I generally do not care for talk radio; especially those dreadful syndicated talk shows that present a very one-sided and polarizing political viewpoint. The one exception is WGN's Milt Rosenberg on Extension 720. If you live anywhere within about 500 miles of Chicago you can probably pick this up live on WGN radio because it comes on late at night; otherwise, they do have podcasts available on the web site. What can I say? This is truly intelligent talk radio.
My passion is music however, and classical music in particular. Unfortunately, classical music can be hard to come by unless you happen to live in a major city. We are lucky to have two stations here in Northern Illinois that broadcast classical music. My favorite is WNIU, which is operated by Northern Illinois University. This station carries the Classical 24 network (C24) which is 24 hour classical music. The station broadcasts on 90.5 FM and has a fairly limited reach; it does not cover the Chicago area with a usable signal (for most people, anyway). However, they do stream online at their web site. I have rigged up a 10 element log periodic antenna on the roof to pick them up.
Locally in Chicago we have WFMT, 98.7 FM. I prefer the morning and afternoon drive programs. The rest of the time, the station airs a lot of diverse programming that is too distracting for me to have on while I'm trying to write or do other work. WFMT used to have the best sounding signal on the FM dial. That is, until a couple of years ago when they converted over to digital (HD) broadcasting. The digital sidebands cause various artifacts that degrade the quality of analog FM reception. In particular, there is a great deal of high frequency distortion that is particularly noticeable on speech. I have come to the conclusion that there is nobody left at the station that is a critical listener, because I have brought this to their attention several times without success.
Another local gem is WLIP, a small town AM station in Kenosha, WI. With its 250 watt signal, WLIP is a little hard to catch in the Chicago area, but it is well worth listening to. In particular, the Sunday "Music of the Stars" program hosted by Lou Rugani has music you won't find elsewhere on the radio dial. This station also streams its programs online, so you aren't tied to their limited coverage area.
CBS Sunday Morning is a standout when it comes to live television programming. Our family started watching this program many years ago when it was hosted by Charles Kuralt. Charles Osgood, has done an outstanding job of keeping the show as interesting and worth watching as ever. He seems like a lovely person, and I would certainly enjoy meeting him.
The focus of Sunday Morning is news of course, but it goes far beyond that. I think of it as a news magazine, because it examines art, entertainment, music, architecture, literature, sports, science, and many other fascinating topics. This is actually the only television program I watch on a regular basis, and I wouldn't miss it. If you happen to live in a place where you can't receive it by terrestrial broadcast or satellite, visit the web site because they do make excerpts available online. Occasionally, they stream the entire program live.