds, but it’s main focus remained in the urban contemporary format, from 1991, to today. The WSRB channel was once home to the Love, Lust, and Lies show with Michael Baisden.
Today, the station offers a huge selection of programs and fantastic R&B music sessions to enjoy. You can expect to hear everything from classic hip hop to R&B, throwback jams, and modern adult contemporary music.
Available: Online and 94.1 FM (Bakersfield California)
Unlike most of the best R&B radio stations listed here so far, the KISV radio station follows a Rhythmic top 40 format. While it’s most common to find R&B on urban contemporary channels, there’s still plenty to be found with KISV’s programming choices.
Otherwise known as HOT 94.1, the station includes a local programming show with Romeo on a morning, which features the “Hollywood Trash” segment. There’s J Reed to listen to during the midday Clock Movie match, and Randy is on in the afternoons at 5pm, with DJ Wreck.
You’re most likely to get a good dose of R&B and other hip hop music after 5pm most weekdays, but you can also catch up on a lot of great tunes during the weekend.
The best R&B radio stations
With the popularity of R&B, hip hop, and other urban music genres on the rise, there’s plenty of radio stations where you can get your fix these days.
From stations dedicated to all forms of hip hop, to dedicated R&B music stations streaming online, you should be able to find a handful of options you love. Remember, it’s always worth browsing through the channels on your local frequency whenever you have the chance.
Radio broadcasts are constantly evolving, often taking on new styles and experimenting with music.
If you’re active online, you can also consider checking out some of the websites and apps offering access to a range of streaming services around the world. You might even come across stations hosted by hip hop legends like Snoop Dogg.
Check out our other lists on the top radio stations in the United States for more inspiration on where to discover your favorite tracks.