One of the granddaddies of non-commercial radio, KCRW has been a huge force in Los Angeles and beyond for years, and can justifiably claim to have broken artists including Coldplay and others.
The KCRW Radio iPhone app ($1) does cost, whereas competing apps are free, but it also offers more than most of those. It lets you listen to one of three streams: a live stream of the station, an all news channel, and the all-music station Eclectic24.
Eclectic24 is programmed by the station’s DJs, but beyond programming, they mostly stay quiet. Aside from occasional ads for the station’s guest DJ project or the station ID, no one announces tracks on the show, so if you want to know what song is playing, you’ll need to tap a button to call up the playlist. If you’re working out or driving, that can be cumbersome.
In addition, the app allows users to listen to on-demand programs including the flagship show “Morning Becomes Eclectic” and hand-picked album previews, as well as previous sets by the station’s DJs.
Bonuses include an events calendar that’s only worth checking out if you live in Southern California and the ability to store saved songs for later streaming, although they cannot be played offline. The app does, however, work when another app is open on more recent iPhone models that support multitasking.