Senior Editor and Researcher
The best AM/FM radio stations in New York City give visitors and local New Yorkers a fantastic way to listen to their favorite songs, discover new artists, and unlock hours of entertainment.
While there are plenty of other ways to source musical entertainment today, from digital streams to online channels, radio is still a popular choice for New Yorkers.
In fact, according to one report, adults in New York listen to around 104 minutes of radio each day, or 12.2 hours every week.
With endless options to choose from regarding genre and format, AM/FM stations offer listeners one of the most versatile ways to get their audio fix.
Today, we will look at some of the most popular and highly renowned AM/FM radio stations worth tuning into in New York City.
The Best AM/FM Radio Stations in New York City
Today’s radio channels are available in various formats, from traditional AM radio to FM channels, DAB (digital) channels, and even online streams.
Today, we’ll focus primarily on AM and FM channels. However, many of the stations listed below may offer other listening options too.
We chose these radio stations based on their overall popularity (number of listeners), the range of music they offer, and the quality of the service provided.
Let’s dive into our top picks.
Ranked as the number one most popular radio station in New York City in 2021, with 6.7 percent of all listeners tuning in regularly, WBLS is a fantastic channel for discovering music.
Following the adult contemporary format, this FM station is licensed to New York City, and owned by Mediaco Holding, alongside various sister stations.
The channel was first launched in 1965 with the branding of WEVD-FM. The station is best known for its wide selection of urban hits and hip-hop music and access to trending musical content. Occasionally, the station also provides coverage of major sports events.
In 2000, WBLS also launched an interactive sister site online, with live original music streams to cater to various tastes. Options include slow jamz, hip-hop and WBLS classics, and rap programs.
Frequency: FM: 107.5 MHz
Launched in 1961 and belonging to the iHeartMedia company, WLTW (Lite FM) is a popular New York adult contemporary radio station serving the New York metropolitan area.
The station started as a non-commercial channel owned by the Riverside Church, best known for playing classical music.
Over the years, however, the station evolved, and its format changed to album-oriented rock before eventually moving to popular adult contemporary programming.
Thanks to a broad selection of music genres, WLTW has historically ranked as one of the top radio stations in New York City.
The station’s audience also grows significantly when it switches to festive music for the holiday season during the December period, so it’s a great channel to check out if you’re looking for some fun holiday tunes.
Frequency: FM: 106.7 MHz
Website: Lite FM
WCBS could be your choice if you’re looking for a classic station committed to playing all your favorite hits from the decades.
Owned by the Audacy company, WCBS was first launched in 1941 and has evolved significantly over the years.
Interestingly, WCBS was one of the first notable oldies stations to emerge in the country, as it first adopted the format in 1972.
For a short time, the channel did experiment with an automated adult hits format before switching back to personality-driven programming.
Today, WBCS is considered one of the most popular stations in the New York region and ranks as one of the best classical stations in the US.
All kinds of fantastic music genres have been broadcast on this station throughout the last few decades.
Frequency: FM: 101.1 MHz
Ideal for classic rock lovers, WAXQ is a New York radio station owned by iHeartMedia, which broadcasts from the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan.
The channel was first introduced in 1956 and used the WFDR call signal. Initially, it started as a nonprofit station owned by the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union.
Over the years, WAXQ has experimented with various formats, exploring everything from classical music to heavy metal.
However, today, the channel focuses almost exclusively on classic rock. There are even occasional segments devoted to deep classics.
WAXQ also occasionally branches outside the traditional classic rock format, playing more modern songs from artists like the Red Hot Chili Peppers or Metallica.
Frequency: FM: 104.3 MHz
Broadcasting throughout the New York Metropolitan area, WHTZ is a commercial Top 40 and contemporary hits radio station owned by iHeartMedia.
It’s the flagship station for one of the most popular breakfast shows in New York: Elvis Duran and the Morning Show.
In addition to a standard analog transmission, WHTZ also broadcasts content in the HD radio format and online through the iHeartRadio website.
The channel is best known for its combination of excellent top 40 playlists and unique programs.
The music covered on the station is everything from R&B and pop to hip-hop, rock, and dance.
Plus, it’s the New York home for the American Top 40 Countdown hosted by Ryan Seacrest, which plays on Sunday mornings throughout the city.
Frequency: FM: 100.3 MHz
Rhythmic adult contemporary music station WKTU is licensed to the Lake Success suburb of New York City.
Another central station owned by iHeartMedia, the channel broadcasts from the AT&T Long Lines Building in Manhattan, with a transmitter located at the Empire State Building.
First launched in 1958, WKTU experimented with several formats before eventually progressing to its current schedule.
At one point, WKTU announced Whoopi Goldberg would be one of its new morning show hosts, significantly increasing listener counts during 2006.
The channel has also hosted several other well-known radio personalities over the years, with a fantastic selection of afternoon and breakfast shows and special genre-driven playlists.
Frequency: FM: 103.5 MHz
Otherwise known as Hot 97, WQHT is a commercial radio station licensed to New York City, which broadcasts in the urban contemporary music format.
Owned by Mediaco Holding, WQHT’s studios are located within the Hudson Square neighborhood of Lower Manhattan.
Interestingly, the channel started as an experimental station licensed to the National Broadcasting Company. It was used to determine the coverage area of transmitting frequencies as an apex station.
Since then, however, the channel has evolved into a popular radio station in its own right, best known for a wide selection of hip-hop and contemporary hits.
Notably, staff members within the station include well-known personalities such as Funkmaster Flex, DJ Jabba, and Lisa Evers.
Frequency: FM: 97.1 MHz
Better known to most fans as Power 105.1, WWPR is another popular urban contemporary music station licensed within New York City.
The channel is owned by iHeartMedia and broadcasts from the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan.
Alongside a wide range of fantastic music options, WWPR is well-known for being the flagship station of the nationally syndicated morning program: The Breakfast Club, hosted by DJ Envy, Charlamagne tha God, and various rotating celebrity hosts.
WWPR began broadcasting in 1953 and started as a religious music station before exploring hot adult contemporary, soft rock, and other formats.
Today, the channel is one of the top sources of hip-hop, rap, and R&B music.
Frequency: FM: 105.1 MHz
The non-commercial radio station WFUV is owned by Fordham University, with studios in the Montefiore Medical Center and on its Bronx campus.
The channel first went on air in 1947 and became one of the top music stations in New York City. On-air personalities have included veterans like Rita Houston, Vin Scelsa, and Dennis Elsas.
WFUV is primarily known for its adult contemporary alternative music format, which consists of world music, city folk music, and adult rock.
Alongside this weekday programming, the channel also offers a range of specialty shows, which include focus playlists on genres like pop, jazz, and folk music.
Popular programs on the channel have included options like the World Café and The Grateful Dead Hour.
Plus, the channel regularly hosts famous on-air guests like Tim Robbins, Steve Buscemi, and even Sting.
Frequency: FM: 90.7 MHz
WNYC is the trademark call name shared by two nonprofit, non-commercial radio stations in New York City, available on both AM and FM channels.
The stations are owned by New York Public Radio and are both members of the NPR group.
Alongside various playlist options, the stations carry various news and talk show programs. Some hours feature simulcast shows, while others have live programming.
Every week, WYNC reaches more than 1 million listeners, making it the group with the most significant public radio audience in the US.
The WYNC stations include various forms of music, like classical music and top hits.
Programming also includes well-known podcasts and sessions such as On the Media and Radio Rookies designed to train teenagers to become radio reporters.
Frequencies: AM: 820 kHz, FM: 93.9 MHz
Finally, WNEW FM is a hot-adult contemporary radio station owned by Audacy and licensed to New York City.
It began broadcasting in 1958 but is best remembered by most fans for its period as a progressive rock radio channel.
WNEW now runs without radio jocks or presenters, focusing primarily on sharing endless music playlists throughout the day.
By 2018, the group had ranked number 16 in the New York Market for the biggest radio channel in the state.
Today, WNEW broadcasts various music genres, focusing on well-known contemporary artists’ top hits of the moment.
Frequency: FM: 102.7 MHz
The Best AM/FM Radio Stations in New York
There you have it, some of the best radio stations in New York for music lovers to tune into. Many great options include hip-hop-focused adult contemporary stations, rock and roll stations, and stations focusing on the latest or most classical hits.
Enjoy surfing the airwaves with these phenomenal stations.