Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
In these days of microniche music genres and personalized streaming services, there’s something reassuring about the fact that you know you can still flip on the radio on any given Saturday or Sunday and find something worth listening to on WPFW
. From Captain Fly and Jas. Funk’s House Party
soul show (always too energetic for 7 a.m. on a Saturday) to Tony Carr’s Sunday night reggae revue, ’PFW is compelling around the clock on weekends. You want New Orleans music? The Zydeco Cowboy has it. More soul? That’s what Andrea Bray is for. Caribbean music and news? Wait for Von Martin to come on, then keep the dial set to 89.3 for overnight underground hip-hop. Sunday is more relaxed; you’ll know the weekend is starting to wind down when Don Pullen’s “Ode to Life
” comes on to play Miyuki Williams out of the studio at 2 p.m., though Jim Byers and Nancy Alonso will help you fend off the Sunday evening blues with classic salsa. After years of corporate consolidation in local radio, there’s nothing like WPFW on the D.C. airwaves. During the week, the station’s daytime programming is much more talk-heavy, and it stands out less. But on the weekends, it’s absolutely perfect.