BEST REASON TO TURN ON YOUR RADIO IN THE A.M. (2009)

Melissa McAllister

Poor commuter, it's all you can do to find one decent song amid the screeching, snorting, complaining, middle-aged dudes on morning radio, who're blabbering on about either politics, erectile dysfunction, or underpants and gas. Not that KXLU's Melissa McAllister can't dish out the potty talk, but the format is flanked by densely crafted sets of exceptional songs and tempered with her signature brand of banter: a hodgepodge of informative exposure to new bands, an encyclopedic knowledge of music, self-deprecation, silliness and a deep adoration of beer. So often, KXLU DJs play too-long sets, then mumble, giggle, yawn and never name a goddamned thing they've played for the past hour. Not McAllister. She's a pro (she's also the station's former general manager), spinning a mingling of pop, folk, punk, noise, dance, dark-wave and garage bands rarely attempted over the air. Imagine this on L.A. radio: whole 30-minute sets in which you never need to change the station because every selection is awesome and expertly placed in its context (Lightning Bolt back-to-back with Edith Piaf is one example). McAllister chalks it up to good requests from listeners, but we know she's the chops behind this years-old favorite show for so many of us. KXLU 88.9 FM, Thursdays, 6-10 a.m.

—Wendy Gilmartin