By RJ Cubarrubia
Grand Theft Auto V features 17 radio stations, 15 of them with diverse playlists curated by notable DJs making for a top-shelf airwaves experience. The wealth of choices is exciting — if not a little overwhelming. There’s something for almost everyone: roots country, classic rock, hip hop, reggae, funk, all sorts of modern alternative, even stations curated by Wavves, Flying Lotus and Soulwax.
So finding where to jump in can be tough. Besides the score — expertly crafted by Tangerine Dream, Woody Jackson, The Alchemist and Oh No, and mixed by DJ Shadow — GTA V sports 241 total tracks across those 15 music stations. But some stations have a handful of outstanding selections among a dud of a playlist, while others bring a batch of solid cuts with few spikes in quality. Here’s a rundown of the 17 radio stations in GTA V, from worst to best, to make sure you have the right tune for the job.
17. West Coast Talk Radio
WCTR 95.6 riles up satirical babbling heads for a humorous jab at talk radio. But no music basically places the station last by default. This “real patronizing” programming will still stitch up your ribs and gives more depth to the game’s surroundings.
16. Blaine County Talk Radio
BCTR suffers from the same fate as WCTR 95.6, but this station also features quirky tidbits like interviews with celebrities from the GTA V universe. Listening to BCTR further engages you with the game’s world — if you’re patient enough for the chatter.
15. Worldwide FM
Standout Track: Cashmere Cat, “Mirror Maru”
Worldwide FM expectedly features electronic, pop, funk and worldbeat tracks from across the globe. And though not American, GTA V‘s Scotland-based development team (Rockstar North) is technically international, if not tuned to English. But since Los Santos is an alternate universe Los Angeles, giving slots to American artists like Toro y Moi (“Harm in Change”) and inc. (“The Place”) — who’d both be a better fit for FlyLo FM or Radio Mirror Park — seems like a missed opportunity for a more cosmopolitan selection.
14. East Los FM 106.2
Standout Track: Fandango, “Autos, Moda Y Rock and Roll”
A Latin station slots in nicely for a pseudo-L.A. setting. Points for authenticity and a commitment to Spanish language songs. Plus, DJs Don Cheto and Camilo Lara offer a wide cut of tracks, dipping over 40 years back for the Los Ángeles Negros’ “El Rey y Yo” to newer songs like La Vida Bohème’s “Radio Capital,” which proves Gang of Four and the Rapture have some big fans down in Venezuela (not to mention the Ramones with that “gabba gabba hey” chant). The heavy focus on tracks from this millennium, however, holds back the station from drawing a more colorful picture of Latin music.
13. FlyLo FM
Standout Track: Thundercat, “Oh Sheit, It’s X”
Hang out with mastermind producer and rapper Flying Lotus as he takes the reins on his own station, where naturally, he spins plenty of his own songs, like “Catapult Man,” “Stonecutters” and “The Diddler.” FlyLo’s impeccable taste results in no weak selections, but his wide-ranging curation works to his detriment: the songs don’t flow together — be it in vibe or actual BPM — so the station can actually distract from game play. Some tracks seem better for other stations (Machinedrum’s “She Died There” would be great on Radio Mirror Park), but FlyLo also gives some crucial spotlight to instrumental hip-hop (Clams Casino’s “Crystals”) and other spooky and brutal beats that are ill fit for the others. Essentially, it’s easy to hear something on FlyLo FM, feel inspired and flip to a station that specializes in that sound.