The Seattle station KEXP, from the University of Washington, consistently ranks as one of the top non-commercial stations in the country, but its iPhone app leaves something to be desired.
Its biggest problem: weird volume issues that force users to crank up their phone’s volume to hear songs.
The KEXP Radio iPhone app (free) is also fairly unattractive, not that that matters much if you believe music should be heard and not seen, although it’s certainly easy to use — maybe too easy, if such a thing is possible. A massive play/pause button hogs the center of the screen, accompanied by a smattering of smaller buttons for selecting songs as favorites to research later, and emailing the station to friends.
The main screen also provides information about what song is currently playing, and playlists of recently-played tracks are easy to access, so you don’t have to hang on the DJ’s every word in order to know what he or she played.
Finally, as with many other free public and university radio apps we’ve tested, this app does not work when closed, and lacks an offline mode, so use WiFi or use it somewhat sparingly to avoid hitting your monthly cellular data limit.